11 Jan 2007
SAN PEDRO, BELIZE – Coming to you from beautiful tropical Belize (known formerly as British Honduras), there is seemingly no shortage of cigar topics for me to write about.
I could tell you about my first encounter with the famously fake glass-top box of Cuban Cohiba Esplendidos (prominently featured in an advertisement for the local cigar shop), the fantastic Honduran Punch I had (a Honduran cigar just seemed appropriate here in British Honduras), or the Cohiba Robusto of questionable authenticity I was given upon my arrival (more investigation is needed there).
Yet instead I’ll take this opportunity to praise that often unheralded creature: the cold weather stogie smoker.
The absurdity of writing about cold weather cigar smoking from an 80 degree beach immediately made me think of one of my favorite (and similarly absurd) movie quotes:
It’s easy to grin when your ship comes in, and you’ve got the stock market beat. But the man worthwhile is the man who can smile, when his shorts are too tight in the seat.
A few days in the tropics made me realize just how easy it is to be a cigar smoker in the tropics. Nothing calls for a cigar like turquoise water and a warm breeze, except maybe a warm night at a beach bar with some Bob Marley playing. And naturally the lack of a Cuban embargo means that all the world’s cigars are available to you.
The point is, if you can’t enjoy a cigar here, you probably never can. (Leave me down here too long and I’d probably be up to four a day!)
Which brings me to the cold weather smoker, outside on the porch, in the backyard, or walking the dog (because you can’t for one reason or another smoke inside). Perhaps an oppressive smoking ban forced you out of your favorite watering hole and into the inhospitable winter frost.
To brave incliment weather shows true dedication to the wonderful hobby that is cigars. Like the man who’s shorts are too tight in his seat, the cold weather smoker need not smile while he bundles up for a sub-freezing stogie session, but he does. When many might close up the humidor until late spring, the cold weather smoker bravely smokes on.
So let me propose the following: The next time you’re smoking a cigar in a perfect setting, pause a moment and think of the cold weather smoker preparing to risk frostbite just for the hobby he loves. (Personally, as I make my most difficult decision of the night – Cuban Cohiba, Montecristo, or something else – I know I will think of my friends to the north deciding between gloves, hats, or space heaters!)
Such reflection is important because many of us will end up cold weather stogie smokers ourselves far too soon.
-Patrick S recently vacationed in Belize.