My foray into the world of cigars was due to my uncle. At age 5 I was the great imitator and would copy and mimic anyone and I was a crowd pleaser. Our family home was a large 3 story free standing house in New England. The first floor was for my grandparents with the 2nd for my aunt and uncle and we lived in the 3rd. This arrangement was great because there was always someone home and the the first level had an enclosed porch all around for me to play..
On this particular afternoon my uncle was home early and had his daily cigar. Let's just say that my uncle often would yield on quality for price. I think they were called El Rope' Grenades that were 14 for a nickel and the vilest green color with a wonderful stench I still remember and had no real discomfort, at least for the moment. He left one burning in his special ashtray leaving a veil of blue smoke that could hide furniture and hang in their den for hours. I left the porch and went inside and the den was vacant as well. I crawled up into his winged back leather chair helped myself to his cigar. I had had seen him smoke a gazillion time and did everything he did. I took in a generous hit and I'm told that the green I was becoming started at my feet, up through my legs, and ending at my flat top (it was 1953, what more can I say).
I had no idea how horrible that 1st drag would be, nor would I fully understand what they meant when when they "saw G-d". Add to this I heard his booming voice with,"who has been smoken' my stoggie?" I had a mouthful of smoke that went in instead out and i was so sick I felt good. My uncle looked and and had a stern smile on his face and said,"well whadda you think? Happily I didn't hurl and laid off cigars for a while..
Fast forward 20 years through high school and Viet Nam and I tried ciggies and not good enough. i started back with cigars. I didn't know good from bad. As an undergraduate I took any part time job I could get including doing clerical work in the Office of the Chief Medical Examiner. I was filing papers and other drone work when i asked the question,"when do I get do the cool stuff?' My answer was,"how about now?" I got changed with the appropriate gear and headed to the river. the guy that was fished out was stabbed and strangled and had been in the water for about 7 days. The rate of decomposition was observed along with bloating and a smell that defies description. Putting citrus concentrate under my nose helped but not enough. A member of the investigating team saw my suffering and offered me a huge fatty cigar. The pungent plumes of thick smoke was a g-send and the decedent's condition was nilled.
I consider that act of kindness my ticket back to that glorious nauseous habit that many individuals enjoy daily. The act of picking a fine smoke by touch, feel, smell and a knowledge base that is smokin' fine. Realistically however there is the price of a good smoke Those cigars that have a rating of 90 and above is a teat indeed. Thank G-d there contests,special offers,and contests allow cigar devotes' like myself to enjoy that fabulous experience which is a part of my never ending path.