A wisp of fragrance transported me 30 years and 3000 miles to the backyard of my childhood where my brother, sister, mother and I would sit on our swing looking for the first star to light the warm evening sky, wrapped in the sweet pungent smoke of my father’s Cigar. All those years later at a hotel in northern Massachusetts, although I was dead on my feet as I stepped out of the company car after a long day of seminars, training sessions, meetings, and a power dinner, I was home, safe, relaxed. At first, I was confused, what had caused such a poignant memory? I looked around then focused on the smell. I followed it along the side of the building then around the corner where I spied several salesmen and a manufacturer’s rep, all from the day’s meetings.
I moved closer and inhaled. Definitely, the aroma was coming from them. When I reached them, they greeted me politely and I looked at each person’s Cigar, searching for one that looked like my father’s. I couldn’t remember the brand but definitely recognized the smell. I said, “I love the smell of one of your cigars.” The rep dug in his pocket and offered me an Ashton Cabinet. I took it then looked up at the group and observed barely hidden smirks. I fondled the cigar and sniffed it. I was certain from their expressions, that they didn’t expect me to smoke it. I searched my memory for the name of the little guillotine that my dad kept in the swing’s arm pocket. I said, “Does anyone have a cutter?” A few of the men raised their eyebrows; apparently, they did not expect the only woman at the training to know anything about cigars. I snipped the end of Cigar in the way I remembered my father had done, then leaned forward as the rep offered me a light. I inhaled gently, afraid I would cough. The smoke-filled my mouth; the taste was wonderful. I smiled and received smiles in return. Before long, they included me in the conversation they had been having.
I’m still not sure what brand of cigar my father smoked, but that evening I found myself reliving those wonderful summer evenings. I’ve smoked many cigars since then, always looking at the band, trying to remember my father’s. Although I’ve come to realize that I may never know what brand he smoked, I know that when I light a Cigar with my husband on our back patio, I will always think of my father.
Here’s to you, Dad.