You will begin to enjoy a cigar when you commit to it.
I learned that line from David Haddad, owner of Fumar Cigars out of Phoenix. It's a line that works well if you substitute almost anything passion-worthy in this world.
Tonight, however, the passion is cigars.
Now you must understand that I have been a big cigar smoker for more years than I care to admit-but I will admit that I began well before the trend took off. It kills me every time I think about Cigar Aficionado magazine as a business proposition; what a wonderful idea and magazine . . . and I should have done it. But I digress.
Part of the entertainment was a special visit by David to the Camp Victory cigar club. The party was staged on the veranda of the JVB; we came to learn that the military is big into close containment of all their charges. That includes staging the event outside one door.
Don't get me wrong, even for what it once was, it was a beautiful site. The marble columns fitted to sandstone over the lapping of water, sunset's final light cascading off the face of Al Faw Palace across the little lake. (OK, it was a bit creepy to hear that since its takeover of the palaces, the military has dredged these lakes and found human bones, so no skinny dipping here.)
The Victory cigar club guys spared no effort when it came to making this a memorable event. Yes, there were the obligatory ashtrays spread throughout, and even a cooler with nonalcoholic beer and soda for purchase. A makeshift driving range was used to determine winners of several tchotchkes that David schlepped over for the event to go along with the 6,000 cigars he promoted, conned, quilted and paid to get and ship in 26 pieces of luggage (which he also picked up gratis.)
Ego might say that was the setup for yours truly to step in and talk the good talk-about the bond between cars and cigars, the love of a stout robusto and the robust sound of a big-displacement engine. That would be disingenuous of me, because I was a mere cog in a greater wheel, a wheel turned by Haddad himself when he shared the history of tobacco with our brothers and sisters in battle fatigues.
I did enjoy a few hours of conversation after the official hello and how-do-you-do session. These men wanted to know the state of the car industry, they wanted to talk about the new Chevy Camaro and the Dodge Challenger and the Ford Mustang. They talked about the Mitsu STi or their Mercedes back home, the miles they put on their pickups and the minivan they want to buy.
And they were generous when they listened as a group to my sermon on the mount about returning veterans and their predisposition to be killed in cars and on bikes. I just said it over and over: situational awareness on the roads of your hometown.
You know, it wasn't a downer subject on which to end the evening. It was the start.
To read more visit the AutoWeek section.
Friday, April 17, 2009