Muriel Cigars

It delights me whenever someone remembers how much I love cigars, though I don’t smoke them much any more.

You can’t really not really smoke cigars, sadly. Either you do it and your body just gets used to it. Or you don’t do it, and your body doesn’t care. But, if you see a strapping blond at a party with one and you decide to share, even though you haven’t smoked in years, you’ll regret it the next day.

I tried to teach the Professor how to smoke cigars, because it’s a useful skill to have if you want to play poker or drink rum with Ogoun. But I guess she wasn’t that interested in the proper accoutrement of either of those activities. I try, America, but her use of the word ‘metaphysics’ and mine differ so greatly as to be insurmountable.

There used to be a time when we girl cousins would smoke Muriel cigars whenever we got together. My grandpa, like Ogoun, loved cigars and women and was prone to violent outbursts. He ruined our fathers, and yet or and so, we would open the box, and sniff and smell him as real as life, and then light up and smoke and feel mellow and at peace with each other and with him.

They say that smell is the sense most strongly tied to memory and it seems to me to be true. I can smell a Muriel cigar and see my grandpa before me as clear as day, his stubby fingers and boxy hands lighting cigar after cigar the way some folks smoke cigarettes. Always at the card table, always hollering about something, always with a deck of cards in his hands, fifteen two, fifteen four.

There’s nothing to hold onto. You will lose everything. Twyla keeps reminding me and I keep refusing to hear it. When we took the littlest nephew back to his dad, which meant he would go back to his mom and, effectively fall off the face of the planet until she got tired of him again, I had this brief crazy impulse to have a baby right then, someone as cute and as smart and as charming as the boy whose mom we can’t depend on, just in case…

Let there be one kid, I thought, who we could throw birthday parties for and put up Christmas trees with and take to zoos and parks and restaurants without thinking that we might never do this again. But that’s always true. We always might never do this again.

And yet, there are the things you seem destined to do over and over again, and if not you, then the next bunch.

Anyway, my cousin A. is getting married–the youngest girl cousin–to a guy I really like. It’s always a worry. How will it play out? Will she, like our grandma, be the girl who settles for the man who turns out to be a monster? Or can we just let that alone?

I would like to, if I get a moment while I’m up there, go out to the cemetery and sit on my grandpa’s tombstone and have a cigar with him and exorcise our demons yet again.

4 thoughts on “Muriel Cigars

  1. man, you’re good.
    I remember my grandfather every time I smell a red stripey peppermint. He carried them in his pockets everywhere.

  2. What an enjoyable post. Right mix of nostalgia and sad (is there a difference?).

    There was a time when I truly did not like to see a woman smoke a cigar–at the time it seemed such a masculine exercise and was an immediate turnoff. But then I realized what a silly take this was. I have such an immense appreciation of cigars and now have the maturity to wish to share that with everyone. (Nothing inherently sexist here, just a pre(mis)conception of what one pointlessly expects of the opposite sex.) Obviously, I don’t know your taste preference, but I highly recommend the CAO Gold Double Corona–a delightfully mild and absorbing smoke. It has some size, so set aside an hour and a half for pure relaxation. Just under $6 at Uptown and Belle Meade Smokeshop.


  3. Oh, Ryan, I am excited about your recommendation. Though I’m a little afraid that I will do myself in, since I haven’t smoked one in probably six months. Still… I may make some time this weekend for sitting on the back porch and stinking up the joint.

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