A year ago I bought a box of cigars, rolled with some new strain of tobacco leaves. The box, itself, is beautiful - cedar wood with a hinged lid and a small hasp for attaching a padlock. It looks like a pirate's tiny treasure chest.
The cigars inside are awful. So bad I wished I were the father of newborn twins so I could give them away two at a time.
Yesterday afternoon, to start the weekend, I plucked one of these stinkies out of my humidor, hoping it had mellowed with age.
"Oh, well," I figured, "it's a fabulous spring day on the deck. I'll just make the best of it."
After a few more puffs it seemed only fair that I mix myself a Caesar to wash away the ugly taste of cigar.
The next half hour was unremarkable, really. I had a pretty view out over the lake ice, nice music making a soft background, and the alternating tastes of bitterness from an abominable stogie and the soothing smoothness of a cool Caesar.
For some reason, as I savored my fine tasting drink, glass half empty, I realized with a flash of brilliance that comes only to certain people, that I had forgotten to put the vodka in my Caesar.
At that point, the music changed, and I began plotting a way to justify throwing away the unsmoked half of a sour cigar and pour out half a glass of sissy drink.
And my dream was fulfilled right then as I noticed my cat - the one who had woken me up three times the night before as he slunk through the darkness in the bedroom yowling his head off - exploring the sand on the beach 20 feet in front of me.
With the precision of a good relief pitcher, I launched that cigar upward and outward, and watched the perfect arc as it sped from my perch 15 feet above the ground toward the sky and then descended to plop with a satisfying thump and great cloud of smoke immediately beside the cat, who had not seen that coming.
A quick jump and a startled Pfffft later, I received the withering stare that only a 15 year old cat named Monkey can shoot in a laughing man's direction.
With that, I quickly polished off my accidental Shirley Temple and ate the olives, then hustled inside to choose a good cigar and uncork an awaiting bottle of wine.
Within minutes I was back on the deck, admiring the promise of spring, and thoroughly enjoying the new tastes dancing in my mouth.
And, best of all, Mary came out and sat with me and drank a glass of wine, and we talked til dusk on an early spring day in Sioux Lookout.