Monday, November 30, 2009


Dear Mr. Grennan taught me how to smoke. He moved my fingers to grip the cigar, clipped the tip, he told me to breathe in to help the fire catch, “Don’t inhale!...well, just enough, then release the smoke.” Gorm, the Norwegian Lumberjack, was there too, and my friend Mary. She and I spent the weekend in LA with these two friends. They introduced us to Guinness and gave us our first puff. Plumes of musk rose from Cuban cigars and a Norwegian pipe, we sat on the roof of Angeles Temple with the Foursquare cross glowing behind us. We had a view of the city in the warm summer air and a reminder of a great female preacher that fed the poor and saw the lame walk. She started a movement in the building I now sat atop learning to smoke and drink, respectably, with the boys.. and Mary.

Following that night I’d meet back up with Mr. Grennan and smoke cigars on the beach, or along cobble stone walks whenever he’d come to town. It was a ritual, a tradition, I enjoyed it. I haven’t smoked much since I moved to the east coast, but the guys always find it sexy, cool, their eyes get wide then small as they grin and nod their heads in approval. I don’t care much what they think, but I find it interesting. Is it really still considered cool to smoke? This weekend I shared a cigar on a roof top, over looking the city with friends, and then again the next night, I shared a minty French cigarette, as I took a stroll along the Brooklyn promenade, I enjoyed each one, each flavoring my memories.

I was raised to hate the smell of smoke. My grandparents smoked, my uncles and aunts smoked. The addiction ripped through my family and clings to them still. My papa died a horribly, slow and painful death caused by his beloved “cancer sticks.” Cigarettes clouded my childhood. Although, I remember about a year or two after he died, someone close to me on the street lit up right behind me. They practically blew the smoke in my face, a disgusting gesture. However, instead of my normal rage induced response, I was instantly taken back to my papa.. my grandfather that loved me and called me his favorite. The memory was so fresh, it felt real and present. I do not enjoy when people blow their hazardous debris in my face, but I do enjoy that familiar smell, the taste, it reminds me and strangely comforts me. I do not promote the habit, but I do enjoy making the decision, on occasion, to enjoy a smoke, perhaps on a damp night or a memorable evening.

1 comment:

Lauren E. said...

it is cool! i mean, it's not... but it kinda is :)