This is our twelfth, of thirteen, prizes being given away for our First Annual Stogie Review 12 Days of Christmas. The prize is a box of Oliva Serie V Liga Especial signed by Jose Oliva. To enter this contest, all that was required was that you send in a Christmas story which involved cigars.
This Prize Sponsored By The Oliva Family of Cigars
The holiday season always has a way of bringing back memories of the past. For me, this memory is of my grandmother. Every year, since I can remember, my grandma would wake up early on Christmas morning and make a cup of coffee for my parents (she lived with us) and herself. She would then make sure all the presents were under the tree and wake her grand kids up. We would rush to the presents and start opening them. My parents would watch while enjoying their fresh brewed coffee on the couch. The grandma, though I had not really cared to ask why, would sit in her chair by the window and light a cigar. I knew my dad smoked but I did not realize women smoked as well; especially a cigar. The Christmas of 2004, when I was 19, I finally asked her why she liked smoking a cigar on Christmas Day. She sat me down and told me it was her way of remembering grandpa. My grandfather loved cigars and always had one with his coffee in the morning until his death in 1985, a year before I was born. His first cigar was coincidently from my grandma when she made a trip to Cuba “a life time ago when they had still been dating,” she said. She then handed me one and showed me how to cut and light it.
The next Christmas was one of the hardest I had ever been through. It was because my grandma was not there to sit in her chair and share it with us. She passed away in November 2005. For months I mourned her death. Even to the point of not wanting to leave the United States to go to the Dominican Republic for a service trip. I did not want to do anything, especially help others in some foreign country. But slowly I wondered what my grandma would say if she was there and saw me like that. My grandma was the most caring and giving woman I had ever known. She loved helping people whenever she got the chance and always wanted me to go on a service trip abroad. She said it would be good to get out of my comfort zone and see what the world really is beyond the States. I decided to go, for her.
The trip ended up being a life changing experience for me and somehow, I believe that my grandma knew that would happen. We provided health care to the rural areas of the DR and were immersed in the country’s culture. On one cultural event, we visited tobacco fields and the La Aurora Museum/factory in Santiago. I suddenly remembered about my grandma and grandpa’s love for cigars. I bought a small, five-pack of cigars and sat down to catch my breath. I cut and lit the cigar as my grandma had taught me. The smoked rolled off my lips with ease as I thought how everything seemed to come together – I felt as though I had been guided to this country and its great people and culture by my grandma. I quietly laughed in my head as I realized how funny the situation had become for me. I found cigars through my grandma as my grandpa did; when she passed I did not want to do anything with cigars because it painfully reminded me of her, and now, I couldn’t wait to have another because it helped me reminisce about the good times we had together and it really brings people closer. I felt at peace and no longer worried about my grandma because I knew she would always be there for me. All I had to do was have a cigar once in awhile to remind me of that.
Happy Holidays everyone, may you all enjoy your family and smokes and the memories it brings you!