First Cigar of Spring

 

In the second half of February, the sun is getting high enough in the sky to apply sufficient power to make some difference in local temperatures. When I was logging I would worry about that; worry about what an early thaw would do to my trucking road whereupon I hoped to ship my meager winter’s production, but now I am OK with that (i.e., retired). Now I like the February sun. My brother-in-law, a former pitcher and undying baseball fan (Milwaukee Brewers) who hates winter, has an ingenious way of expressing this.

On a day like today, when the sun is actually diminishing the snowbanks, he stands in the window and shakes his fist, and says, “Take that, snow! How do you like that?!! Well, you can look forward to some more of that!”

Winter leads to Spring. Thus the line, “Now is the winter of our discontent made glorious summer…(Shakespeare, Richard III).” Sometimes the gloom is so deep and so prolonged that it seems that it will never end, but it will. The descent into the valley does have an ascent on the other side, however distant – and it is with great joy that we greet it. “Weeping may endure for a night, But joy comes in the morning” (Psalm 30:5).

Anyway, today was like that. Still not warm enough to just sit, I was able to pace back and forth on the sunny side of the house with bare hands and have a cigar. And though still not warm enough for a comfortable beer, a couple of cups of chai with brandy made a good substitute. But the real cause for good cheer is enjoying the sun itself.

Wait on the LORD;
Be of good courage,
And He shall strengthen your heart;
Wait, I say, on the LORD. (Psalm 27:14)

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  1. Ekosj Member
    Ekosj
    @Ekosj

    Betrothed – Rudyard Kipling”You must choose between me and your cigar.”
    — BREACH OF PROMISE CASE, CIRCA 1885.

    Open the old cigar-box, get me a Cuba stout,
    For things are running crossways, and Maggie and I are out.

    We quarrelled about Havanas — we fought o’er a good cheroot,
    And I knew she is exacting, and she says I am a brute.

    Open the old cigar-box — let me consider a space;
    In the soft blue veil of the vapour musing on Maggie’s face.

    Open the old cigar-box — let me consider a while.
    Here is a mild Manila — there is a wifely smile.

    Which is the better portion — bondage bought with a ring,
    Or a harem of dusky beauties, fifty tied in a string?

    Counsellors cunning and silent — comforters true and tried,
    And never a one of the fifty to sneer at a rival bride?

    Thought in the early morning, solace in time of woes,
    Peace in the hush of the twilight, balm ere my eyelids close,

    This will the fifty give me, asking nought in return,
    With only a Suttee’s passion — to do their duty and burn.

    This will the fifty give me. When they are spent and dead,
    Five times other fifties shall be my servants instead.

    The furrows of far-off Java, the isles of the Spanish Main,
    When they hear my harem is empty will send me my brides again.

    I will take no heed to their raiment, nor food for their mouths withal,
    So long as the gulls are nesting, so long as the showers fall.

    I will scent ’em with best vanilla, with tea will I temper their hides,
    And the Moor and the Mormon shall envy who read of the tale of my brides.

    For Maggie has written a letter to give me my choice between
    The wee little whimpering Love and the great god Nick o’ Teen.

    And I have been servant of Love for barely a twelvemonth clear,
    But I have been Priest of Cabanas a matter of seven year;

    And the gloom of my bachelor days is flecked with the cheery light
    Of stums that I burned to Friendship and Pleasure and Work and Fight.

    And I turn my eyes to the future that Maggie and I must prove,
    But the only light on the marshes is the Will-o’-the-Wisp of Love.

    Will it see me safe through my journey or leave me bogged in the mire?
    Since a puff of tobacco can cloud it, shall I follow the fitful fire?

    Open the old cigar-box — let me consider anew —
    Old friends, and who is Maggie that I should abandon you?

    A million surplus Maggies are willing to bear the yoke;
    And a woman is only a woman, but a good Cigar is a Smoke.

    Light me another Cuba — I hold to my first-sworn vows.
    If Maggie will have no rival, I’ll have no Maggie for Spouse!

    • #1
  2. Living High and Wide Member
    Living High and Wide
    @OldDanRhody

    Ekosj (View Comment):
     

    Betrothed – Rudyard Kipling”You must choose between me and your cigar.”
    — BREACH OF PROMISE CASE, CIRCA 1885.

    Ah yes, one of my favorites.

    • #2
  3. Nohaaj Coolidge
    Nohaaj
    @Nohaaj

    Ekosj (View Comment):

    I have never much liked smoking, (thank Gawd – since I have so many other vices), but I do love the poem.

    We had a beautiful and sunny cold Sunday, with deep blue skies, and an intense sun that made it feel much warmer than the mid 20’s we eventually achieved. It had been 4 weeks since we broke above freezing, but like your brother in law, I exclaimed to my wife that it felt like spring. It is a good invigorating feeling. That feeling may wain some as we wallow in the coming slush, cold rains and ubiquitous mud that will envelop our little farmette soon. But Sunday was Glorious! 

    • #3
  4. Gary McVey Contributor
    Gary McVey
    @GaryMcVey

    Back east, this is the middle of a stretch when it seems like spring will never come. The days do grow longer, but scarcely warmer. My wife’s birthday is February 18, mine’s the 5th of March; by now, you begin to detect a little difference.

    In New York, St. Patrick’s Day is still cold, but seldom quite as cold as Thanksgiving. It doesn’t feel like spring is four days away. This “March comes in like a lion, and leaves like a lamb” is either a wild exaggeration, or it refers to English weather. 

    • #4
  5. The Reticulator Member
    The Reticulator
    @TheReticulator

    Gary McVey (View Comment):

    Back east, this is the middle of a stretch when it seems like spring will never come. The days do grow longer, but scarcely warmer. My wife’s birthday is February 18, mine’s the 5th of March; by now, you begin to detect a little difference.

    In New York, St. Patrick’s Day is still cold, but seldom quite as cold as Thanksgiving. It doesn’t feel like spring is four days away. This “March comes in like a lion, and leaves like a lamb” is either a wild exaggeration, or it refers to English weather.

    Are you telling me I won’t be able to plant potatoes the first week in March this year? It’s pretty rare when that works, but there is always hope.

    • #5
  6. American Abroad Thatcher
    American Abroad
    @AmericanAbroad

    Enjoy the smoke. Some call cigar smoking a vice, but I prefer to think of it as an homage to Jamestown and our founding.

    • #6