Cigars!

Yesterday I received in the mail a wonderful assortment of cigars from my friend, Mike coming all the way from distant, faraway and mysterious Singapore.

Just so you know, Mike is one of those rare individuals who actually knows way more than you or I about the true art of fine living. And that’s how I first met him was while reading his marvelous blog, Loh and Behold.

That was way back a number of years ago while I was still living in Washington, DC. I was especially drawn to his Eat Drink Men Women section because it contained such a wealth of wonderfully written posts on eating well and drinking well; both subjects I am most definitely interested in.

So I was standing there visiting with my neighbor, Max in front of his shop when the postal delivery guy pulled up on his bicycle and motioned me over. I was shocked. ‘Me?’, I asked; like I get a piece of mail maybe 3-4 times per year. He grinned and nodded his head.

Note: I absolutely love the local Mexican Post Office. I no longer have to show ID when I sign for a package. I am the only gringo in town but I think our relationship falls back on that old-timey thing called trust. And I admire them and the other people in this town who also hold me to a position of trust. It’s another thing about this town and people that I’ve grown to love.

A quick side story. Late this morning I went by to see a guy about my age who has a jewelry store to get his educated take on an old Mexican pewter pitcher I had recently acquired. I paid a couple of dollars for it at the Tuesday Flea Market on the other side of town and I could not make out the stamp on the bottom of the piece other than to confirm it was made in Mexico.

He put on his jeweler’s loop before assuring me the piece was neither old nor valuable. He then went to the storage area behind the showroom and trots out a half a dozen other similar yet superior Mexican pitchers (surprise) with varying histories before inviting me back once again to see many of his other collections in silver plate and cutlery.

This is the same guy who when he heard from our mutual friend and neighbor, Dr. Jorge that I was interested in pre-Hispanic artifacts where he invited me around to see that part of his collection that he kept at his shop. His was like an infinite collection of matryoshka dolls as I thought he’d never run out of ancient clay masks and painted pots to parade before me.

That’s part of the trust here. You don’t invite someone around and show them your vast hoard of pre-Colombian artifacts  – not to mention box after box, and sack after sack of old silver and gold coins – if you think that person is going to blab.

I am neither an appraiser of coins or antiquities mind you but I could put a blue sky estimate on their value as somewhere between a modest $50K (coins only?) to maybe five times that. Who would have ever thought there could valuable stuff like that crammed in the back of someone’s modest store? So yes, trust. You see it but never talk about it. That’s one of the many groups here built around trust.

So yesterday I get this package. I see it’s from Singapore and my mind immediately turns to one thing. Cigars!

Max’s friend, Marco had rolled up in the meantime and before I knew it I was cutting open the box with both of them looking over my shoulder.

Cigars! Oh yes my friends, cigars.

PS – And tonight I smoke one.

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