Monday, October 31, 2011

Musings on a Progressive Society


Robert Burns Cigars occupies a place in the fabric of Americana shared with the likes of Dutch Masters and White Owls.  Before smoking became anathema, most men partook of the tobacco leaf in one form or another.  Ah I remember well the heady days of my nursery youth, spending time with my grandfather whom I had given the affectionate name "Papaherc" for reasons known only to myself.  Papaherc was a consummate man of the 1930's, even in the late 1970's and he was a cigar smoker as well.  Come to think of it, I rarely remember him actually lighting and smoking a cigar, instead he would go about his day with a Dutch Master clenched between his teeth.

Many years ago, long before the stench of Communism wafted in and defiled the tropical island to the south of Miami, we were able to procure the finest tobacco leaf in the world for the manufacture of cigars.  The Cuban handrolled cigars were expensive, even back then, and so men of short pecunious means had to make do with machine rolled Cuban cigars.  And so were born the brands that almost everyone knows today as "Drugstore Cigars".  Drugstores were as much the center of daily life as the barber shop, a place to come in, buy some cigars and a newspaper and have a chat with the Pharmacist. 

Time, however, moves inexorably forward and changes everything around us.  Swept away is the slower pace of life in a safer world in the tidal wave of "Progress" to be replaced by a hectic life where were are constantly hounded into submission by our would be "know it all" nannies.  Robert Burns cigars are still made, but in the Dominican Republic of homogenized sheet tobacco... bits and pieces of tobacco pressed into sheets and cut up, invariably treated with chemicals.  What price, progress.  I am well aware of the old saying, "You can never go home again," but don't you ever wish we could try?

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