Many years ago I was in church on the Southside of Chicago. Before the service, I noticed one of the most intriguing women I have ever seen there. She was several pews in front of me to the right. She was short in stature, oh maybe about 5’5”. Her medium-length hair was black, simple – halo style back then. I thought I was being discreet as I stared at her from behind for practically the whole mass. My intention was to go up to her after worship and introduce myself in some kind of Christian way so as not to scare her off.
So the mass ends and I get up and she leaves on the right and heads for the door. I’m in the center aisle and proceed to head for the back as well. I’m just a few feet from her and the priest who had the mass was shaking everybody’s hand and as much as I tried to avoid that contact, he seemed to reach over to me and take my hand. Odd I thought. But I wished him a “Good morning” and attempted to get on my way because this woman I noticed was not a slow walker.
He still has my hand, and he looks at me and asks, “What were you thinking today during the service?” Those were his exact words. I will never forget them. And I felt a rush of nausea in the pit of my stomach because I could see he had no doubt noticed my attention was on the young lady and that my mind was a galaxy away from his homily.
She’s walking further away by now. And I do remember the very words I answered, “Father, I have a lot on my mind.” He looked at me. It was as if he kept me there until for all practical purposes it was too late for me to contact this woman unless I ran or raced toward her and that would not have been a very smart thing to do. He knew what was on my mind. He knew what I was concentrating on – and he was right!
I marvel at this vivid recollection of fact. This is over 40 years ago. Yet, it’s as if it happened yesterday and in my redolent vision, it did. I remember the feelings, the angst, the embarrassment, and the dialogue. It’s when a moment like this occurs that you know you have an indelible crevasse etched in your memory. This is how I feel about today’s cigar.
I’ll just rewrite my notes, as scattered as they may seem – the whole is what counts:
(Notas ad verbum est)
Horacio II. Delightful first puff. Aroma matches the taste of the cigar. Oh boy, was this worth the wait. Caramel. Soul-stopping flavour. Decadent. Hedonistic. Sybaritic. A grand smoke. Ecuadorian, Nicaraguan and Costa Rican. The time it took to get this brand through the proper channels into the US will remain with me like a nightmare – as will the erotic essences so essential to the exotic end. A smoke of wide proportions. Thick with details of the memorable mixed minutiae of madness – David Foster Wallace’s “Infinite Jest.”
Savory. Sensual. No. Sensually satisfying. The bouquet pulsates with luxury.
Deep, ground Roman coffee. Call it a pleasurable sensation. A feather. A look. Marie Magdalene “Marlene” Dietrich may sing it the best:
Falling in love again/Never wanted to/What’s a girl to do?/I can’t help it. Love’s always been my game/Play it how I may/I was made that way/I can’t help it/Men cluster to me like moths around a flame/And if their wings burn, I know I’m not to blame. (Repeat)
What? What? What? What? This aroma touches my senses – all of them. A buffer of sweet spice colliding with rich touches of Dylan’s poetics. It’s beginning to thunder. The sky is dark. I’ve lost sight of the thirds. I don’t think anybody really gives a damn about the fractions. Na!
It’s beginning to rain. The moisture in the air melds with the melting aromatic smoke silently whisked into the air and into my memory. “What were you thinking today during the services?” A calm resonates above the splashing rain on asphalt. She may have gotten away, but her memory, like Horacio II – will forever be engraved in my mind.
(Songwriters F. HOLLANDER, REG CONNELLY/Published by Lyrics © MUSIC SALES CORPORATION/Song Discussions is protected by U.S. Patent 9401941. Other patents pending.)