The Cigar Maker
We went to dinner at Havana Alma de Cuba on Christopher Street in the West Village. Mary ordered the Hemingway- mussels, shrimp, calamari, scallops in a green sauce. I had the green plantain crusted red snapper, avocado and sofrito sauce with black beans and yellow rice. Flan for dessert.
Right next to our table in the front of the restaurant, a man came with a wooden box, a press, some tools. Tools for cigar making.
He unfurled large leaves of tobacco and began to roll cigars and cut them. The insides were in the wooden molds.
His hands were a blur. I asked if I might photograph him and he agreed. He told us the leaves were from the Dominican Republic. The cigar pile grew. As we prepared to leave he gave us a few cigars and matches in a bag which I gave to my son for some celebration or occasion. Our grandfather smoked cigars on the front porch when I was a kid. The smell of cigar smoke is strong but nostalgic. One whiff and I can be in that memory. See him in a straw hat. No one was smoking cigars on Tuesday night but it was fascinating to watch the hands of a master roll and cut them.