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.

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15 thoughts on “The Cigar Maker

  1. This must have been fascinating to watch, although I cannot stop thinking about the I Love Lucy episode where she rolled cigars during a visit to Havana. As much as I smoked, I never enjoyed cigars. I even tried Cubans when in Amsterdam one year. They just cost more for the same, to me, awful taste.

    • I have never smoked one but was mesmerized by a master cigar maker, rolling so smoothly and quickly. I was probably about 3 feet from him and couldn’t stop watching his using the cigar making tools so skillfully. Cool that you tried a Cuban in Amsterdam. THanks for always adding interesting and fun comments.

  2. You have inspired me to remember one of the best plays I have seen with the Pittsburgh Public Theater. An evening performance of “Anna in the Tropics” was magical. The setting was a cuban cigar factory in Tampa, FL set in the 1920’s. It is quite a few years ago but it was my favorite of the season. Thank you Ruth.

  3. It’s so amazing how you find these people. Such interesting subjects. Thanks for the history lesson.

  4. It’s amazing how something so poisonous can also be so beautiful. The man has definitely mastered his craft. I can’t handle the smell of cigar smoke, but the smell of pipe smoke has the same nostalgic/memory effect on me. (My mom’s dad.)

Thanks for your visit. It's always good to hear you stopped by.