My Evening Ritual

This spring has been surprisingly delightful this year due to an occasional ritual that I have stumbled onto. I can’t say that it has become a habit as of yet, but a couple of times a week I have found a wonderful way to unwind after work.

My favorite cigar store is on my way home if I take smaller roads. I stop in and visit with the regulars, which I seem to be becoming, and I pick up a moderately priced maduro. The store has just recently re-opened after a move, so I’ve been experimenting as they have begun slowly restocking. Tonight’s cigar is a robusto Saint Luis Ray Reserva Especial made with tobacco from Honduras.

After talking about the weather, or some other lightweight “guy talk”, I pay my bill, cut and light the cigar in the store and then savor it as I make my way home. I drive a old Dodge pickup truck with the window down and listen to podcasts through the only upgrade I’ve ever made to Bubba Jane — a cheap stereo with an iPhone dock. Tonight I was listening to the latest Macbreak Weekly as Ihnatko, Gruber and the rest of the cast discussed the recent news regarding the Lodsys patent.

Given the proximity of my home to the cigar store, I’m never able to finish my cigar and as long as it’s not raining, it isn’t a problem. I pick up the mail from the mailbox on the street, unload my jump bag and any other accouterments from the truck and quickly march through the house discarding everything but the cigar on the way out the back door and on to the deck. As much as I enjoy the smell of day old cigar in my truck, neither I or Holly care for that scent of potpourri in our home. With the cigar safely back outside, I park the still burning stogie on patio table and return inside to gather a few more goodies.

Nothing pairs better with a cigar than a glass of scotch, but I’ve been on Timothy Ferriss’ Slow Carb diet for about six weeks now and scotch isn’t allowed. Fortunately red wine is and I have fallen head over heels for a California Cabernet called Bohemian Highway. It’s spicy, loaded with fruit and seems to pair perfectly with a maduro cigar. excuse me a moment… Mmmmmm that’s good My corner liquor store has the larger bottles priced at $10, so there’s no guilt in cracking open a bottle and kicking back. Now armed with a full glass of Cabernet, I grab the company iPad and I’m back out on the deck. My cigar has usually gone out, so I light it a new and soak in the last bit of rays as the sun sets behind the hill.

Tonight's View (5/24/11)We are fortunate enough to live in a cul-de-sac and even more fortunate that our house backs up to a good sized pasture. We’re 1 mile from a major thoroughfare that runs through most of Nashville (Old Hickory Blvd) but from my current view you’d think we live out in the country. The evenings have been quite cool and pleasant for most of the spring and sitting in an outdoor chair with your feet propped up is the best way to enjoy it.

If I’m lucky, the small herd of cattle will be near the fence. You can hear them chew and tug at the grass as they rip it from the ground. Gentle huffs and small, short noises are interspersed, which I imagine signals their neighbor to something important like “Hey, that’s my tuff. Why don’t you mozy on down the hill.” If I’m not so fortunate, the cows will be up the hill in the distance perfectly silouetted against the sun — either way it’s a splendid view.

As I take a sip of wine, I notice my dog Gracie is exploring the deck to see what new developments have occurred since she was last outside. There seems to be no shortage of new smells, or interesting leaves and twigs that have fallen, all of which require careful scrutiny. The roar of cicadas that I hear every morning are now a faint chirp in the distance as they have scattered to different trees elsewhere in the small valley.

Watching the smoke drift upwards, the stress and worries of my day slowly fade. It’s been a long day and there is another one just around the corner, but for a brief moment that next deadline is just out of reach. My eyes close. My ears take over and the sounds of the cows in front of me and the sounds of the neighborhood winding down behind me help slide my mental stick shift into neutral.

Bringing my wine glass back to my lips, an explosion of juicy wet fruit hits my nose which counter balances the pungent smoke still lingering nearby, in the moist air. We’re expecting rain this evening and the air is slightly heavy. The moistness also provides a hint of coolness as the sun drops further over the hill and lights up the hazy clouds on the horizon into fresh spun cotton candy.

Inevitably a thought returns. It’s the same thought I’ve had before. Sitting in this exact spot. Enjoying this exact view Savoring the same glass of wine. It’s a thought that makes me smile as it tip toes into my consciousness. The thought is naive to the fact that it’s been here before but I give it a welcoming grin, greeting old friend — I could get used to this.