I live with six material objects handed down to me from my Swedish immigrant father, one of which is a hand carved cigar box fashioned into a representation of a log cabin. Lift the cabin, and it raises on an concealed internal pedestal. Lower it, and the cabin will dispense a cigar, cradled on the ridge beams of the roof. I enjoy dwelling with this little artifact that, as he was fond of saying, came from the old country. It serves to churn memories of my father, a simple and complex man with an enormous heart.
As I was entering adolescence, my father laid down two non-negotiable rules: No cigarettes. No Motorcycles. He told me, "Other inevitable dumb mistakes of youth we can work through ~ but no cigarettes, no motorcycles, no exceptions. You will make, and learn from, bad choices along the way ~ but I will not put up with that kind of stupid."
Those boundaries seemed more than reasonable to me.
His loathing of tobacco was selective, however. There were occasions when he enthusiastically enjoyed cigars. Back then, it appeared to me that cigars must pair somehow with generous helpings of bourbon and testosterone; the appearance of a cigar in his hand was an indicator of Good Times Rolling. But my dad was not oft given to excess, and so I did not have much to work with trying to understand the mystery of cigars. They were just one among many oddities of adult behavior, an occasional deviation from a relatively conservative life, a ritual somewhere far beyond my comprehension or imagination.
To this day, I have nothing to do with cigarettes or motorcycles.
Author: Sam Rodell
Sam has been practicing as an award winning architect for over thirty years, and has also built many of his clients' projects. He is currently licensed to practice architecture throughout most of the western United States and Canada, and is certified by the National Council of Architectural Registration Boards (NCARB) which expedites registration in other states and provinces. He was the first Certified Passive House Consultant (CPHC) architect in eastern Washington and northern Idaho.