“Hanging” with Clark Griswold Week Two…

Last week, the wife made me put up the tree a week earlier than usual. And of course, we all know that the tree is a little too “tall and thin.” Yeah, whatever. But the first Sunday in December is always a tradition, where Daddy Z puts up the Christmas lights on the house – no matter how dangerously cold it is and no matter how much frost biting arctic wind is howling and swirling on the roof.

402-hanging-christmas-lightsFor the past ten years it’s been the same, I put on a pot of hot java, break out a couple of hardy smokes, a warm pair gloves, bundle up in layers, get out the big ass metal ladder, and risk life and limb all for the sake of holiday spirit. (Since there are no lawn mowers involved, I figure I should be just fine.)

Now some early Decembers have been mild enough for a sweatshirt and no gloves and that is a joy – but yesterday wouldn’t be the case – low 30’s temperatures and a wind that went right through to the bone was the deal as a heavy wool hat replaced my baseball cap very quickly.

My usual regimen is putting the New York Giants game on the car radio and leaving the doors open. Listening to football while doing the Clark Griswold dance is always a great way to pass the time, but this year I really wanted to watch the game on TV, KNOWING that the Jints would lambaste the Warshingtin Dead Skins (and they sure as hell did.) My daughter was at the game with her boyfriend (her first NFL experience and the first time in the New Meadowlands Stadium) and I wanted to text her every five minutes for live updates. So, I hit the ground running at around 11am, hoping to be done by the one o’clock kick off.

100_3033-1Okay, coffee’s done, now it’s was time to crack open the humidor to pick a couple of smokes that would cut through old man winter’s nasty breath. And two delicious sticks I did pick: The appetizer smoke is a Don Tomas Clasico Robusto, an underrated medium bodied Honduran stick that is very tasty and won’t hurt you in the wallet either. Then for the main course I go with a Hoyo de Monterrey Dark Sumatra Maduro Coronacion, a dark and beefy beast for certain, one that will keep my spirits up while dangling from the porch overhang.

As I spark up that first puppy up, I grab my thermos and toss that rickety steel ladder onto the front of the house, then make the wobbly climb up where the air is thin and is a bit more brisk. With stogie clenched in my teeth I begin the break plastic clip after clip trying to mount the damned string of multi-colored bulbs onto the gutters, while swearing so loud that several neighbors popped their heads outside to see what was going on.

“It’s just the fat-ass Polack doing his lights again!” I hear from across the street. These people know me all-too well.

clarkgriswaldchistmasvacationAn hour has passed, the front is done and now it’s time for above the garage. Cigar number two is clipped and stoked and the flavor of that full bodied Sumatran Hoyo is just oh so delicioso. Of course I can’t feel my feet, but as long as I’ve got my trusty stogies, I know I’ll get through just fine.

NY-GiantsAnd so the second hour passes quickly and I want to get inside for opening kick-off (which doesn’t happen) because like the idiot I often am, I forgot to plug the lights in ahead of time to see what bulbs were out, and of course when I plug her in, only half of them are on and my sewer-laden vocabulary becomes more colorful than the bulbs themselves. Yeah, I’ve gotta get back on the ladder a bunch more times and twist about 20 loose bulbs that work again, but see that there’s still a lot that need to be replaced. And there are no replacements, yet the wife wants me to run out to the Home Depot 20 minutes away RIGHT NOW because it looks “half-assed.”

“TOO DAMNED BAD, WOMAN!” I yell at the top of my cigar filled lungs! “It’s waiting til after the football game and when I can feel my extremities again!” (And yes, including ‘THAT’ one, too.) Surprisingly she’s cool about it and I watch the Giants shred some pigskin as I text with my baby girl for the next three hours.

Another year of decorating success. Nice goin’ Clark.


Handmade HON
Wrapper: HON/CTBL    Binder: HON/CT    Filler: HON/NIC
Medium-Full Bodied

dtclasico-bigThe Don Tomás Clásico is a return to the original, pre-1990 “Cigar Boom” Don Tomás. During the boom years, many Honduran and Nicaraguan tobaccos became scarce and blends changed to tobacco resources from other countries, like Indonesia, Columbia, and Mexico. Now back to its classic Honduran roots, this cigar offers a rich, smooth, and flavorful old-world smoking experience.


Handmade HON
Wrapper: ECSU    Binder: CTBL    Filler: HON/NIC/DR
Full Bodied

HOYO DE MONTERREY DARK SUMATRAA full-bodied line extension to the majestic Hoyo de Monterrey brand, the Dark Sumatra is wrapped in the darkest sun-grown Ecuadorian Sumatran leaf. This blend uses select tobaccos from five nations to provide a rich, robust smoke packed with earthy flavors. This is a cigar for those who crave a heavier, Cuban-style smoke.

Tommy Z,


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