THE SILVER STOGIE AWARD
We were all invited to The Katman’s Cutters Lounge cigar bar to celebrate his Silver Stogie Award for Best Cigar Blog. The Katman’s daughter Katie served the ceremonial Clynelish 20-year old Scotch to Michael, Rick, David, and me.
Like a conquering Julius Caesar saluting his Legions, The Katman held aloft his Silver Stogie Award and a quiver of five Padilla Edición Especial Obsidian cigars from his private reserve, “From the legendary 2006 batch,” he announced in triumph.
I sighed, remembering, “Oh, the ‘velvet curtain’ sensation of the smoke in my mouth….”
David asked, “Wasn’t the world supposed to end in 2006?”
“Someone’s world is always at an end,” The Katman philosophized.
Rick, always holding his acoustic guitar, quickly invented a Flamenco tune, singing, “Padilla, Padilla, Edición Especial…”
Mike grinned adoringly, “Oh, my Long-Filler is hard…”
The Katman allotted a Padilla Edición Especial Obsidian to each of us like it was a diploma. He said, “Girls, you are going to sing for your cigars this time. Look over there,” and he pointed to the far corner while nodding to daughter Katie who flicked a light switch and revealed a staged set of drums, two guitars, a singer’s microphone stand, and The Katman’s fretless Fender Jazz Bass guitar. On the bass drum daughter Katie had painted a logo entitled The Brothers of the Leaf.
“Pahr-tay!” The Katman joked, “Let us play onward.”
Occasionally there had been jazz combos at Cutters Lounge but we had never jammed there ourselves. We had been in and out of bands together in our glory days but this was The Katman really letting his Afro down.
I said, “I haven’t touched a guitar in years.”
Mike said, “Then you can play skin flute.”
I replied with a lewd gesture toward him, “Here, let me warm up.”
Rick intervened, “Gentlemen, no solos yet.”
The Katman pointed out, “We need you on drums, Allen.”
David said with apprehension, “What are we going to play? Make it something I can still sing.”
The Katman said to us all, “The instruments can jam first and loosen-up on something simple. David, think of one you’ll be comfortable singing, like ….”
“Please,” Mike said, “No Jim Croce.”
“How about Dave Mason?” offered David.
Rick asked, “Like ‘Feelin’ Alright’? That’s got a groove,” and he proceeded to scratch a chukka-chukka rhythm on the electric guitar, “or maybe something from this century, guys, like Colbie Caillat‘s ‘Brighter Than The Sun’?” and Rick then segued into the rhythm of that song.
“I don’t know the lyrics,” said David.
Mike teased, “Know any good Hip-Hop?”
Then The Katman just ignored us all and began to lay down some funk in E and all the instruments followed.
Daughter Katie began mocking us by dancing The Twist.
Our jam finally morphed into a funky version of Van Morrison’s “Redwood Tree” naturally enough, and David was happy and soulful as he sang. The other patrons of Cutters Lounge gathered near and joined in the spirit of the fun. It was like one of our early garage-band gigs, except that this time no neighbor lady approached the band with the back of her hand against her forehead like a tormented Ophelia, entreating us not to play so loud; I smiled in remembrance.
Several patrons staked-out a dance floor area in front of the band. We played and jammed and joked for an hour. The Katman called a cigar break. There was polite applause.
I laughed, “Man, I am sweating!”
Mike poked, “Yeah, good thing you don’t have a woman to hold.”
“Hold this, spooge-breath,” I retorted, grinning.
Michael, Rick, David, and I sat back down on the big couches. The Katman returned to his lounge chair.
The Silver Stogie Award for Best Cigar Blog was not a joke or a minor recognition. The Silver Stogie Award is given for excellence that is defined as “informative, innovative, amusing, and serves the community”. The Katman was sponsoring orphanages in Honduras and Guatemala.
It was my turn to say something in The Katman’s honor, “My father is facing Alzheimer’s. I took him to see the movie Act of Valor last weekend. He really appreciated it. The movie referenced something that Tecumseh, the Shawnee chief, said. I thought it was very powerful and appropriate for us. I thought it would make a great credo for our efforts here together at Cutters Lounge:
Live your life that the fear of death can never enter your heart. Trouble no one about their religion; respect others in their view, and demand that they respect yours. Love your life, perfect your life, beautify all things in your life. Seek to make your life long and its purpose in the service of your people. Prepare a noble death song for the day when you go over the great divide. Always give a word or a sign of salute when meeting or passing a friend, even a stranger, when in a lonely place. Show respect to all people and grovel to none. When you arise in the morning give thanks for the food and for the joy of living. If you see no reason for giving thanks, the fault lies only in yourself. Abuse no one and no thing, for abuse turns the wise ones to fools and robs the spirit of its vision. When it comes your time to die, be not like those whose hearts are filled with the fear of death, so that when their time comes they weep and pray for a little more time to live their lives over again in a different way. Sing your death song and die like a hero going home.
The Katman’s eyes glowed molten red from the ember of his cigar. We all had an itch in our eyes. We raised our cigars in salute to The Great Spirit of Tecumseh.
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