A Hero's Smokey Welcome

(by Oldie and Better, 05 February 2003)


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A Hero's Smokey Welcome
By Oldie and Better

As Chester Ciguarora stepped down from the train, there to greet him was his 
lovely wife Anita, his 12 children, inlaws and friends.

"You've never looked lovelier," Chester said as he kissed Anita, his wife of 
28 years. "Just wait," came Anita's comments. From her smokey breath, Lt. 
Col. Chester Ciguarora knew what she meant.

Chester thought of ways to convey what he had seen in Europe to some of the 
women of his home town of Cibola. He quickly found that good news travels 
faster than a puff of smoke in a Texas windstorm.

The hero of the Great War was ending 30 years of distinguished service. In a 
couple of weeks, he would complete the papers at Fort Sam Houston in Texas. 
Chester showed no sign of injuries he sustained shortly before the Armistice 
as he kissed his family members. As he described it by mail, he was shot in 
the butt by a sniper as the Allies closed out the war. It was merely a flesh 
wound, he assured Anita.

Since the age of 19, she had delivered a baby every 18 months until the 
couple had reached the magic number of 12. After daughters Faith (27), Hope 
(25), and Charity (24), came a son, Alex, 22. The older three daughters were 
married before Chester left of his great adventure. Alex is to marry in 
June. They continue to live in the blossoming town.

Single daughters Beverly (21), Claire (19) and Delores (18) also lived in 
the town. Beverly was in her first year as a teacher while Claire and 
Delores worked who had worked at the family enterprises since graduation 
from school. Still in school were Elaine (16), Francine (15), George (13), 
Harold (12) and Ivan 10.

Lt. Col. Ciguarora had helped General John (Black Jack) Pershing end the war 
in Europe. His military career reflected the history of the time. After 
standing guard against the almost non-existent indians, Chester fought in 
the Spanish American War before the end of the 19th Century He had command 
of a border location in the early part of the 20th Century as Pershing went 
in pursuit of Pancho Villa.

In the Great War, he was in the forefront as the Allies recaptured parts of 
France. He came to Europe via England and left the same way. When the ship 
landed in New York City he boarded a train for Texas.
When Chester left, only the lowlife of women in Cibola smoked. Now, on the 
final day of 1918, Chester was to find smoking in the limelight of Cibola 
Society.

When Chester and Anita could escape the crowd, Anita lit a Chesterfield, 
bushed a flake of tobacco off her lip and allowed the smoke to exit through 
nose and mouth.

"When I heard of your injury, I had to lean on cigarettes," Anita said. 
"After less than three months, I'm leaning on them quite a bit."
Taking a puff, holding and exhaling, she said, "Now they call me Anita 
Cigarette." The comment aroused Chester who, at 50, was four years older 
than his wife."

"So, do any of the kids use tobacco," Chester inquired.
"Charity started before me and runs close to my total," Anita said.
"Hope is smoking some in hopes of relaxing and becoming pregnant."
"Faith is busy with her three kids and has a fourth on the way. She vows 
never to touch the vile weed," Anita said as another nostril exhale 
followed.

"Alex smokes, but Jessica doesn't. They still plan to get married in June." 
"Don't tell anybody but Beverly also smokes at our house but never at the 
teacherage." She has Jessica's word that she won't tell.
Chester looked at his wife as she let another exhale out and said, "who 
else?"

"Claire and Delores have had a few," Anita said, "but they are not at all 
addicted." She continued. "Now if Elaine, Francine or any of the boys are 
smoking, its without my knowledge or permission."
Chester had another question.

"What about Denise?"

Denise is the mother of Alex's fiance, Jessica, and the wife of Norris Nash, 
the owner of the new Ford dealership in town. Asking about Denise Nash 
alarmed Anita but she responded. "I think this this new Ford dealership has 
driven her to smoking also."

Both laughed. Chester summed it up. I was over in Europe watching those 
British and French girls smoke and here we have the birth of women smoking 
over here. "Women smoking is pretty much old hat, even out in the sticks," 
Anita said. "I just hope it is widely enough accepted before they find out 
about Beverly. I would hate for the board of education to come down on her.

Anita surprised her husband even more by driving the new Ford she acquired 
for the family. Chester knew of the new car and the planned wedding of his 
oldest son. He was kept abreast of the new arrivals but smoking was 
something he could never have imagined.

Chester and Anita pulled into the old saddle shop. Chester found the shop he 
left was mostly a boot shop and the boots were stitched by machine made and 
sent to the store.

Before Chester left for the great war, he had just about taught Alex how to 
build a quality saddle. Anita had picked boot making. Now, Anita kept the 
books and Alex mostly sold cars for his future father-in-law.
Alex hoped his dad would take over the boot making so Alex could start a 
Chevrolet dealership.

He produced a sign with Ciguarora Chevrolet neatly displayed.
At the New Year's Eve party, Faith's husband Kenneth told Chester that he 
hoped to close the related livery stable down by summer so he could devote 
fulltime to his growing herd of cattle. The changes were numerous but 
Chester could not get over the women smoking. His eyes burned by the end of 
the New Year's Eve event.

The new year was not without surprises.

Hope ditched the family favorite Chesterfields Jan. 1 for Lucky Strike. 
"Maybe these will change my luck," she said clutching the green pack. It 
did. Soon, she was feeling the signs of pregnancy. Doc Blue confirmed Hope 
was expecting and told her since not much is known about pregnant women 
smoking, he suggested she keep the total down to five a day.

Hope told the doctor she would. While Hope would be showing for the wedding, 
Faith was determined to not show the affects of a fourth child. She took up 
smoking to get the pounds off before the wedding.
Beverly's smoking became known by the board of education. They cussed and 
discussed allowing women teachers to smoke although it was OK for male 
teachers to smoke. They called for a public hearing in about a week.

Jessica, the pride and joy of the board, asked to speak first to the 
trustees. "Hi, I'm Jessica," she said. " You've never known me as a smoker 
but I've been practicing for the last week." She lit a cigarette drew in 
deeply and let out an exhale. "Now, does that make me any different."
Finally, a member of the stunned board spoke up. "You smoke rather well for 
a beginner," board member Billy Bob Rose said. "If she can smoke like that 
in a week, we should put her dramatic abilities to constructive activities 
and build that new stage," board member Yancy Tucker said.

"I'm for the stage, even a fireproof theater," board president Tyler Houston 
said as he drew a chuckle. "But let's make the lady that taught her to smoke 
the theater teacher." If Gertrude Houston's umbrella would have reached, she 
would have hit her husband.

Finally, Clay Henry, the great compromiser of the board, spoke. "I don't 
give a hang if these young ladies smoke or not outside the classroom. Just 
so they don't have far to go to smoke if they so desire, let's give them a 
smoking lounge just like the men have when we do our renovations.

While the meeting went on, Elaine and Francine kept their distance. They 
stayed close enough to hear but far enough away to not be seen smoking. 
Claire and Delores held hands with the their escorts, the Montague twins. 
Martin and Mark Montague's parents owned a candy and notions wholesale store 
that had sold tobacco long before cigarettes became so popular.

As they pulled away in one of the touring cars from Nash Ford, Claire lit a 
cigarette. "Well now that is over with, I guess we can tell them." Claire 
said. "What that we smoke cigarettes," Delores said as she also lit up.

"Well I was thinking we could say that we were getting married in December," 
Claire said. "Let's give them a double dose of news," Delores said.

Elaine graduated about two weeks before the wedding and earned the right to 
smoke openly. Jessica, Anita and Denise gathered with the smoking sisters 
the night before the wedding.

Alex and his dad peaked out from the second story study. Gosh, we have the 
seven smoking sisters of Cibola. Francine was in her room writing. She 
smiled as she scribbled excerpts from her book, appropriately called "Eight 
is Enough."


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