I grew up in a smoky home. In the days when the warnings on smoking were less OBVIOUS, ShortonCoffee would smoke in the car with us. My sister and I would sit in the backseat hanging our heads out the window like Golden Retrievers to get fresh air. I never realized just how much I hated the smell of smoke until I went away to college. I got a taste of the smoke-free world and never looked back. ShortonCoffee still smokes, but not inside the house. Though you just can’t get rid of that smell. When J and I open packages from my mom, we actually see a billow of smoke emerge from the box and feel our lungs blacken.
J and I moved to Virginia from Arizona, where there was a statewide ban on smoking. It was disappointing that Virginia allowed smoking, but we rationalized that it was the South, so they make take some time to catch up. Or they may never. Danville is to smoking like Bert is to Ernie.
So we survived our 3 years in smoky Virginia. My favorite experience was when I was coaching high school cross country and I was waiting on the bus for the kids. The bus driver and I got to chatting, then she proceeded to light up. I guess my face looked a little perplexed (appalled?) because she said, “oh, does it bother you if I smoke?” I strapped on my set of balls and said something along the lines of it being a very bad idea to smoke on the bus that the kids—the ones who were trying to live a healthy lifestyle and just ran 3 miles in a race—will be riding on shortly. She extinguished her cigarette (and glared at me the whole ride home). I’m sure those kids were used to the cigarette smoke, and may have even smoked themselves, but call me crazy, but that seemed so 1970s. For J, his favorite experience was going to his haircut lady. "Git o'er hare in this hare chair, sonny," she'd say in her raspy voice. Cut, cut, ash, cut, cut, ash. He came home with a few singed hairs. Fire hazard? Rude?
Upon moving to NH, another smoke-free state, we felt liberated. However, every time we go back to Danville, we have to bring our masks. We spend most of our time in restaurants during our Danville visits because we stay at our house, which is usually missing water or electricity. Plus, food is so darn cheap down there, even according to J’s standards.
So, five years later, they caught up. What’s next? Are they going to ban Moonshine? Biscuits? Sweet Tea?