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My boss at work showed me some perennials to cut back for the winter. Among the list of areas I needed to take care of were two patches of ground cover around a pair of old willows. The boss suggested to cut it down, carefully avoiding the roots, with a lawn mower.

I set to work removing sticks, bits of bark and litter that had fallen in and under the ground cover and uncovered as many of the roots as possible. Along the way I found something remarkable ... a haul of about 15 tennis balls in perfect condition. They way they kept cropping up I knew I'd find more when the mower hit them... I also spotted a plastic bag -- common place, every day litter. I ignored it, decided to pick it up later and kept working over the ground cover.

After bouncing a few tennis balls out from underneath the mower, one shooting about 30 feet skyward before bouncing off the willow and crashing into a nearby bush, I took out the rest of the ground cover with some hand pruners. Again that plastic bag... Usually what you find in a plastic bag at this place might be, well, a dog turd. That the contents of the bag looked like a brown cylinder seemed to confirm this, although some of my collegues have found things like bags of weed and the like... This time when I looked at it something caught my eye. I bit of red in the bag too. Immediately I thought, "cigar". What cigars have red bands .... Bahia Tesoro bundles, CAO maduros ... I took a closer look at the band and emblazened in gold on the band were the words "SERIE D No. 4, PARTAGAS Havana".

Cigar butts are nothing new at the hotel. Unfortunately on my morning litter rounds I tend to find cigars half-smoked or even less. A few years ago there were more high end smokes and quite a number of Havanas. As I peered through the plastic I thought about some other discoveries: narrow ring Montes at the front circle drive, a La Gloria Cubana on the waterfront, Cohibas and a half-smoked, ex-churchill sized Bolivar by the outdoor pool... But this Partagas that I had in my hand was unclipped and unsmoked!

Unclipped, unsmoked and battered! The foot was shredded and the wrapper split right in the center. The band appeared wedged between split portions of the wrapper in the cigar's midsection. I rationalized that this cigar probably had been sitting under the tree for quite a while and with the wide swings in temperature and weather lately, it would probably remain unsmokable no matter what.

I thought that a cigar was in order tonight for my discovery. Right then I thought of the Padron 2000 maduro that had been resting in my coolerdor for about a year. I drove back to the shop with a load of groundcover clippings, the tennis balls and the battered Partagas, which now lies at the bottom of my locker.

I came home and lit up my Padron, still wearing my grubby work gear, and settled in for a satisfying smoke. It was a pretty good Friday. What's more, it was payday -- my favorite kind of day!
 
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