Cigarettes and Alcohol

If you read my blog on a regular basis, then you probably already know that I started smoking and drinking relatively early in life. (Fourteen — smoking, fifteen — drinking, sixteen — marijuana.)

BTW, one of the really fun parts about writing this blog is that it links to my other social media sites like Facebook and I get comments on my other social media sites from friends and acquaintances I knew as a youth in Orangeburg. It is wonderful to get those messages since all of those people know the places I’m writing about and the people I write about, although some are loosely disguised. (Thank you Cindy S., Sara, Kit, and others who remember the old days. Kit, you probably went into the old bomb shelter in the Eutaw Hotel because we kept office supplies down there for Nonie’s travel agency.)

One of the things I remember doing with so many of my friends when I was a lad was sneaking off to smoke cigarettes, as if our parents couldn’t smell this on us unless they smoked and some did. My mother smoked but being a Presbyterian and believing all things in moderation, she only smoked one or two cigarettes a day. Salems. And since she only smoked one or two a day, I couldn’t steal cigarettes from her since she would notice.

But back to smoking and drinking. Let me say that the only thing better than a cigarette and coffee was a cigarette and a beer. Or a cigarette and a glass of gin. Or whiskey. Or a daiquiri, Long Island ice tea, gin gimlet, Singapore sling et al. When I was fifteen and started hanging out at Charlie’s Paragon in Orangeburg (not named after me), everyone, and I mean everyone smoked. Not that I should have been going into bars so young but what the hell. Who was going to stop me?

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Charles McCain

Charles McCain is a Washington DC based freelance journalist and novelist. He is the author of "An Honorable German," a World War Two naval epic. You can read more of his work on his website:

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