My Granddaddy chewed cigars for as long as I can remember. King Edward cigars. They came 50 per box, individually wrapped in plastic. Every morning as Granddaddy pulled on his bib overalls he’d fill his various pockets: Zippo lighter, handkerchief, matching pen and mechanical pencil set, eyeglasses case, pliers, wallet, checkbook and a handful of cigars. The cigars went in one of several of the bib pockets. I’m not sure why he carried the Zippo. He never used it to light the cigars because he didn’t smoke them, only chewed them.
When my brothers and I were old enough to realize he wasn’t smoking the cigars one of us asked him why he only chewed them. He went into a long story about working on a highway department road crew and everyone stealing his chewing tobacco so he switched to chewing cigars and noone ever wanted them.
As kids we always thought that chewing cigars was a strange, nasty thing. There were always cigar wrappers, butts and spit on the ground around the house and everywhere Granddaddy went. We could see absolutely no benefit whatsoever in cigars (except the boxes were cool). Especially chewed ones. Then one day one of my brothers or I were stung by a bee. Bee stings hurt. We, of course, went running to Granddaddy crying as if we were surely about to die. Granddaddy looked at the sting to make sure there was no stinger left in. Then he took a bit of the chewed cigar from his mouth and (in slow motion and extreme closeup)started to put it on the sting. At this point the afflicted individual was wishing the sting had killed them. There are only af few things more disgusting than chewed tobacco dripping with thick brown saliva from another person’s mouth.
As the stung person was violently pulling away with screams akin to a wounded, dying rabbit, Granddaddy held on tight and said a few comforting, reassuring words (in polite society they are spelled: @#*+$!!). According to him this is the only way to get the sting out. So, reluctantly, after a bit of coaxing (and giggle filled prodding from the other two brothers) Granddaddy was allowed to put the moist, chewed tobacco on the sting. And to our surprise it worked.
It’s been true in my life that sometimes when I’ve been “stung” by events, circumstances, people, poor choices… life, that God has a relief that doesn’t always look too appealing to me. I’ve fought, kicked, squealed and screamed not wanting any part of it. There’s got to be some other way. It will feel better on it’s own. Finally God, in His comforting, reassuring way, lets me know this is for the best… my best. I say ok, close my eyes and He takes the sting away.