I was a smoker for about 25 years, I started before I was in secondary school and it wasn’t until the birth of our first daughter that I gave up. My last
smoke was about 4 months before she was born and apart from the day she was born after being awake nearly 38 hours, tired, emotional and ruined I’ve not even felt the urge for a smoke.
I’d like to say I gave up smoking for my wife, but the job of a truck driver for me was impossible without smoking. To her credit my wife never told me to give up, she made comments about how it would be good if I did but she never told me I should. When I did finally give up I told her it was for our daughter but truth was, whether she likes it or not, I gave up for her as much as I gave up for anyone.
As an ex-smoker I probably have a lot of stories related to smoke, some would be funny, some would be stupid and some would just be boring. However one that really stands out is when my cousin and I went on a trip to Queensland when I was 16 and he was 14 (both under the smoking age). Because we went with our grandmother it wasn’t all theme parks, scary rides and and beach trips, we also had to do some ‘old fart’ tours (as we called them).
One particular trip we headed north in a tour bus not only were we the youngest on the bus the closest person to our age was in their 40’s. (The irony of saying that now I’m in my 40’s is not lost). North of the Gold Coast there used to be tobacco farms, security back then wasn’t anywhere near as tight as it needs to be these days but even if it was you can’t stop birds. Along the side of the road in some of these area there are wild tobacco plants growing, not heaps just a few scattered here and there.
So while the oldies where having afternoon tea my cousin and I are off harvesting some road side crops. The weirdest thing is that although our grandmother didn’t condone smoking she didn’t stop us picking the leaves with the intention of taking them home, she even gave us a plastic bag to take our booty back to the hotel.
In the hotel we did try to dry the leaves under the grill on the oven, it didn’t work so rather than waste them major stash of booty we decided to take them home and dry them. Not only did we wrap the large stack of leaves in half a roll of foil, we packed that roll in out carry on luggage.
Now I find it funny (always have) when my parents say things like “in our day” or “back when I was a kid”, but what is even funnier is the thought that 30 odd years ago two minors, under the legal smoking age were not only allowed to carry a decent quantity of tobacco leaves onto a domestic flight, but we were also allowed to carry on a foil wrapped package that took up the most of the space in one carry on bag. How times have changed.
I’ve smoked some weird shit in my time but I still never got to smoke my own harvested tobacco.