Q: When should I arrive? Come whenever you wish, and stay as long as you like. I'll be here, enjoying the evening out back from 6:30 until at least 11:30, or until the last friend departs.
Q: What should I bring? We have good Scotch, beer, wine, soft drinks, food, cigars (and plenty of fresh air), and even a spare pipe or two. You needn't bring anything, but if you wish, feel free to bring a few beers, a bottle of wine, a bag of chips, pico, salsa or some other simple appetizer, cigars, etc. The spa and pool are generally ready and available, too, so bring a swimsuit if you wish. (Few do, but some have, especially on a really hot night.)
Q: What if it's cold, rainy, or hot & muggy? We stay comfortable. The patio where we meet is covered and enclosed, well ventilated with over a dozen fans, protected from wind & rain, and heated or cooled as necessary. In case of blizzard, hurricane, tornado, etc., there's plenty of room in the house.
Q: What's a Holy Smoker ?
n. An informal social gathering, not necessarily for men only (women are welcome and often attend Holy Smokers), but promoting social activities typically associated with men-only parties, such as cigar and pipe smoking, beer drinking, vigorous debate and discussion, back-slapping, hooting, hollering, brawling, etc. (No brawling yet. )
Ho-ly Smok-er (Hō′lē Smō′kər) n. A periodic gathering on the back patio of my house in Northeast Dallas, inspired by and loosely modeled after a weekly gathering that I enjoyed for many years in Austin.
Q: Why do you call it a Holy Smoker? (1) I started these events primarily because of the model, inspiration, and encouragement that I received from various Presbyterian church friends in Dallas and Austin, and (2) I like the play on words.
Q: What's the point? Our goals are (1) to relax and enjoy a pleasant evening with good company, and (2) to encourage and edify each other via good, honest, hearty, engaging discussion.
Q: Discussion? Of what? Oh, I don't know. Nothing in particular. Whatever seems worthwhile, interesting, and fitting -- big ideas, great books, philosophy, film, theology, music, ethics, life ...
Q: Philosophy? Theology? Beer? Cigars? Well, maybe this isn't for me! Be not discouraged! It's ok if you don't know
Padron. You're not required to read, say, drink, or smoke anything. In fact, we welcome you even if you're an illiterate, nonsmoking teetotaler, as long as you don't mind that most of us DO enjoy such things. (Actually, I was a nonsmoking teetotaler most of my life, but eventually I repented.)
Q: I hate smoke! Please let me at least try to alleviate your concern: (1) Smoking is always optional at our "smokers." Sometimes nobody smokes, and usually no more than 2 or 3 do. (2) Those who smoke usually don't start until 8:30 or later, so if you come relatively early in the evening, you should be able to enjoy a good smokeless hour or two, at least. (3) We meet outside, so smoke (if any) never accumulates. (4) One way or another, we'll try to accommodate, if nothing else, by offering you upwind seating. And (5) Always remember: Smoking is actually good for you.
Q: Do women attend? Yes! We tend to draw mostly men, and we enjoy stuff typically associated with men-only parties, but women are welcome and do regularly attend.
Q: How many attend? About 300 folks have attended from time to time (including more than 60 women). On particular nights, we've had as many as 24 (once) and as few as 1 (twice). In recent months, we've had 4 to 16, with an average of 10. If you're a techno-geek like me, you may appreciate this graphical analysis:
Holy Smoker Attendance Distribution
min=1 median=5 mean=5.6 max=24 std.dev=2.7
min=4 median=10 mean=9.8 max=16 std.dev=2.3