When I was about ten, I was visiting my grandmother.

She had an acquaintance visit and we went for a walk down to a pine grove. We sat in the grove and I listened, because my grandmother had that controlled expression on her face. Watch out. Things always got interesting when she looked like that.

The acquaintance was a woman, my mother's age or a little older. She was gushing. "Oh, your house is so beautiful. You are so lucky to be married to Dr. B. and he is a physician and a university professor. He is so well respected. And you are always so elegant."

My grandmother opened her purse. She took out a cigarette and slowly put it in her mouth. She lit it and blew smoke gently at the acquaintance.

A look of horrified disappointment crossed the woman's features. "Oh, Mrs. B, I didn't know that you smoked!"

My grandmother looked at me for just a moment. I didn't say a word. "Yes. I smoke."

We went back to the house and the acquaintance left fairly soon.

I was in awe of my grandmother once again. I had never seen her smoke ever. So... did she always carry a cigarette to blow smoke at fools? Or did she have a pack of cigarettes somewhere and put one in her purse just for this occasion?

I never asked her and it's too late now.

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