As Saturday gave way to Sunday, smokers
enjoyed their last gasp inside bars and bingo parlors across the city.
A ban approved overwhelmingly by voters earlier this year will send
them outdoors the next time they get a nicotine fit while knocking back
Midway through the evening at the Bradley
House, a bugler played taps while Bradley walked solemnly to the door,
an American flag cradled in one arm.
She tore down the sign that had been posted
ever since the city’s restaurants went smoke-free in 2001, the sign
saying the Bradley House is a smoking establishment — something it
could do because it’s designated as a bar, not a restaurant, even
though it’s actually both.
Now a souvenir, the sign made the rounds at
the bar as customers signed it. “June 30, 2007,” one of them wrote. “In
memory of our lost rights.”
Later, people gathered outside near a new
cedar building decorated with a big red ribbon. They applauded as
Bradley cut the ribbon and opened the door, revealing a room where
smokers can take shelter when it’s cold and wet.
“After today you’re gonna have to go out to a shack?” a nonsmoker asked Cassidy.
“Yep,” she said.
“I’ll come visit you there,” he said.
Back inside the bar, Cheryl Contreras, caught up in the spirit of things, borrowed a Marlboro Light from a friend.
“This is my first cigarette in, like, 30 years,” she said. “They put this ban in and made me smoke again. How healthy is that?”
Contreras voted against the ban even though
she quit smoking when she was 24. Her friend Joelle Donovan would have
voted against it too, except she’s Canadian.
“That’s why I’m becoming an American,” Donovan said. “I want a voice. Laws like this scare me.”
“Laws like this scare me.” That pretty much covers it… It would scare any rational person.