by Tab Moura
My husband is a first-generation American, his family came here from Portugal. Their family gatherings aren’t so different from anyone else’s, but there is such variety in this family- such acceptance. They yell during soccer. They are bilingual. They make Portuguese foods from old family recipes. They tell stories of life before immigrating, and they celebrate every major holiday with food and hours of laughter. I remember the first time I heard about their “smoking section.” Smoking herb, or smoking tobacco, they don’t judge… they make room for it.
I grew up moving around a lot, I never felt like I had much of a “root system” to speak of; I have cousins, but we’ve never been close. I don’t have a favorite sports team, or university. Almost every member of my immediate family has lived in a foreign country for significant lengths of time, so I don’t have deep patriotic roots when I watch the World Cup. Before 2020 our way of life was pretty uncommon… we are nomads, and we were using Video Chat before video chat was cool. When I began dating my husband, I felt as strange to him as he felt to me. He could have been as traditional as they come, it still would have been weird for me. My husband has so many cousins, and his cousins have tons of kids, these family gatherings are big… and yet, everyone is still close.
When I was growing up I believed that all smoking was wrong, especially cannabis, so I wasn’t in favor of accommodating such habits. When I began attending my husband’s family events, there was always a group of cousins who would disappear. I assumed they were sneaking off to drink beer, but then I realized that no one else snuck off to drink beer. They drank it at the table. But I didn’t ask… I had a feeling that if I had to ask where everyone was off to, they probably wouldn’t tell me.
A few years later I joined the medical cannabis community and inadvertently joined the family smoking section. Suddenly I was getting “the nod” and going for walks after dinner. This past Sunday I sat in the shade and shared a few dabs with my brother-in-law, sister-in-law, and a cousin. Yeah. They’re my cousin now, too. It’s funny how sharing moments like these bring such peace. The smoking section is for lightening up… and lighting up.