Son Proudly Carries On Family's Tradition Of Smoking

Danny Gladstone, much to the delight of his immediate family as well as relatives, has recently decided to continue his family's century-old tradition of cigarette smoking after years of adamant smoke-free self-discipline, he announced last night in a dramatic ceremony that included his father, Mort, symbolically lighting the younger Gladstone's cigarette with the ashes of his own.

"Most fathers dream of this moment, but few can ever...ever...ah hell," Mort blubbered, choking up and embracing his smoldering progeny. "I love you, son."

Gladstone offered an affectionate wheeze, and the ceremony erupted in applause.

Relatives who had not yet heard the news were pleasantly surprised when Gladstone lit up at a birthday party for his six year-old cousin Mikey.

"We all thought he was going to leave the family behind and strike out on his own," said Gladstone's uncle Jim, "but when he took out a [Marlborough] Red and lit up right in the middle of cake and ice cream, we knew that he had finally matured into a man."

Said of her nephew's decision, Gladstone's aunt Mary: "We are so glad to see that he's going to stick close to the tree because you hear horror stories of kids leaving home, trying something new like not smoking, and ending up in the hospital or gutter."

Smoking has been more of a family heirloom than the family cement contracting business, which was created by the first generation of Gladstone males to come from Ireland in 1909. Though the family business burned down in 1990 because of a lit butt thrown in a trash bin, the family continues to find strength commonality through cigarettes.

"It started years ago when Great, Great Grandpa Tyrone first came across the Atlantic, settled in America, and lit up," said Gladstone's proud father Rev. Mort. "I smoke, my daddy before me smoked, and so did his daddy. Now my son, in whom I am well pleased, will be the next in a long line of proud puffers."

Lighting up his fifth consecutive cigarette, the Reverend added, "I hope that someday Danny will be able to share our proud tradition with his son, and with his grandson, and so on and so forth. I sure do hope I'm around long enough to see that."

Gladstone's parents have expressed their criticism of the younger generations for their attitudes towards health-conscious and anti-smoking lifestyles; indeed, Mom and Dad Gladstone as well as many other friends and relatives had been afraid that their offspring would buck tradition and possibly even join recent campaigns to prohibit smoking in public places.

"He went through a rebellious phase," remembered the Reverend, "when he would leave the room in disgust when the air was too thick with smoke to see, go in his room and brood. We were all a little afraid that he might join the blasted crusade to make smoking illegal, and make pariahs out of all of us, but he's come around and we just want him to know that we're all happy for him and willing to offer support wherever we can."

The Gladstone family at large – aunts, uncles, cousins, grandparents – have all offered help and support to the burgeoning smoker as he takes part in his family's proud institution. Upon his decision, Gladstone says he received cartons of cigarettes, ashtrays and his Grandfather's old lighter "to let him know that he's not alone in his journey," says Grandma Bernadette, the eldest Gladstone at 71 years old.

"If only Grandma Roman hadn't died [of emphysema on his 65th birthday]," lamented the proud matriarch, who spoke through a tracheal-esophageal device, "he would be so happy to see that his legacy is living on long after him. I would jump for joy if I weren't so weak from my chemo therapy."

Grandma added that she believes that "Grandpa is smiling down upon us from heaven, brown teeth and all." She smiled and said wistfully, "Whenever it's a cloudy day, I just know that that's him up there, puffing away and watching over us."

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