It’s been quite awhile since the days my wife and I were dancing. There were dance halls when I was much younger.

Up until a few years ago, we would go dancing a lot, always in bars that had a dance floor and would provide good music. Inevitably, we would encounter cigarette smoke in these bars. The smoke was so thick your eyes would be smarting, it was so bad you would wear it home with you.

My wife wasn’t a bike rider as I was. We both liked to dance a lot, though. There were a few local places we would go regularly. The most popular one was the Sportsman’s Lodge on Plum Island Turnpike, where they had a nice dance band on weekends.

Walter Jackson was on the saxophone, Celia Dickie was on the piano, Les Harris was on the drums. They were all terrific musicians. The dance floor was a terrific wooden floor.

Each week, we would go there and meet many people we knew, there was always a good crowd. When we were there, we didn’t notice the cigarette smoking too bad.

The Clover Club in Salisbury was quite different. You could always count on having a good band to dance to there.

We would have to sit at the bar in order to dance. Of course, people enjoyed smoking as they drank, so that got to be awfully bothersome. The cigarette smoke would get so thick, it would bother your eyes.

Another good place in Salisbury at the time was Marty-L’s. There, they played mostly country and western music. But again, the smoke in there was really heavy and because of that, we stopped going.

It wasn’t long after that my wife was unable to dance and that ended our good times dancing, but we also escaped all that cigarette smoke.

Since the law has passed to ban smoking in public, we haven’t been out dancing to see the difference. I don’t know how it would be today.

Thanks to the health authorities, they have passed legislation to stop smoking in those places. I am sure pleased we can go into a restaurant without breathing in smoke. With this coronavirus pandemic, we can’t go anyway.

I feel sorry for cigarette smokers. I probably would have been one if I hadn’t wanted to be a football player.

I never really got into the habit of smoking and the little I did do, it never agreed with me. Any time that I tried to smoke a cigarette, it would take my energy away, so I never was a smoker.

People get addicted to cigarettes just like drugs and alcohol. We as nonsmokers don’t really understand them. Many of them would like to quit but they just can’t do it.

I am very grateful for the ban that has put an end to public smoking. When things get back to normal, our buildings will be smoke free.

Just breathe that nice clean air through your nostrils and be thankful.

Bob “Boots” Chouinard lives in Salisbury. 

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