Quitting Cold Turkey

LV Steinhoff pipes 09-23-2015Buried back in a corner of the attic was a pipe stand and a bunch of Dad’s pipes. They hadn’t been used since one New Year’s Eve when he pitched all his cigarettes in the fireplace and quit smoking cold turkey.

I was a little late coming home from my date with Shari Stiver that night, and the next morning he gave me an uncharacteristic chewing-out. I mean, I wasn’t THAT late, so I was surprised.

A lack of smoke in the air

LV Steinhoff smokes at kitchen table March 1961Over the next couple of weeks, we noticed he was sucking on a lot of hard candies and was crankier than usual, but we didn’t notice the lack of smoke in the air.

Finally, he told us what he had done. “I didn’t want to say anything until I was sure I could do it,” he said.

Most of the pictures we have of him showed him with a cigarette in hand. It wasn’t unusual for him to be puffing on one, have one smouldering in the ashtray and be reaching for a fresh one to light.

He said it was fairly easy for him to quit because “I had become disgusted with myself: the way my clothes smelled, the way I had burned holes in everything… I no longer LIKED to smoke.”

It sure made shopping for him a lot harder when Christmas and his birthday rolled around. We bought him a lot of smoking paraphernalia like those pipes and stand over the years.

Resolutions and Sunrises

Terri - Roy Murdoch NYE illustration1966-12-31 11This illustration I did for The Southeast Missourian in 1966 shows how Wife Lila and I usually welcome in the New Year.

Follow this link to see more photos of Terri and Roy Murdoch, children of Mr. and Mrs. Charles Murdoch, and to read about their dad.

I’m not sure I ever heard Chuck Murdoch called “Charles.” He was just “Chuck,” one of my favorite sports editors. He didn’t take himself or his job too seriously, but he loved covering kid sports and did everything he could to get as many names in the paper as he could.

When did you quit smoking?

TV screen Athens 02-09-1069I recall the year that Dad quit smoking cold turkey on New Year’s Eve. We all noticed that he had gotten crankier than usual, but he didn’t tell us for a couple of weeks that he had tossed all his cigarettes in the fireplace at the stroke of midnight. He didn’t want to say anything until he was sure he could do it.

I’ve been binge-watching the TV series Mad Men, which is about an advertising agency in New York in the 1960s. I thought I was going to choke to death during the first few episodes because there wasn’t a scene that didn’t have people filling the air with smoke. When I thought back on it, that’s just the way it was in those days, particularly in the newsroom.

(The photo department became non-smoking as soon as I became director of photography. I claimed it was for technical and safety reasons, but the truth was that I hated smelling the smoke.)

Plenty of readers shared their smoking experiences.

Sunrise on the beach

New Year's Day sunrise on Lake Worth FL beach 1-1-2011In a moment of insanity on the first day of 2011, I consented to go to the Lake Worth beach to watch the sun come up. Now, don’t get me wrong. I HAVE seen the sun come up before, but it’s almost always been because I stayed up all night the night before.

Anyway, it was a beautiful dawn and I don’t regret going.


Click on the link so you can see how nice it was (and keep from having to go yourself).

Start the year off right

While you are making your New Year’s resolutions, make a note that you will click on the big red Click Here button at the top of the Buy From Amazon.com to Support Ken Steinhoffpage (or right here) whenever you order something from Amazon.

I get a tiny percentage of the price, and it doesn’t cost you a penny.

How about that? Here’s a resolution that doesn’t cause you to sweat, doesn’t cost you any money and doesn’t change your eating or drinking habits. You can’t beat that with a stick.