Memories of My Father

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lightmybriar

Preferred Member
Mar 11, 2014
635
27
My pipe lineage begins with my father.

It was his love of Sherlock Holmes (and his desire to charismatically present a facet of himself as a cultured gentleman) that led him into the world of briar and leaf. Not giving himself fully over to the activity as many of us have, the pinnacle of a smoking session for him involved a Dr. Grabow and a packet of drugstore cherry.
I remember once going on a hike with him through the woods hunting for arrowheads. I was no older than nine, and after enough begging, he allowed me one puff while we waded through a creek.
"Just don't tell your mom," he warned me, as I clumsily tried to draw from the stem, feeling like the coolest kid in the world.
Years went by, and unless you count an awful and awkward attempt at trying to manipulate some sort of pleasure out of a Medico Lancer and a pouch of Borkum Riff (with no understanding of tamping), I didn't find my way to enjoying smoking until well after my father had died. I never got to share a smoke with him, but many times now while I'm smoking, I will think back on all my adventures with and because of him. What follows is one particular story that always makes me laugh. Maybe you'll enjoy it as well.
"My Dad is James Bond"

(Meeting George Martin)
In 2001, my band (comprised of my two younger brothers, myself, and our best friend) and my father (our manager) went to England twice for music related projects. Once in April, and another time in October. Our drummer was 16, I was 15, and my two brothers were 13 and 11.
Being typical Beatles fans, we had to go around and see all of the places that were made legendary by the group.
At the same time, we were also looking for ways to forward the band along the way to a record deal. Dad was a conman extraordinaire. He was charismatic and good-looking and had read too many "How to get why you want" style books. If he couldn't convince someone to give him what he wanted, he was brave enough (or, more accurately, "daringly rude and stupid with a high rate of success") to barge his way through no matter how embarrassing or illogical.
We went to see Abbey Road Studios. It was very cool. We couldn't get in, so we had to peek through the door.
We saw the famous crosswalk. We saw the street where Paul McCartney has a house. We did all that stuff.
Being in the hunt for a record deal, Dad thought who better to produce us than Sir George Martin. He had sent him a demo disc and a letter a while before, but we were kindly turned down.
Now, though, we were in the same city as Sir George. Air Studios, where he did his work, was just a taxi ride away. Dad decided we ought to just show up and see if we could talk to George in person.
Obviously this was a stupid idea, as if it were really that easy, wouldn't every Beatles-inspired band in the world be lined up for miles every day of the year outside the door? Dad decided we were going to take a press kit and just show up and ask to speak with him. He did this a lot, and usually we were very embarrassed to be with him when he was conning his way into something, but since we were equally as excited to think about working with George Martin, this time I felt no shame.
We pulled up on the street in front of Air Studios. Dad was using a metal gear case that he had had from the 80s as a briefcase at the time (we still use it to carry strings, harmonicas, and tools to gigs to this day). We sat in the cab and looked toward the studio, and there is an automated security gate that keeps cars from entering. We watched as a car just finished slowly driving through. Dad looks at us and goes, "Run!"
He bolts towards the gate as it is closing. It's made of thick metal bars. I was hesitant because my embarrassment kicked in as I watched Dad run through and wave his arms to us. This was trespassing.
The gate was closing though, and everyone was making it through. As the gate got close to fully shutting, Dad, like a scene out of a James Bond movie, slides the metal case between the wall and the gate, and it stops so that the rest of us can get through.
"All right guys, just be cool."
If I remember correctly, he left his sunglasses on when we walked in. Typical Dad confidence tactic.
The secretary at the counter looks over at the group of us shocked, with a face of "What the heck?"
Dad walks up and very calmly and flirty says, "Hi! My name is Steve. These are my boys, and we're from Ohio. We're here to see Sir George."
With a puzzling look, she responds, "Oh, well he'll be in and out of meetings all day, so I'm afraid you'll have to try again another time."
Right before she could finish the sentence, Dad looks to his left, and George Martin is rounding the corner. Dad cuts her off, completely ignoring her and walking away as he calls out, "Sir George!"
George Martin, looking confused, stops as Dad approaches him, and Dad puts his hand out to shake. Dad introduces us and tells him we're a band etc. etc., and hands him a press kit and CD. George Martin was kind enough to pause for a few photographs and very politely said, "Alright boys, well it's been nice meeting you. I'm afraid I have to get back to work now."
We were kindly and firmly asked to leave and were escorted to the door.
So, that's how we met George Martin. It was thrilling even though it lasted probably no more than a few minutes.
This story, to me, is not special so much because we got to meet George Martin. The main thing I remember about this story is the idiotic confidence of Dad. It could be so embarrassing, but it did have its results sometimes. This was one of those times.
So tonight, I'll put some nasty, over-humectated, soppy cherry burley from a can into one of my cheap pipes, and think about which tobacco my Dad would like if he ever got a chance to try some of the stuff I treasure from my cellar...
....and then, I'll put that cheap pipe down, grab a Dunhill, and light up some McClelland 40th. I think he'd understand. :puffpipe:

 

ashdigger

Preferred Member
Jul 30, 2016
5,265
11
Excellent.
I have a half sleeve tattoo and many memories of my late father.
We need the memories of the great people in our lives, because we come across enough shitty people.

 

lightmybriar

Preferred Member
Mar 11, 2014
635
27
Glad you enjoyed it, guys. It was actually reading of the passing of anthonyrosenthal74's father (sincerest condolences, of course!) that got me doing some reminiscing. My dad was far from perfect, but he was, for the most part, everything I needed when I needed it.

 

jpmcwjr

Preferred Member
May 12, 2015
13,482
59
Monterey Peninsula
Thanks for sharing that. I smoked a bowl yesterday in salute to a fellow's dad who just died, and that, and your post, brought back memories of my own Pa.

 

josephcross

Preferred Member
Dec 30, 2015
945
2
Sorry to hear about your father Anthony, hope you and your family are doing alright in spite of his passing.

 

brightleaf

Preferred Member
Sep 4, 2017
555
0
"He did this a lot, and usually we were very embarrassed to be with him when he was conning his way into something, but since we were equally as excited to think about working with George Martin, this time I felt no shame."

Sounds like you had an adventurous childhood. Embarrassing parents can be a mixed blessing but are never boring. I am glad you can appreciate the cherry burley in a cheap pipe, next time I have some I'll be sure to sport my shades and James Bond mannerisms.

 

menuhin

Preferred Member
Oct 21, 2014
642
0
I enjoyed reading it, thanks for sharing the story of your dad with us.

Hope you can enjoy all your pipes and tobaccos. :puffpipe:

 

lightmybriar

Preferred Member
Mar 11, 2014
635
27
Thanks, all. I had quite an interesting childhood that has only continued on into my adulthood haha. Good memories, like good tobacco, are most enjoyable when shared with others. :)

 

mikethompson

Preferred Member
Jun 26, 2016
3,956
71
Very cool story, and as a father myself,
If I remember correctly, he left his sunglasses on when we walked in. Typical Dad confidence tactic
resonates with me, and is something I can imagine one of my kids saying one day

 

lightmybriar

Preferred Member
Mar 11, 2014
635
27
The band has had a few different names (we could never settle on one we liked haha) but it has mostly worked under the name "Backbeat." There are lots of YouTube videos up, but they are mostly of us playing covers in local bars, as that is what we've been up to lately.
https://youtu.be/85YLg7dv_2M
https://youtu.be/VD6aZrNTOsU
https://youtu.be/eD24JntcG4I