By the time you read this, it’ll be too late to reliably order anything online to get to you for whichever holiday you choose. I’m sure you’ve heard of Christmas in July (I still have no idea what that means), but if one absurdity deserves another, let’s have a July in Christmas. If one thing the holidays can lack at times is understanding. Kindness and giving have been on forced overdrive for most people since Halloween, even if some pious guilt lead them there. If there’s one thing I’ve learned about holidays is they’re pretty terrible for some people. It’s a chaotic month before a holiday specifically for kids, families and of course a heavy dose of religious dogma. Most people just buy love, and the gift card industry knows this. If you’re alone or troubled for whatever reason at all, it sucks. Cheer isn’t on everyone’s mind. Even if you’re kind enough to take a lonely soul into your home to share the love, understand it’s a way for some to get through the event more than anything. Let them do their thing if they seem a tad detached.
Welcome to The Pipes Magazine Radio Show Episode 378! Our featured interview tonight is with pipe maker and repairman Mark Domingues from Lone Star Briar Works. He learned pipe restoration out of necessity, buying estate pipes on eBay. After he honed his skills, and posted his before and after photos online, people just started sending their pipes to him for restoration. In the Pipe Parts segment, Brian will have a review of Robert McConnell Red Virginia. Sit back, relax with your pipe, and enjoy The Pipes Magazine Radio Show!
I had a chance to sit down with Chris Gawith and chat to him about his two brands, Samuel Gawith and Gawith and Hoggarth. It was an audio interview, so I have transcribed it as such.
Are you thinking about dropping one of the brands?
No, not at all. They are all made under the same roof; when Sam Gawith came over to us we bought the men, machinery, and the brands, basically everything just sort of moved, more or less all of them stayed, maybe one or two decided to move on. It has been run up to now as just their company under our roof, which works to a point. But now we’ve discovered what the demand is, but the two brands will remain as they are.
The problem with leaving it just at that stage which we are trying to address. You can’t operate as a business with two teams of people; we need to manage the equipment and the human resources to deliver what pipe smokers want us to deliver. Gawith Hoggarth can produce tobacco a lot quicker; it’s just the nature of how the tobacco is made at Samuel Gawith.
Let’s call this a Christmas story, cut in half.
There are significant influences in our lives other than pipes and tobaccos, as you know.
I don’t believe I just wrote that.
You can probably think of many others who have inspired and motivated you during this time of giving and remembering those who have meant so much to you over the long march of time.
I’m grateful for those who have made Christmas so exceptional—a close friend who gifted a Christmas pipe and a seasonal blend of tobacco; a particular handmade Christmas tree ornament; squeals of a child’s expressions of joy ripping open finely wrapped presents; a buddy who calls and tells you he is thinking of you; the music of Christmas; and finally, smoking that beautiful gift pipe and tobacco.
A Christmas pipe is like no other in your expanding collection. It has a special place in your pipe rack, and each time you see it shining there, it reminds you of the friend who gave it, and all the good times there have been.
And now, on to the other half of a Christmas narrative.
Last May I attended the Chicago Pipe Show, and the first person I saw was an Englishman named Reggie Stevens. Reg lives in Birmingham, England and speaks with the accent of someone who has lived in the north of England his whole life. He sounds a little like Ringo Starr.
“Reg!” I said, “It’s so good to see you!” as I gave him a big bear hug.
“Well, I’ll tell you, mate,” he said, “I’m feeling a little better now. My wife of 54 years died in January, and this is the first time I can feel the cloud lifting a little – because of all the love and friendship there is at this pipe show.”