Here we are on the cusp of a new year. Like Satchel Paige, I am just a bit fearful these days to look over my shoulder. Something might be gaining on me. With apologies to the great baseball pitcher and Hall of Famer.
Actually, the new year is getting off to a decent start. Now, to all you New Year’s Eve party hounds who whooped it up, I long ago left that part of the New Year to the amateurs, as an old colleague of mine once opined.
We did very well amongst ourselves in various bars and wherever, however.
The Pundit’s idea of a wild and wooly evening these days is trying out a new tobacco blend and watching a movie from the 1940s. At least, I can understand the plot and what’s being said. People seemed to speak a little clearer and slower then. Or it’s just that my hearing has moved to a granny slow gear.
But it is refreshing to wipe the yearly slate clean and start anew, isn’t it? Especially when it comes to pipes and tobacco blends, eh?
Now, let’s just say the Pundit has become very persnickety when it comes to adding to the pipe herd or ordering more tobacco. It has to be something special and a missing link in the herd for it to attract special attention.
Not saying that a beautiful, must-have pipe or blend, won’t make it to the shopping cart, but I’ve decided this is the year that the Pundit will be very precise indeed. No more wild flourishes of just adding a basketful of pipes and tobacco and then later thinking, “What was that all about?”
The reason? After 45-plus years of collecting pipes and tobacco and smoking my beloved pipes, it has come time to reflect on the future of the herd.
Not to worry. Pundit will never give up his pipes voluntarily. And the Pundit tobacco cellar is well-positioned to manage things should the regulatory tobacco apocalypse hit tomorrow, perhaps collapsing the industry as we know it today in one huge wallop!
At last count, the herd was well north of 200 pipes. The cellar is prepared for the worst possible outcomes, barring meteor strikes.
So, it would seem the Pundit is primed for whatever curves the new year might toss out on the tobacco and pipes front.
But who knows what might bubble up in other confusing situations Sapiens insist upon as the world turns.
On a more important note, this month marks the 142nd anniversary of the birth of one of America’s greatest World War II heroes, who also happened to be an iconic pipe smoker.
Gen. Douglas MacArthur was born on Jan. 26, 1880, in Little Rock, Ark. Most of the world recognizes the famous American general as the one who guided the South Pacific war in WWII.
He left the island of Corregidor with his family under orders from President Franklin Delano Roosevelt, but then returned, as he said he would in his famous island farewell “I shall return” promise.
He waded ashore in Oct. 1944, in the Philippines during the Battle of Leyte Gulf.
The general with the iconic long-stemmed corncob pipe had made good on his vow.
Others will recall the general as the military leader who oversaw the Japanese surrender documents aboard the USS Missouri in Tokyo Bay, Sept. 2, 1945.
Probably one of the most famous photos of MacArthur is with his 5 Star General corncob pipe. He was rarely photographed without either holding or clenching that iconic large pipe.
You can find the MacArthur 5-Star Corncob Pipe at Missouri Meerschaum, the legendary company that continues to produce the corncob pipe based upon a design the general sent to the renowned manufacture in Washington, Mo.
That company has been making corn cob pipes since 1869. And if you haven’t fired up a cob, you are missing one of the sweetest smokes you’ll have. The Pundit, of course, owns several, including The 5-Star MacArthur General.
To the Pundit’s way of thinking, that MacArthur is a 5-star smoke!
Now for a couple of Pundit musings: As we contemplate a new season of possibilities, I am hopeful.
Walking with my pipe in winter is a special moment. It seems to connect synergistically: nature to nature.
Now, the Pundit isn’t the best at pontificating, but just being able to smoke my beloved pipes and tobaccos on a frosty winter morning on a brisk walk, seems to be a kind of connection that we all need.
Let’s take a break from all the sad news and reflect on the good. For example, did you add to your pipe collection this past year, but long to see what talented pipe artisans have in store this coming year?
The Pundit is chomping at the bit to see what’s on the horizon not only from pipe makers but also from the wizards of tobacco blending. Their pestle and mortar mixing various leaves of Nicotiana tabacum is such magic.
It’s like having a tobacco apothecary in our midst to take care of our everyday needs in blends and information.
In this time of discontent, the winter of our discontent—apologies to The Bard William Shakespeare and John Steinbeck for popularizing this famous quote—it’s time to look forward to all the goodness that is before us.
Just think of all the new pipes and blends that hover on the horizons. Christmas and the New Year have come and gone. Presents unwrapped and parties are vague memories.
But what is before us is more than what is behind us pipe smokers.
Here’s looking toward a new year, new pipes, and tobacco blends. Here’s to new pipe smoking friends, and to you who keep our hobby so alive and interesting.
Like you, the Pundit is aiming for brighter days and more pipes and tobacco.
And now in parting, a quote from the general that may set the stage for our new seasons of 2022:
“Life is a lively process of becoming”—Douglas MacArthur
Happy New Year, all!