Happy Pipe, Happy Life

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Happy Pipe, Happy Life

Walking about a rock-strewn riverbank, flyrod in hand and pipe clenched firmly, it came time to just sit and observe life around me. It was a misty morning, coolish, water rushing on its destination to, where? Maybe the Gulf of Mexico, or to join one of Tennessee’s great river chains.

A pensive moment among the hoary rivers. Moss-covered rocks, patched in green rugs and teeming with unknown squiggly activity, caught my eye.

As did a blue heron (Ardea Herodias). The given avian sex, male or female, escaped me as I watched this great fisherman bend its lean neck and long dagger-shaped pointed beak close to the water’s surface.

Faster than the eye could follow, the heron stabbed a small fish, leaving me in wonder about what else swam below the rushing mountain stream.

Memories of past fly-fishing adventures flooded over me as I smoked my pipe.

The peaceful process of pipe smoking presents a more thoughtful approach to life, methinks. The entire script of packing, lighting, puffing, tamping, and relighting, adds to (with many remorseful apologies to Mr. E=MC2) a more thoughtful approach to our existence on this beautiful blue orb floating in the black vacuum of time.

Albert Einstein’s theories of relativity (and, yes, he smoked a pipe tobacco blend named Revelation, shadowing the name of his theories), and quantum mechanics are the basics today for modern physics (Pundit was once overcome with trying to parse physics in  Dr. Neill G. Whitelaw’s Physics 101 class).

The spring 1960 issue of Presbyterian College Magazine has one of the best quotes about Dr. Whitelaw that sticks with the Pundit to this day:

“Ask any Presbyterian College graduate of the past quarter-century to name PC’s toughest taskmaster, and his likely reply will be Dr. Neill G. Whitelaw.”

Ah, yes. And to add to Dr. Whitelaw’s luster in the Pundit’s memory is that his classroom was his laboratory. Across the top of the spacious room was a shelf, lined with empty tobacco cans: Half and Half, Granger, Prince Albert, Bond Street, Velvet, Tuxedo, Dial, Four Roses, Dunhill’s Baby’s Bottom, St. Bruno, Carter Hall, and, of course, Revelation.

These are just a few names locked away in the Pundit’s memory of those days long ago lost in Physics 101, attempting to understand not only Dr. Whitelaw but also his friend, Albert Einstein!

And Pundit has always admired Mr. E=MC2’s quotes on the subject of pipes and finding the sublime existence surrounding us:

I believe that pipe smoking contributes to a somewhat calm and objective judgment in all human affairs—Albert Einstein, 1950.

A pipe is the fountain of contemplation, the source of pleasure, the companion of the wise; and the man who smokes, thinks like a philosopher, and acts like a Samaritan.

And hopefully, the Pundit isn’t becoming too Kafkaesque here, but over the years, pipes have become a psychological as well as a philosophical buttress for me.

Mayhaps Pundit has been reading a bit too much over the holidays and early weeks of the New Year. Trying to catch up on his education, as it were.

Now, this epistle is no Kafka “Metamorphosis” in which the main character becomes an insect. I have known a mean creature or two across the decades. But I have yet to confront a two-legged insect, except on one or two occasions on lands far, far away.

Ahem, and where is this taking us today? The simple answer is this is to get us off and running for a spanking new season of pipes and tobacco.

And as we all know, our pipes and tobacco blends are both a bit psychological and philosophical, if only in a very basic sense.

I’m positive you possess a pipe or three you consider indispensable to your well-being mentally. I do. Pundit has a rather large galley of best briar friends.

This, after years of smoking my beloved pipes, brings me to the question of just how this all happens. What is the precise connection?

In the beginning, the pipe can be a bit sour, overpowering for a newcomer to the leaf. Then after break-in and conversations with veteran pipe smokers, the vision and some fresh understanding beam up to the frontal lobe.

It takes time for the new pipe smoker to find just the right pipe and a go-to blend of the precious leaf. Revelation, by the by, is a recommendation for rookies of the leaf! Not too strong, not too sweet. Just right.

That’s the fun part for the frontal lobe, don’tcha see. Reasoning, creativity, and a host of other executive functions filter through that part of the brain. Providing you were blessed with a big brain. Just sayin.’

Ok, class, this part of the lecture is complete. A pop quiz comes at the end of this session.

And just to prove the Pundit walks the walk and talks the talk (people who know me well say it’s yakity-yak all the time), new pipe orders and tobacco are on their way to the herd and closet.

Make no mistake, the Revelation Match is among the orders.

And just in case you are interested PipesMagazine.com had an interesting discussion in its forums section a couple of years ago on Revelation and other long-gone blends.

As for the Pundit, I enjoy Cornell & Dihel’s Epiphany, a match for the old Revelation.

For one of his great in-depth reviews, check out Jiminks on  Epiphany.

And now for our pipe-smoking author and poet of February: British-American poet, W. H. Auden, born in York, England, Feb. 21, 1907, and died Sept. 29, 1973.

Auden was an occasional pipe smoker and won the Pulitzer Prize in 1948.

And from one of his poems these words of wisdom:

The most important truths are likely to be those which society at that time least wants to hear.

Now from the Pundit: Here is to hoping we can enjoy our pipes more in this New Year. Happy pipe, happy life.

Some old friends take center stage at beginning of a new year of pipes and tobacco. From left, an ancient Ashton Brindle, an English made Royal Fallings basket pipe from the 1960s and a Deluxe Peterson System 9S, one of the large bent billiards in the Deluxe System chart. (Photo by Fred Brown)
Some old friends take center stage at beginning of a new year of pipes and tobacco. From left, an ancient Ashton Brindle, an English made Royal Fallings basket pipe from the 1960s and a Deluxe Peterson System 9S, one of the large bent billiards in the Deluxe System chart. (Photo by Fred Brown)

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