Small cheer and great welcome makes a merry feast—William Shakespeare
Ahhh, yes, the hurly-burly holidays have fallen upon us with a vengeance. In this supply-chain-choke-hold-chaos of Thanksgiving and Christmas flapdoodle, it appears this holiday season will be a challenge to please kids into howls of delight, as well as surprise crotchety pipe smokers.
Well, why is that you might ask?
Good question. See, if you have been keeping up, gargantuan container ships are bobbing offshore somewhere in distant waters—that is unless their layer-cake cargoes are not tumbling seaward into storm-tossed oceans.
As we all know, pipe smokers are notoriously picky about pipes and tobacco. Hard to shop for and would rather have the money to do their own pipe purchasing.
I speak from experience. Nothing like getting a second-rate pipe with dried-out burley tobacco leaf that blazes, singing the mustache, and charring an untamed bowl.
My, how I do digress. Let’s get reasonable, shall we?
There are few things more rewarding than sharing Thanksgiving dinner at home with family gathered around a well-stocked/stuffed turkey and fixings (yes, it’s dinner time in “Sothron” speak. Dinner is noon meal and supper is the evening spread, for those who are uneducated in Sothron).
Recall the nostalgia of pipe-smoking artist Norman Rockwell’s painting of Turkey Day feast with loved ones.
And, of course, Christmas is not Christmas without the high-decibel squeals of youngsters being amazed and thrilled with opening presents.
This year Christmas in a time of Covid could be quite different and even difficult. Shelves are emptying and even many preferred pipes are flying off online shelves quicker, mayhaps, than usual.
But the ever-lightning-fast-thinking Pundit has shopped ahead. A couple or three purchases ago have taken care of Christmas delights for Pundit, ahem, and his pipe-smoking pals.
See, the Pundit was once a Boy Scout. He’s usually, but not always, prepared for most of life’s curveballs.
So, holidays handled, it’s on to other pressing matters.
One of my favorite old-time actors was Edward G. Robinson, born Dec. 12, 1893. He was just so solid a performer. You got the notion that he was the character he portrayed on film—tough guy or good guy, he performed no matter the role.
And just the mention of EGR this time of year brings to mind his timeless personal blend.
The Edgar G. Robinson blend is as solid as his performances on the silver screen.
His tobacco, proudly known as “Edward G. Robinson’s Pipe Blend” began production around 1946-47 once life began returning to something near normal in America after World War II.
Robinson, who loved his pipes and built a nicely diverse collection, developed his blend with Greenfield and Winther, a San Francisco manufacturing company, at the outset.
Sutliff Tobacco Company purchased the blend in the late 1960s and began producing the famous brand, which, according to Jiminks on Tobacco Reviews.com has never been out of production.
Jim Amash, or Jiminks as we know him, highly regarded and award-winning cartoonist, and pipe tobacco reviewer extraordinaire, is largely responsible for the EGR blend’s longevity.
A few years back, the blend was on the verge of disappearing, but Jim prodded and pushed his pipe-smoking pals (Pundit included) to encourage Sutliff to continue its production. (see the PipesMagazine forum discussion of the Edgar G. Robinson blend (it’s original name until changed to its current iteration by Sutliff) on PipesMagazine.com
And, while you are perusing history, as it were, take a look at the very fine piece on Jim at Smokingpipes.com
And, PipesMagazine.com has a great Radio Show, No. 95, when Jim discusses the Edgar G. Robinson blend, just in case you missed it.
And now some Pundit thoughts of the holidays:
Although gathering around the festive family dinner table for turkey, ham, all the sides and desserts, and the kids running like rabbits everywhere, is a fun time, it can be stressful.
What better way to relieve the noise and chatter than to step outside, maybe find a nice creaky wooden rocking chair, and light up your favorite pipe and tobacco blend.
I have found that a wee bit of downtime with my pipe and tobacco at the family gatherings always, always, counteracts the built-up pressures of the year that have just disappeared into the rearview.
No doubt that this has been a difficult year for many. What with the presence of Covid19 hovering over everything, rising costs, supply chains snapping like cheap links, fires, floods, and willy-nilly storms, it has been anything but easy.
So, take a deep breath. Write a few Christmas cards (yes, that’s old-school, but a rewarding experience in the current challenge of what is happening today).
Pundit loves this time of year, actually, despite its pressure cooker tensions and demands. Take time to look around at the happiness and find that joyful spot on the front porch, or in your easy chair.
Listen to the rapture and record the sounds in your heart. They will linger forever.
Some favored tobacco blends and new pipes from left: L.J. Peretti 150th Anniversary Virginia Flake blend; new pipes L-R: Peterson XL02 Rua Fishtail (red fox) in a crimson-and-black contrast-stained sandblast and the Peterson Halloween 2021 System Pipe B42 P-Lip with its acrylic red and black stem and black sandblast; two Claudio Cavicchis, L-R, Lovat brown sandblast and CCC Canadian; two tobacco cans, Cornell & Diehl’s Autumn Evening and Sutliff Tobacco Co.’s Edward G. Robinson’s Pipe Blend. Photo by Fred BrownThanks to all pipe smokers for a great year, for which I am very thankful.
Here’s wishing everyone a Happy Christmas with family and friends.
And now closing quotes from some of our finest authors on Christmas:
I will honor Christmas in my heart, and try to keep it all the year—Charles Dickens
Sir Winston Churchill, one of the best wordsmiths in any setting pegged Christmas:
Christmas is a season not only of rejoicing but of reflection.
And what would be Christmas without a Henry David Thoreau thought on the special holiday:
The way you spend Christmas is far more important than how much.
From the ol’ Pundit to all pipe smokers out there, here’s for a heartening, reflective and restful holiday.
And, of course, a better year than the dreadful difficulties we just ran around and through.
From the Pundit: Puff peacefully, and placidly. Think of others and keep that infectious ray of hope in your every day.