Pipes Running Amok!

Pipes Running Amok!

Pundit is a pipe smoker who never sleeps. No, that’s not right. Pundit is a pipe smoker who is always thinking about pipes and tobacco. Even in his sleep. Well, that’s close enough.

It’s May. Blooming flowers, weeds, trees, and grass, have taken over the yard, and pollen scatters and sprays like rain. We asked for spring, and we got it in barrels.

But this is also a time when thoughts turn to new pipes and new tobacco blends. It’s like that runaway elephant when it freed itself recently from a circus show in Butte, Mont.

The Pundit herd rules, but it is too large, despite thoughts and urges for more pipes and more tobacco.

What to do? If you are like Pundit, you eat, sleep(less), and think pipes and tobacco blends. Right now, everywhere, all pipes, all the time. Call it pollen-crazed mind.

And just so you know, Pundit has already set aside a stash for new pipes. We’ll just let the herd run amok. It’s the Butte syndrome.

Now that we’ve settled the weather and runaway elephants issue, it’s time for a couple of Pipe Lessons from the Past:

Do take your pipe when you go fishing, say. Your pipe pal tends to calm the nerves when the big one takes the bait, doncha know. I once hooked a large brown trout while fly fishing a pristine Missouri trout stream. Its waters glimmered in the early morning dawn and trout were rising to a variety of emerging bugs.

Mouth open, pipe drops to the bottom of said stream and heads out toward somewhere in Missouri with the rest of the brown trout. Leaning over to quickly grab the disappearing pipe, my brand new German-produced Puma trout knife drops from the leather sheath dangling from a leather strap around my neck.

Don’t become wildly flailing with excitement when you hook the big one and lose a pipe and knife worth more than said fish, hand-tied trout fly, line, and rod and reel! Patience, as in pipe smoking, pays off.

Do keep your precious pipes clean with regular pipe cleaners and solutions. I used soft and bristly cleaners with alcohol (50 percent isopropyl). In some cases, it took stronger stuff, grain alcohol, or even special pipe sweetener found at pipe and tobacco brick and mortar shops and online.

Uh, I hope it doesn’t need to be said that you don’t drink grain alcohol. A dab on a bristly pipe cleaner will do.

Do not ream out the inside of the bowl with that hard-won cake buildup with a pocket knife. Pundit ruined a beautiful Peterson with a pocketknife, ala Jack the Ripper. You can find great tools for that job.

In fact, for newbies and veterans alike, check out the Smokingpipes.com “How to Clean a Pipe.” It is a Master Class on the proper way to clean a pipe, inside and out.

Do store your treasures in pipe racks. It keeps them safe and out of harm’s way. Refrain from tossing pipes into an old shoe box or drawer. That’s the heartless approach.

Do not try to move your pipe racks if fully loaded with pipes. Invariably you will come down with a case of the jitters, like yours truly.

Pipes will rock and roll like Elvis and invariably one or two will hit the floor. I broke the stem of a one-of-a-kind Pete, and the tenon out of a wonderfully carved Danish. Mind you, this was in one big rattle-and-roll.

And one more final painful lesson learned from the past: If you drop a beloved meerschaum on the floor, it being composed of ancient sea critters and sea shells, will shatter into a thousand and one shards.

One of my treasured meers hit the floor and scattered like so much white dust across the floor.

Pipes are my BFFs. I have learned over time they deserve attention and TLC.

Ok, time for a note or two from Pipe Smokers of the Past :

One fellow who was rarely seen without his pipe is Harold Wilson, two-time former United Kingdom Prime Minister. He ran the political show from  Oct. 1964 to June 1970, and again from March 1974 to April 1976.

Wilson was born March 11, 1916, in Huddersfield, West Riding, Yorkshire, and died May 24, 1955, in London.

He was looked upon, politically speaking, as the people’s Prime Minister who smoked a pipe and was down-to-earth, just a regular guy.

I’m an optimist, but an optimist who carries a raincoat—Harold Wilson

And one from America’s tinsel town, Glenn Ford, a longtime actor not only famous for his roles but also for his pipe smoking. He loved Dunhill pipes, naturally.

Glenn Ford, Gwyllyn Samuel Newton “Glenn” Ford, was born May 1, 1916, in Sainte-Christine-d’Auvergne, Quebec, and died Aug. 30, 2006, in Beverly Hills, Calif.

Ford’s movie and television career began in 1937 and lasted until 1991. He won a Golden Globe Award as Best Actor for his performance in Pocketful of Miracles in 1961.

If they try to rush me, I always say, I’ve only got one other speed and it’s slower—Glenn Ford

And a Pundit parting thought: Pipes and books are two good friends to have.

Here are some new, unsmoked, members of the Pundit pipe herd. More on the way. Let's call it the Butte Syndrome! Photo: Fred Brown
Here are some new, unsmoked, members of the Pundit pipe herd. More on the way. Let’s call it the Butte Syndrome! Photo: Fred Brown

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