After writing my introduction entitled Quaker Gone Bad I was contacted by another pipe enthusiast of 35 years from the country of Jordan offering free tobacco to help further my initiation.What followed was amazing! Then there was Smokin’ Grandma!
It is an unusual world we live in, but sometimes we need to be reminded of just how fine a place it can be. I was contacted by a gentleman who had read my first post and he felt inclined to offer not only tobacco, but a pipe as well. At first I thought perhaps someone was pulling my leg, but the more we corresponded the more I came to realize that the man was quite sincere.
So, I sent off my address and declined the pipe offer as I had been acquiring a good many in the last few months. But, still, I was not prepared for the tobacco tins that arrived by Fedex about 2 days later. Enclosed was the finest assortment of tobaccos I had ever seen in one place outside of the smoke shop.
I received a tin of each of the following: Syrian Full Balkan, Rose of Latakia, The Bufflehead Shop, Solani, Frog Morton on the Bayou and Honeydew. Needless to say I have put my full attention to trying out these new offerings! Latakia has been a new experience for me. My first inclination was to dislike it in some blends, but then I tried the Rose of Latakia and fell in love. I haven’t yet tried the Syrian Full Balkan, but the smell is great.
The Bufflehead Shop is more like what I usually smoke, more mild dark Cavendish. Very mellow. The Solani aged Burley is a a right fine smoke as well, more complex and a true joy. The Frog Morton blended with Perique is going to take me awhile to appreciate, can’t tell which part I don’t like yet, but I am not closing the door on anything just yet.
I was telling my benefactor that I prefer the heavy old briars of pre-WWll vintage and the Doodler pipes, but then I remembered that I had been smoking several 4 inch pre-war beauties for short smokes on my way to one place or another. And, that I had been put on that path by my great-grandmother. Technically she was great-grandma Gotway, but she was generally known as Smokin’ Grandma.
She was 4’10” tall and lived back across a creek that was forded by mule or on foot and my Dad carried her across the creek so she didn’t get wet most of the time. She was of true pioneer stock, grew her own short season tobacco that I don’t imagine was particularly good, but we kids loved her pipes and the smell of her smoking while rocking on the front porch. She had a whole rack of “lady pipes” as they were often known. I never forgot her smoke or the pipes.
I found that getting used to the new taste of Latakia was best in my little 4 inch beauties or in a church warden. The first was a short session and the latter was cooler.
So now I owe a debt of gratitude to two people. First is my new friend in Jordan with whom I have never had the pleasure of sharing a bowl and the second is my long dead great-grand mother who passed in her late 90s little knowing how much she influenced my generation. She is venerated.