Quakers generally have a scruple against the use of tobacco and it has been something of a question for me as I have taken up my pipes again in my older years. But, close family medical advice has saved the day and the tobacco.
Well, let’s see, I’m new in these parts, but I’m pushing 60, retired, happily married with 3 grown sons, 3 find DILs, two beautiful granddaughters and two granddogs until that son can do better.
Somewhere along the line a few months ago it dawned on me how meditative smoking my pipe had been when I was a young man. That was after I had graduated from corn silks, hollow vines and cigarettes and concurrent with the use of my 4 hose hookah which we used with great pleasure while playing cribbage and not going to class while in college. But, I digress….
I only had one pipe a Dr. Grabow off the rack that I loved and hated. It kinda depended upon whether I had remembered to buy filters while buying refreshments for the other students. When it would discharge that foul black liquid back out the stem I’d just about swear off the thing. But, then I’d dry it out and get a new filter and a new can of Flying Dutchman(before they ruined it) and I would be in ecstasy once more.
But, then we fast forward about 30 years, I lose track and it isn’t important anyway and I realize that I have a couple of really embarrassing vices. I keep a ’93 Volvo 240 upon which I dote, my wife won’t drive it and we have a third car for taking loads of people, so it is just me and this old car, manual transmission, 4 cylinder, 4000 lbs of metal and a stereo that will blow your hat off! The second real weakness is for John Denver music. I never have recovered from his death–whether he was drunk or sober is immaterial, I love his music and never missed a concert within range.
So, there I am indulging my two weaknesses–motoring and blowing out my eardrums while singing and it dawns on me, I am missing a good smoke! Next question, what shall I smoke? Cannabis is out, too old to drive and smoke that, but the pipe would be just the ticket!
Then I have to face a little moral dilemma. Being a Quaker, we have had a long-standing opposition to the use of tobacco, but I really hadn’t thought about that when i signed on decades ago. Soul-searching time . Spouse cleared it, but reminded me that the Meeting House grounds were non-smoking–so much for communing with nature there. Might have to go to the Quaker cemetery, those Quakers don’t mind and it gets me out of Meeting for Business.
So next I have to get the medical report. I trust my closest sibling who is a nurse specializing in detox stuff, she’s tough. We talked it over and decided that I probably couldn’t smoke enough to significantly hurt myself and if I enjoyed it to go ahead. Now I was clear on all fronts except for the exhaust fan in my shop so the smoke does not get back into the house–hey you can’t drive around in an old Volvo all the time!
Now to get some pipes. To hold me over I go buy a churchwarden off the shelf. Bought some fancy tobacco–tasted like smoking tar paper! Went back to the smoke shop, bought some tobacco out of a jar that looked like shredded tar paper and it tasted great. Need more pipes. I cajole my Dad who is 81 out his Dad’s meerschaum, clean it out and it smokes nicely, pull out grandpa’s briar and it has not aged so well, 30 years of Half and Half and another 30 in a box and it needed some sweetening. Soaked the thing in a jar of Irish Potcheen liquor and it brightened right up after I used most of a pack of pipe cleaners.
The recipe came from a nice guy in Florida and called for 151 Rum, but I used what I had and it came out alright. Bought a NOS Yelo-Bole from a guy and it broke before he could send it, but I bought it for a couple bucks thinking I’d fix that right up.
That’s where I am going to leave this story because all I can say is that I am an insomniac and I am very glad that my wife isn’t. You feel really stupid sitting in your shop with a Yelo-Bole bowl super-glued to your right pinkie finger. I took a drive.