Thursday, August 02, 2007

A Smoking Pipe

Every once in a while I come to the realization that I haven’t seen something in a while. It recently dawned on me that I hadn’t seen any smoking a pipe in years. It seemed to have died out in the 70s. The culture moved from smoking tobacco pipes to smoking pot in hookahs and bongs. Then there were hash pipes and now crack pipes.

Pipe smoking (tobacco) was very much the norm when I was growing up. My father smoked a pipe. He had four that I remember. One that he took to work, one that was a formal home pipe, another that was an old well worn home pipe and then there was the corn cob pipe.

Corn cob pipes wouldn’t last as long as the other pipes, so it was an easy gift for a kid with little money to get his dad on Father’s day.

There was something rich about the smell of a can of tobacco. The smoke from the pipe was rich as well, and it never seemed to be stinky like cigar and cigarette smoke. Pipe smoke flavored the air, adding some strange sort of elegance to what ever environment it was in.

Think about all the paintings and photos you’ve seen of pipe smokers in the past; Hemingway, Popeye the Sailor, Van Gogh, Sherlock Holmes, McArthur, John Kennedy… I can’t think of any famous images from the last twenty years that included a tobacco pipe.

Times change and the older I get the more things become obvious to me. I wonder if there will ever be a resurgence of tobacco pipe smoking, but then I'm still waiting for a resurgence of the Nehru jacket.


Blogger Auntie said...

I smoked a tobacco pipe for a brief few months when I was a freshman in college!

I love the smell of pipe tobacco (before its burning, that is) and it brings back memories of my dad and my great uncles.

6:34 AM  
Blogger Trop said...

I love the smell of pipe tobacco.

Court's been asking me what I want for my birthday (in October). I'm going to suggest a Hookah. Thanks for the idea!

7:02 AM  
Blogger Beth said...

My father and grandfather both smoked pipes. Such a wonderful ritual involved in the process.

Do you have a Nehru jacket packed away - just waiting for the resurgence?

7:14 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

My old man also smoked a pipe. Even tried growing his own tobacco. I have vivid recollections of him puffing away as we all drove to church in the '56 Ford station wagon. Didn't smoke in the house, just when he drove. His job involved much driving. He quit cold turkey in 1966 due to a nasty case of pneumonia. It was easy. He just promised himself he would take up smoking after he retired. He abandoned his old pipe in lieu of cigars though. While engaging manly pursuits in his pickup truck.

10:14 AM  
Blogger Mom of Three said...

I think that pipe smoking has fallen prey to the "all or nothing" attitude toward smoking in general. But smoking a pipe or the occasional cigar is NOT the same as suckin' down a pack a day, in a closed car, with the kids.

I loved the smell of pipe tobacco and also a GOOD (emphasis on good) cigar smell that my dad would have at times.

I do not miss the smell of the three packs of Camels my grandfather would smoke at every family gathering, though.

1:12 PM  
Blogger Mike S said...

I smoked a pipe regularly at home until about 1975. I do miss the smell of the Captain Black rum & cherry blend. Used to be able to go to any tobacco shop(a WHAT shop???) and have them make it custom just as I liked it:)

3:59 PM  
Blogger The Guy Who Writes This said...

OK Kids, I'll cover cigars tomorrow.

9:33 PM  
Blogger Astorianna said...

My father smoked a pipe all of the time. He only liked corn-cob pipes, tho, and Sir Walter Raleigh tobacco. Remember that smell very well.

He also smoked the oocasional cigar. Argh! I remember THAT smell, too, and a whole lot less fondly.

6:41 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

reason u don't see pipe smoker is that so many of the better pipe stores have all but dissappeared. Now all u can find are the online shops that sell the commercalized blends. I enjoy smoking my pipe but too often i have to put them away as i cannot find a tobacco store that sells it's owm blends and mixtures.

11:43 AM  

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