When we speak of pipes we are not referring to bag-pipes or organ pipes, we speak merely of a bit of vulcanized rubber and wood cunningly contrived in such a manner that a few cents judiciously invested by yield huge profits of pleasure.
The brier for an instance, a hollowed bit of root smoothed and polished when packed with mellow tobacco gains a pleasing warmth in the hollow of your hand, it blackens under age and gains its brightest sheen under caressing much in the same manner as a Collegians' hair! But there the simile must end, for a pipe is sweetly scented!
And then the Meersham, the ultimate goal of all good pipe smokers, sickly white in color in its infancy as the flesh on a dead girls arm yet with age and tender care mellow into a dull, deep black, very sweet to smoke and very beautiful to behold.
But enough of pipes! Let us turn to the gentle art of smoking. A pipe should never be hurriedly packed and lit merely for the reaction fo the nicoteen. A cigarette is but a temporary stimulant; a good pipe should be smoked as a ceremony.
First the tobacco: in my humble opinion it should be a mild rough cut burley blend with just enough "bite" to blend with the hot wood in such a manner that the smoke rolls on the tongue smooth and mellow with a body to it as of old Chianti.
Roll the tobacco between the palms of the hands until it has become impregnated with their warmth and then, the packing. This is the crucial test of the experienced pipe smoker. The amateur will hurriedly cram the amber granules into the maw of his pipe as if it were a criminal offence of some sort; and, to theman who does appreciate a good pipe it is an offence. The man who loves a pipe will gently and tenderly fill his bowl, tapping the tobacco in with gentle little pats until at last it is charged to the very brim and packed firmly and smoothly in such a manner that it will not sprinkle from the bowl and yet will be loose enough to draw easily. And then! The light, and the first long, cool puff! Nirvanah attained.
There are in a day four pipes which supercede all others in their sweetness: the one just as you awake before you even start to dress, the first one after breakfast, the first one after dinner as the darkness draws near, and the last long drawn out smoke before retiring, where you knock the dottle out into the heart, stretch and turn to bed...
Truly a pipe is the gift of the Gods!
Copyright © 2001, Mary S. Van Deusen