Pipe Dream, Part 2
Part 1 is here in case you missed it.
“I knew you would know where to go,” I said to my friend Angie as we pulled into the alleyway behind the boutique pipe tobacco shop down the street from her house. Knowing where to buy a pipe and tobacco is useful when one wants to take up pipe smoking. She grinned. Angie has a massive cache of unexpected information inexplicably quartered in her miraculous brain. It’s a huge part of why I like her.
Upon entering the small, acceptably wood-and-leather inspired shop, we were greeted by a gray-haired, amiable looking man with the biggest mutton chop sideburns I’d ever seen.
“I’m looking for a cheap pipe,” I told him.
“Oh, well I’ve got a wonderful, refurbished Master Craft for $35. Here, take a look at this,” he replied as he removed a small pipe from a glass display case and handed it to me. It was very nice, but not quite what I had in mind.
“Actually, it’s for me, and I’ve never smoked a pipe before. I’m really just looking for something cheap like a corn cob pipe so I can decide if I even like smoking it or not.”
“Oh, it’s for you!” he said. He did not seem to be expecting this and immediately became more animated. I got the impression that I was not his usual demographic. “You can buy corn cob pipes anywhere. Well, except here because mine just sold out.” Not a promising start.
“How about tobacco?” I said. “Do you have Sail?” According to my mother, this was the brand my grandfather used to smoke. My mother does not approve of my pipe smoking.
“Sail! No, that’s horrible stuff, all chemically processed. I don’t carry any of that here. All of my tobacco is organic, and I blend it myself. Here, smell this,” he said as he shoved an open plastic bag labeled “Grandfather’s Blend” in elaborate calligraphy under my nose. “I made this blend myself fifty years ago for my own grandfather.” The proprietor puffed proudly, and the difficulty with which Angie was stifling her giggles at his rapid demeanor change was becoming a palpable threat to my own attempts to remain collected. “This is eight dollars, but if you buy it today with the pipe, I’ll give it to you for six.”
The thirty-five dollars in my purse roughly comprised my pipe experiment budget. Maybe I could just buy the tobacco here and get a corn cob pipe at the smoke shop up the road that had “Pipes Here” emblazoned on the iron-barred windows next to the gang signs. “What’s this one?” I asked, pointing to the bag beside the grandpa one. “And can I smell that one too?” I pointed to the one on the other side.
He seemed rather pleased that I was sniffing and admiring the aromas of his other tobacco blends. “Actually,” he said, “if you buy the pipe, I’ll throw in the tobacco for free. Just for today.” There was my $35! I looked at the smooth, wooden pipe in my hand. It really was beautiful, and it wasn’t too big.
“Okay, I’ll take it,” I said. “Hey, do you have a pouch I can keep this stuff in?”
“A pouch? Hmm, I don’t think so. Let me check,” he said as he began pulling out and rifling through each of the drawers behind the cash register. “I don’t usually keep them, but I might have an old one floating around… yes, here’s one. Here are some matches too,” he said as he threw a small box on the counter, “and you’ll need a tamper. Hang on.” He went back to the display case and pulled out a small metal tool that was flat on one end and tapered into a very thin scoop on the other. I could feel Angie snickering again behind me.
“What is your problem?” I asked her as the man was whizzing around accumulating gear that either wasn’t for sale or that I hadn’t asked for.
“Nothing. Nothing at all,” she said with amused eyebrows and an abysmally stifled grin. I turned back to the checkout counter which now claimed a pipe, a bag of tobacco, a box of matches, a tamper, and a pouch to carry everything in. This was going to be way over budget.
“Soooo… what do I owe you for all this?”
“Oh, you can have it for $35,” he said. I hadn’t told him how much my budget was. I offered to pay for everything, but he declined.
As soon as we got back outside, Angie exploded in laughter.
“I think I just snookered some old guy out of a bunch of stuff,” I said.
“Yeah, I think so.”
The next week my Mom was over, and she wanted to see my new pipe. Grandpa hadn’t smoked since I was a kid, and although I have fond memories of the smell, I had completely forgotten what his pipe looked like. She hadn’t. “This pipe looks exactly like your grandfather’s,” she said. It wasn’t until she brought over the picture of Grandpa two weeks ago for Pipe Dream, Part 1 that I realized just how right she was.
Most pipe-smokers I run into are always old Samuel Clemens-wannabes whose faces look like ashtrays … Attractive people — particularly women — just don’t look right with pipes sticking out of their mouths.
One of my brothers-in-law keeps telling me that, except when he says it, it’s more like, “EWWWWW” combined with a warning that I’m going to turn into an old, wizened geezer. I just don’t smoke around him.
Well, now, Jason, we can all rest in the knowledge that you have deemed women smoking pipes not as attractive as they could be to you. Funny, I didn’t realize that was Lena’s purpose in life.
LOL, Lena, I guess I just get in trouble no matter where I post … I certainly didn’t mean anything derogatory by my posts. Apologies.
Really… You didn’t mean anything derogatory by saying your little remark? At least if you are going to give an unsolicited snide remark have the spine to defend it
I can see this is going to be an entertaining day…
It might be a very interesting day if more people want to troll your post saying inane things.
HAHAHA! They might get eaten by a bear…
Not you. Bears never eat their own.
To be fair, Jason said nicer things (I think) about the blog post on his own wall. It just didn’t quite translate as well when he posted over here.
Okay, so far I’ve been called a troll and a coward. Anything else you’d like to add, Angela, before I start punching back?
I mean, really, let’s do this. Good grief …
Alright you two, no wars on my wall. Angie, cool it. Jason, cool it. Go fight on your own walls.
Lena — Glad you said that. I almost went off …
Bossing people is one of my talents… 😉
A picture of blissful contentment. Your Grandpa would be proud. Mmm…I can smell that sweet baccy smoke from here. Memories of my own childhood around a man who had suffered much in his life and took the greatest pleasure in the simplest things – sitting in his chair with Grandma, feet up on a small padded stool, chuckling at Warren Mitchell in Til Death Us Do Part on his little black and white TV, all the time drawing gently on his old pipe. My Grandpa would be proud of you, too. Way to go, Lena!!!
Thanks, Carole. 🙂
What’s an Oregon pretty girl like you want with big boy smut like this? 😉
Well played, Kathy. We’ll played. Also, “big boy smut” – might have to steal that…
Why is there no smoke coming out of the pipe in that picture?
A darn shame.
I don’t know. I was actually smoking it for reeeals! My attempts at actually capturing the smoke in a picture (particularly with a lot of white right in the background where the smoke should be) have been not great.
Oh! I did get a new lighter that pretty much breathes fire at the tobacco, which means I did manage to smoke an entire pipe in the hot tub the other day (whilst also drinking a mojito, listening to Spotify, and reading Heart of Darkness; it was more or less paradise). Went much better than the effort you witnessed, Brian… 😉