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 What drew you to pipes?

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MartinH

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Age : 47
Location : The South
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PostSubject: What drew you to pipes?   Wed Jan 12, 2011 8:18 pm

I thought I'd pose this question because I am gratefully seeing more younger people enjoying pipes. I inherited my grandfathers pipe set and have fond memories of him smoking his own mixes growing up in Germany. The house always had a great smell and he once let me puff on his pipe when I was ten or eleven just so I'd shut up and stop begging. I remember him telling me to take a deep puff. Well that was the first and last time I asked him to smoke one of his pipes. I've been smoking pipes since my late thirties and thoroughly love it. My father started me with cigars and moving to my grandfathers pipes after that was natural. I actually was dumb enough to smoke thirty year old tobacco. I was so sick. Lol!

But I now have one really nice pipe my wife bought for me and I am waiting to get my Opas pipes fixed up. Everytime I smoke I think about my grandfather. It always takes me back home to our old house in Germany. It seems a lifetime ago.

So what made you pick up the pipe?
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MisterE
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PostSubject: Re: What drew you to pipes?   Wed Jan 12, 2011 8:29 pm

Both my Grandpa and Dad smoked pipes. My grandpa was a die hard Amphora guy- got the stuff in those old metal tins. I can still see and smell it now. My Dad was a little more sophisticated with blends from Erlich in Boston. DPE was one of his favorites. Also my trumpet teacher at the conservarory is a pipester so it all made sense to me!!

I started in my early 20īs mostly for fun (cigs were my thing then) and now itīs become my choice and hobby. Going on 20 plus years... Cool
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Harlock999

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PostSubject: Re: What drew you to pipes?   Wed Jan 12, 2011 8:52 pm

This will probably sound stupid, but pipes drew me to pipes. I made some random search on ebay and there it was, a Danish high grade, Balleby, or Hedegaard, I can't remember. It was amazing, and expensive, and had lot's of bidders, and it intrigued me enough to start looking at other pipe auctions. I found this whole world of collecting that I never would have guessed existed. I already had a strong appreciation of hand crafted items like guitars, and pipes are a lot more manageable, size wise. So for me, it's not a sentimental thing because none of my ancestors smoked pipes, but I do come come from a long line of collectors. Now, learning to smoke the darn things, that was a whole different story... cheers


Last edited by Harlock999 on Wed Jan 12, 2011 9:34 pm; edited 1 time in total
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PipePuffer

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PostSubject: Re: What drew you to pipes?   Wed Jan 12, 2011 9:33 pm

Let's see... I grew up near a place famous for its pipes. My dad smoked the pipe when I was a kid (he later switched to cigs). My grandfather also smoked the pipe and was a tobacconist. So I grew up surrounded by the smell of pipe smoke and tobacco. I have never been attracted to cigarette or cigar smoking but pipe smoking always had a special place in my heart because it evokes so many good memories. I briefly gave it a try in college but the cheap pipe, cheap tobacco and the lack of guidance led to a disappointing experience. Plus smoking the pipe looked cheesy in college when everyone else smoked cigarettes.

So why try it again in my mid-30's? I really don't know. But it makes me feel at peace. Like it was meant to be.


Last edited by PipePuffer on Wed Jan 12, 2011 9:44 pm; edited 2 times in total
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Tommy

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PostSubject: Re: What drew you to pipes?   Wed Jan 12, 2011 9:39 pm

Early in the 1960's we lived with my grandparents in their beautiful old home on Long Island.
Every evening dinner was at 6pm sharp, grandpa sat at the head of the great table that every night was covered with an Irish linen table cloth and set with nice china. Grace was said before dinner and I remember grandpa having one beer in a stein with dinner every night.
We are missing so much today.....

Anyhow, shortly after the meal was done, while my mother and grandmother went off to the kitchen to clean up, grandpa and my favorite uncle Herb would head into the living room, making themselves comfortable on the couch to enjoy the peace and quiet of the evening with a bowl of Prince Albert. I remember that all so fondly and forty-five years later just the smell of burley smoke can take me back.

Every now and again, like tonight, I think of the two of them and would give anything to be sitting on that giant Castro-Convertable enjoying a bowl of Prince Albert with them.
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Handsome Dynamite

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PostSubject: Re: What drew you to pipes?   Thu Jan 13, 2011 1:26 am

I smoked cigars, then when winter came, it was a pain to smoke a cigar with gloves on, so I tried a pipe and never put it down
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whiskeywillow

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PostSubject: Re: What drew you to pipes?   Thu Jan 13, 2011 5:43 am

I told this story in my introduction thread, but since we're all sharing here...

whiskeywillow wrote:
I was introduced to pipes (and whiskey) by a friend of my father's who happens to be Irish. I fell in love with him when I was about thirteen years old, and if you've ever loved someone for a long time you'll know how their scent can stick with you forever. I'll always remember how he smelled like whiskey and tobacco. Well, he moved back to Ireland two years ago but we still write. He was always really nice about my infatuation, and he recently sent me one of his pipes and told me about one of his favorite tobaccos - Peterson's Irish Oak - so that I could indulge in my nostalgia.

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pasq0321

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PostSubject: Re: What drew you to pipes?   Thu Jan 13, 2011 11:48 am

Recently, I looked at life and realized that overall life was too sterilized. No smoking, no drinking, watch what you eat, etc. I decided that I was going to look back to a time when life wasn't like that and see what men did then. I quit drinking beer and started drinking whiskey, I bought a fedora, and I picked up the pipe (not a cigarette guy.) When I started doing some research on it, I found the community of pipe smokers to be some of the nicest people on the planet. I also found that once you buy one, in my case a cob, you can't really stop. I now have a churchwarden and the original cob, and am looking hard for a good Peterson.
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thefoolish

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PostSubject: Re: What drew you to pipes?   Thu Jan 13, 2011 12:42 pm

I've been asked this question inquisitively by my girlfriend a number of times. "Why do you like pipes?" She did not mean it in an antagonistic way, despite the fact that she is one of the most anti-cigarette people in the world -- thus why I continue to emphasize the difference between cigarettes and pipes -- but in a curious and even loving way. It's a valid question, especially when you know one specific detail.

I'm 20. I picked up my first pipe my freshman year in college after seeing someone smoking one at the restaurant at which I was currently working. Seeing and smelling that pipe reminded me of my old music teacher, a truly great man -- and I don't use 'great' as a synonym to 'good', but truly great, like Alexander -- who always used to smell of a pipe. I remember when he stopped smoking and I remember how strange and barren it seemed to not smell that aroma on him. (To sidetrack for a moment, I asked him recently what tobacco he used to smoke and he described a blend whose symbol was a sinking ship. If anyone knows what brand this might be, please let me know.)

In any case, I asked the gentleman at the restaurant where he bought his pipe and he told me about a nearby shop called John Dengler's, a pleasant, tiny shop, run by a husband and wife. I went there the next day to pick up my first pipe. Due to the fact that I work at the local Renaissance Faire every year, I picked up a clay tavern pipe, figuring I could use it at the Faire. The man working the shop at the time gave me a free ounce of tobacco with my purchase, called Cameron's, and I remember thinking it smelled like oats.

My first experience smoking that pipe was perched on a ledge outside of my freshman dorm, failing miserably at getting it lit, probably due to the fact that it was windy and I was shivering from the cold November air.

But I digress from the original question of this post. After succeeding at smoking the pipe for the first time, I felt like a Buddhist monk in deep meditation. I felt calm; I felt good. That as enough of a reason for me to continue: it made me happy.

Since then I have discovered the joys of meerschaum, the beauty of a well-carved briar, and the simple pleasure involved in the contemplation of a new blend, a new shape, or simply the feeling of a pipe in my hand, even unlit.

I find pipes to be a work of art, and I think this is true beyond the obvious. It does not take the penetration of the philosopher to see that pipes are visually appealing. But art makes one stop and reflect -- reflect upon the art, upon the world, upon oneself. Pipes do this better than most things. In this way, the process of enjoying a pipe is, in itself, meditative artwork.
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Cuervo25_1

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PostSubject: Re: What drew you to pipes?   Fri Jan 14, 2011 12:10 am

I remember when I was very young living in Virginia (just moved to NJ 9 years ago) my dad had a pipe rack on the coffee table with 6 pipes that was handed down since his grandfather,maybe before, he wasn't even sure, anyway I loved the smell of pipe tobacco when lit and even when it was just in the tin or pouch.

fast foward to about a month ago I am working at my second job pumping gas (you do what you have to in this economy !) when an older gentleman lit up while waiting for his wife ( yes he was far away from the pumps lol) The wonderful aroma hit my nostrals and all the found memories came flooding back, then I knew I had to try it!
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Jack Howard



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PostSubject: Re: What drew you to pipes?   Fri Jan 14, 2011 7:43 am

I've always been drawn to pipe smoking. I used to hang out a the shop of a pipe smoker, and I was fascinated by the ritual he would go through of preparing the tobacco, filling and lighting his pipe. Whenever I passed by a pipe shop I would stop for a moment, stare at the pipes and enjoy the aroma. I kept putting it off due to the perceived cost issues (oh, I wish the Internet had been around back then, so someone could have told me about cobs and other economically sensible pipe hobby options).

A few years ago, I read a blog post describing how the hobby, the different types of tobacco, and how to load and smoke a pipe. That was the catalyst, the push I needed to revisit my long fascination with pipes and this time I had the wherewithal to pursue it.

I love the feel of a pipe in my hand. It just feels right. I love gesturing with my pipe-stem. I love the various aromas of a lit pipe, and I love the flavours. I love collecting a variety of pipes and tobaccos, caring for them, storing them, cleaning them. I love the retro-ness of it; they are pleasing to my own heavily romanticized view of the past. I love the ritual of the pipe-smoking process, and the quietly contemplative state of mind it invokes.

Cheers!
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MartinH

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PostSubject: Re: What drew you to pipes?   Fri Jan 14, 2011 9:31 am

It's really neat to see all these replies. Thefoolish echoed the idea of it being a meditative process as well and I thoroughly agree with that. In it's simplest terms it is, for me, the practice echoed by many artists- "be still and know that I am God"
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Thomas Tkach

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PostSubject: Re: What drew you to pipes?   Fri Jan 14, 2011 10:15 am

My experience has a few elements in common with previous posts. I started smoking cigars first, and thought pipes would be a nice short smoke for the winter (all my friends puffed so fast they were shorter smokes). I eventually became hooked, and haven't smoked a cigar in probably a year now, though I do have a few dozen in my humidor.

Also, I grew up really fast. In a few years I went from being an unruly teenager to a crochety old man, telling people to turn the music down and tuck their shirts in (kids these days...). I think our society is missing out on some of the aspects of bygone days, so my pipe is an intentional anachronism, trying to take me back to simple times.
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skaukatt

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PostSubject: Re: What drew you to pipes?   Fri Jan 14, 2011 10:29 am

Sorry for the length of this but a long time ago I sat down and wrote what I call a "pipe bio". It is basically the story of how I came to the pipe and what drew me. Again I apologize for the length - this is just an excerp!

Looking back on it now, at almost 50 years old, my earliest memories are of my Dad smoking a pipe. The earliest memories I have of him consist of him smoking his pipe on a Sunday afternoon. At about the age of 5, I used to join my father for his ritual "Sunday Drive" in his 1960 Chevy Impala. He loved that car and I surmise that his ritual began long before I was. One of his rituals was smoking his pipe while taking that long drive on the Long Island Expressway on a trip to nowhere. You see, he worked two jobs and even on Saturday, so he was never able to use the car during the week – there simply was no time. He was a firm believer in the idea that if you did not use the car much you should take it on a long ride when the opportunity arrived. I don't know the validity of this idea but it worked for him. So, after we got out of church, as Mom cooked her marinara sauce at home, Dad and I would embark on a trip to really, nowhere. We would just drive for about an hour and then turn around and head back. I think he just loved the idea that he could "get away" for a bit and smoke his pipe and drive his car. I can still picture him sitting behind the wheel, smoking his pipe filled with Holiday Tobacco, the aroma of the tobacco blowing around me in the passenger seat, it smelled great. I loved that time we spent together, actually for two reasons; I didn't get to see much of him during the week and I loved the smell of his pipe.

As for his collection, he had about three circular racks of twelve with the glass humidor in the middle. One humidor lid even had two horses heads carved out of the wood. The racks were filled with various pipes. I don't believe he owned any that would be considered a high grade. He must have bought them anywhere from the late 1950's to early 1960's. I don't remember him ever buying a pipe during the times that I could remember. I remember many with a white shamrock logo - Kaywoodies, others were from E.A. Carey's as I would come to know later on. As for the humidors, they were always filled with Holiday or, later, Capt. Black. He smoked these blends exclusively. He was content with his modest collection and along with some pipe cleaners and a pipe tool, he was happy.

These are my earliest memories of pipe smoking and I think it laid the foundation to my own passion that followed in my adult life. I would say that life went on pretty much the same until my teen years, when teens try to detach themselves from their parents and establish their own identities. The Sunday drives continued for my dad but unfortunately, without me. At the age of fifteen, I got bold. I would go downstairs to the basement to the shelves where my father's pipes were, select one that appealed to me, fill it with Holiday and then go to the back door, light up and blow the smoke into the alley behind the house...

Lou
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MartinH

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PostSubject: Re: What drew you to pipes?   Fri Jan 14, 2011 10:59 am

I've been thinking a bit more about my journey, first to smoking in general and then to pipes. I remember that when I was divorced from my first wife, and was ridding my soul of a bad marriage, I began thinking about being alive, living a full life, and being true to who I wanted to be. Somehow, my thoughts always came back to my grandfather. He was a man I truly admired and he died at the age of 49.

At about the same time that I was morning the loss of a five-year relationship, my father started buying cigars and I got into that with him. Then, on New Year's Evey, I took one my grandfather's pipes, filled them with the old remnants of tobacco still left in the humidor and light up. It was a horrible smoke, but the act of filling the pipe and paying homage to a man whom I love so very much, just made me feel good. This was also the end of a year where I found my spiritual path through Buddhist meditation and let go of the pain from my divorce. It might sound crazy, but through this meditation, I felt that for the first time I found God.

Thus my spiritual journey began, and pipes have very much been a part of that. I may smoke only a few times a month, but every time it's a ritual I enjoy. Along with act of filling and lighting the pipe, it's the silence I crave. I don't care if it's 15 degrees outside, being in the outdoors with my favorite pipe, is a slice of heaven.

I find it interesting how many of your journey's to the pipe stem from some family connection to the ritual, or memories of loved ones.

It's reasons like this, that I think the "old timey" act of smoking pipes is so important. It takes us back to a simpler time, a time we cherish and memories which has shaped our lives. I'm 40 now, but it's so nice to see younger people enjoying the ritual of pipe smoking. I've tried to introduce my good friends to the pipe, and everyone has really enjoyed it.

Thanks so much for replying to this thread!

Martin Wink
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PostSubject: Re: What drew you to pipes?   Fri Jan 14, 2011 11:31 am

The defiant old curmudgeon who refuses to get with "the change process" is one aspect of it, for sure. Old school without appology.

In the final analysis though, the pipes themselves. Pipes, violins, guitars and guns can be such beautiful things that whether or not they ever actually get smoked, played or fired is almost irrelevant to their appeal. Especially older ones.

There are more languages we can understand than we can speak.

Those are an example of one of them. They call to you.

What a Face
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Harlock999

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PostSubject: Re: What drew you to pipes?   Fri Jan 14, 2011 11:35 am

Great stories gentlemen. Thanks for sharing!
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PipePuffer

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PostSubject: Re: What drew you to pipes?   Fri Jan 14, 2011 11:59 am

The old-fashion appeal of pipe smoking was not lost on me either. I always felt like I was born one century too late.
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MartinH

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PostSubject: Re: What drew you to pipes?   Fri Jan 14, 2011 12:01 pm

Agreed. Since I started in my mid-thirties, I always received strange looks from people when I light up in public. This was especially true of the ladies, who probably thought I was just weird, but who cares. I found the love of my life, and she even puts up with me. Wink
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Hunter5117

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PostSubject: Re: What drew you to pipes?   Fri Jan 14, 2011 12:33 pm

Growing up in the '60's, pipe smoking was still a common thing among most men, cigarettes, pipes and a few smoked cigars. Where I worked weekends both men in the business smoked a pipe. I always admired the one fellow who smoked a bent Prince style exclusively, with Amphora red tobacco. When I decided to start smoking at about age 15, I merely walked over to the corner general store, and plunked down likely less than $5 for a pipe and a pouch of Amphora. Been smoking pipes on and off ever since.
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brabants draak

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PostSubject: Re: What drew you to pipes?   Sun Jan 30, 2011 7:12 am

well, men (and a lady) thank you for beatiful walk down the memory lane.
I agree with one of the writers: the pipe smoking community must be one of the most civilized on the web.

now, for how i turned into a pipe smoker, the following short story:
i grew up as a single child of working parents, both chain smokers, cigarettes only. so from early on i developed a tremendous disgust for cigarettes: i thought that they REALLY stink and i never had any wish of putting THAT in my mouth.
BUT, my father had a friend. a nice big fellow, bold. a real word WWII hero of resistance. This guy, at that time (we are talking 1965-69) a high ranking professional soldier, used to visit us with his wife regularly, 2-3 times a month (my father and he knew each other from the war, and were "paesan", meaning they came from the same region) to dine. Well this guy indulged himself in a magical ritual every now and then: he would take a rather peculiar looking wooden thing, fill it up with very strange looking and sweet smelling stuff my parents told me it's the same what they had in cigarettes (but of course it was NOT) and very slowly lit it up. While blueish cloud would climb above his head the whole apartment would fill with smell of chocolade and vanilla cookies. This was something so distinguished and special, i adored it.
I do not beleive at that age I thought of smoking at all, but the seeds were sawn and waiting.

Then came Rip Kirby. Strip hero of Alex Reymond, an ex-marine turned private eye. So this guy had a beatiful girlfriend(s), smoked pipe and had a butler called Desmond. And he was my role model I think. He and Disneys "101 Dalmatians" started my Anglophiliac period, and with it my affection to pipe smoking.
I always thought it as a distinguished discipline. Very chivalric.

So, there came my 17-teen birthday and I stopped being theoretic and bought myself my first pipe ( a pipe imported from Mao's China, cheap, and while buying it my heart was bouncing i was sure the saleslady knew i was doing somethin improper ...) and a pouch of the only pipe tobacco made in my home country (name "Club" which was design-wise a clear copycat of TNs Clan, only red) and devoted one year to learn properly how to smoke.

been doing that with pleasure for more then 30 years.
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brabants draak

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PostSubject: Re: What drew you to pipes?   Sun Jan 30, 2011 7:13 am

well, men (and a lady) thank you for beatiful walk down the memory lane.
I agree with one of the writers: the pipe smoking community must be one of the most civilized on the web.

now, for how i turned into a pipe smoker, the following short story:
i grew up as a single child of working parents, both chain smokers, cigarettes only. so from early on i developed a tremendous disgust for cigarettes: i thought that they REALLY stink and i never had any wish of putting THAT in my mouth.
BUT, my father had a friend. a nice big fellow, bold. a real word WWII hero of resistance. This guy, at that time (we are talking 1965-69) a high ranking professional soldier, used to visit us with his wife regularly, 2-3 times a month (my father and he knew each other from the war, and were "paesan", meaning they came from the same region) to dine. Well this guy indulged himself in a magical ritual every now and then: he would take a rather peculiar looking wooden thing, fill it up with very strange looking and sweet smelling stuff my parents told me it's the same what they had in cigarettes (but of course it was NOT) and very slowly lit it up. While blueish cloud would climb above his head the whole apartment would fill with smell of chocolade and vanilla cookies. This was something so distinguished and special, i adored it.
I do not beleive at that age I thought of smoking at all, but the seeds were sawn and waiting.

Then came Rip Kirby. Strip hero of Alex Reymond, an ex-marine turned private eye. So this guy had a beatiful girlfriend(s), smoked pipe and had a butler called Desmond. And he was my role model I think. He and Disneys "101 Dalmatians" started my Anglophiliac period, and with it my affection to pipe smoking.
I always thought it as a distinguished discipline. Very chivalric.

So, there came my 17-teen birthday and I stopped being theoretic and bought myself my first pipe ( a pipe imported from Mao's China, cheap, and while buying it my heart was bouncing i was sure the saleslady knew i was doing somethin improper ...) and a pouch of the only pipe tobacco made in my home country (name "Club" which was design-wise a clear copycat of TNs Clan, only red) and devoted one year to learn properly how to smoke.

been doing that with pleasure for more then 30 years.
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Harlock999

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PostSubject: Re: What drew you to pipes?   Sun Jan 30, 2011 12:04 pm

brabants draak wrote:
well, men (and a lady) thank you for beatiful walk down the memory lane.
I agree with one of the writers: the pipe smoking community must be one of the most civilized on the web.

now, for how i turned into a pipe smoker, the following short story:
i grew up as a single child of working parents, both chain smokers, cigarettes only. so from early on i developed a tremendous disgust for cigarettes: i thought that they REALLY stink and i never had any wish of putting THAT in my mouth.
BUT, my father had a friend. a nice big fellow, bold. a real word WWII hero of resistance. This guy, at that time (we are talking 1965-69) a high ranking professional soldier, used to visit us with his wife regularly, 2-3 times a month (my father and he knew each other from the war, and were "paesan", meaning they came from the same region) to dine. Well this guy indulged himself in a magical ritual every now and then: he would take a rather peculiar looking wooden thing, fill it up with very strange looking and sweet smelling stuff my parents told me it's the same what they had in cigarettes (but of course it was NOT) and very slowly lit it up. While blueish cloud would climb above his head the whole apartment would fill with smell of chocolade and vanilla cookies. This was something so distinguished and special, i adored it.
I do not beleive at that age I thought of smoking at all, but the seeds were sawn and waiting.

Then came Rip Kirby. Strip hero of Alex Reymond, an ex-marine turned private eye. So this guy had a beatiful girlfriend(s), smoked pipe and had a butler called Desmond. And he was my role model I think. He and Disneys "101 Dalmatians" started my Anglophiliac period, and with it my affection to pipe smoking.
I always thought it as a distinguished discipline. Very chivalric.

So, there came my 17-teen birthday and I stopped being theoretic and bought myself my first pipe ( a pipe imported from Mao's China, cheap, and while buying it my heart was bouncing i was sure the saleslady knew i was doing somethin improper ...) and a pouch of the only pipe tobacco made in my home country (name "Club" which was design-wise a clear copycat of TNs Clan, only red) and devoted one year to learn properly how to smoke.

been doing that with pleasure for more then 30 years.

Great story, welcome to BoB! I love the Netherlands, fantastic country, and great people!
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Foxfire

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PostSubject: Life imitates art   Sun Jan 30, 2011 12:55 pm

As a child, my dad smoked a pipe. In fact, when I went to buy my first pipe (in a tiny tobacco shop in Carrick-on-Shannon, Ireland) I bought the one that most closely resembled the one I recalled my dad smoking. So that is part of it.

Also, as others have mentioned, I like the "retro-ness" of it. Not so much the look, but more of the feel of it. In today's world of emails, and facebooks, and tweeters, everything is instant, and is expected to be fast. I like that pipe smoking is a slow thing to do. It's like listening to records, instead of an ipod (I own both, and both have their merits, so I don't want to start a hornet's nest with that).

But most of all, I'm a fantasy geek. I'm a total sucker for the Sword & Sorcery stuff. And the smoking of pipes plays heavily into the adventure tales that I have loved since I was a kid (due, in no small part, to the gentleman pictured below in my signature). After the LOTR films came out, my friends and I decided that we would all get pipes and give it a go, and we've all stuck with it since then (though a good friend of mine was more of a Sherlock Holmes sort of chap than a Bilbo Baggins type).

I started because of the above reasons, but I've kept at it simply because it is fun.
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gospelman

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PostSubject: Re: What drew you to pipes?   Mon Jan 31, 2011 8:52 am

I remember when I was a kid my great-grandfather smoked a pipe. Always had one lit. He smoked Grainger exclusively, and I used to love the aroma. Of course back then, a lot of people smoked everywhere, and it wasn't unusual to see cigarettes, cigars and pipes.

But I was fascinated by that pipe! When I started college, I decided to give it a try. I bought a pipe out of a basket (I still smoke that pipe) and some Captain Black. 35 years later, I still enjoy it immensely (I've moved on from the Captain!).

To me, smoking a pipe is relaxing, meditative, and is a link to a time when things seemed to move a little slower. I'm glad to see young people getting into the pipe smoking life.

Mike
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