Pipes have a way of transcending their purpose. Are they just smoking implements? Read on to find out....
The pipe pictured above is a fantastic little pipe. It was purchased from Maurizio Tombari who started Le Nuvole pipes in Italy. The pipe belonged to my pipe smoking friend and mentor, Doug, who died almost two years ago now.
I sent the pipe to be refurbished and freshened up by Steve Laug in British Columbia. Check out the work he did on the Le Nuvole pipe here.
In some important ways we are our pipes. They remind of where we've been, who we were, and who we are.
Steve took the pipe that once belonged to my dearly departed friend and restored it to smoking glory. It's a really wonderful pipe. Doug dedicated the pipe to Virgina blends mostly, and I'm sticking with that decision.
Words from Doug
In August of 2017, Doug sent me an email in which he said, "In some important ways we are our pipes. They remind of where we've been, who we were, and who we are. I thoroughly enjoy all the Brighams too because most of them were the choices of that same teenager. I'm amazed at how far sighted he was in choosing the ones he did [speaking of his younger self]. These connect us across time and place unlike anything else in my experience. Yes, it's possible to just smoke them and ignore the history for which they are the evidence. But they do intrude and remind us of who we were and who we are. So letting them go is tantamount to parting with ourselves. They are the longest lived personal things that I have."
I always appreciated Doug's genuineness and ability to be frank. Along with his in-depth knowledge of all things 'pipe', he has some good insights.
When Doug died, his widow contacted me to arrange for me to sell off his pipes and tobaccos. There were a number of pipes of his that I wished to purchase, and I did. This was one of them. Le Nuvole pipes are fantastic smokers, but I remember him smoking and enjoying this pipe. He bought it directly from Maurizio in Italy which was quite the thing to do! He was very tickled with the experience and I can't say I don't blame him for being tickled.
The pipe reminds me of Doug very much; indeed, all of his pipes that I bought do. But there are new memories being forged each time I reach for it to load up with some tobacco, and bring it to life with fire.
So I put to you, dear reader, that pipes are more than just smoking implements. They are identifiers of who we are. They are very personal items that can transfer from one person to the next. Oftentimes this happens within families where one man is smoking a pipe that his father or grandfather once smoked. Those pipes end up with a place of pride and have preeminence in one's pipe collection.
Just like this one does in mine.