12th July 00:49
What got you started on pipe smoking?
I grew up in the farmland of western Kansas, USA. It was always a joke
amongst my peers that life was 100 years behind out there; most of the
trends/fads in life passed us by, as we kept doing the same old thing.
My grandfather smoked Carter Hall tobacco (though he had switched to
cigarettes by the time I knew him). My father had smoked mainly London Dock
tobacco( again, a cigarette smoker by my time). The only pipe smoker in my
family I remember as smoking a pipe was my great uncle Albert (who, I found
out later, smoked Prince Albert). This old man would sit at the table with
his bourbon and pipe, entertaining the children with his stories and his
smoke rings. I remember fondly the aroma of his pipe; but mostly his
When I was 12, I began my own foray into tobacco usage, "dipping" Skoal and
Copenhagen snuff we would "earn" from my friend's older brother. This was
the "cowboy" thing to do, plus was fairly easy to hide from the parents
after 2 or 3 pieces of gum afterwards. ;-) I continued dipping Skoal until
I turned 15 and got braces. I was no longer allowed to chew gum, and after
one disastrous experiment, found that Skoal was incredibly difficult to
remove from braces.
I began smoking cigarettes at the rate of three or four a week (Camel
non-filters). My first pipe surfaced around this time, when my friend Josh
produced two pipes and some tobacco (Velvet, I believe) out in the field as
we were feeding cattle. The smoke was long, luxurious, and enjoyable, but
left a lingering note that would be impossible to hide from parents who only
smoked cigarettes. I remained an occasional pipe smoker (once a month or
so) until I left for college.
Once in college, I became involved in various extra curricular activities,
both athletic and academic, and found that cigarettes and Skoal (my braces
were gone. Hurrah!!) were much more time efficient and suited to my
purposes. I still had the old pipe and some Velvet, and smoked it maybe
three times in three years.
One day at Wal-Mart (I was almost 19), I got a wild hair and purchased a $10
Grabow pipe and some Middleton's Cherry. For the next year, I smoked maybe
15 bowls a day out of that pipe, Middleton's, Prince Albert, Sir Walter
Raleigh, and Carter Hall. I finally scoffed at the "inconvenience" of the
pipe and returned full time to cigarettes and Skoal (1 pack + a day of
Marlboro Reds plus 1 can + of Skoal per week).
Flash forward to one year ago. I not only find out that my father-in-law is
a pipe smoker, but also that my dad used to smoke a pipe. I renew my
interest in the hobby, and search the internet for some "better way" to
enjoy this pastime. I inherit pipes from both dad and my father-in-law,
plus buying a couple myself. I find ASP and a whole new world is opened up
to me. I still smoke cigarettes at work and dip snuff (I'm working on that,
dammit) but exclusively enjoy a pipe while I'm at home. Oddly enough
(childhood memories???) my favorite blend thus far has been Prince Albert,
far outweighing all other blends, even the mighty Haddo's. Maybe it's due
to the smoke rings and stories?
"The road goes ever, ever on,
down from the door where it began,
Now far ahead the road has gone,
And I must follow if I can." J.R.R. Tolkein.