When did this become such a hated item? I strongly feel, despite the so-called expert's reports, that more people suffer from the tiny particles of car exhaust on the freeways every day than suffer from 'second-hand smoke' (it's no coincidence that the highest rates of lung cancer in the US are centered around smog-filled cities and not smoker-filled areas like the deep South). I'm just old enough to remember the days before tobacco was a crime against nature. I have known (and still know, actually) many, many smokers; and all of them are ripe and old. I suppose it's not good to inhale tar and smoke, but the lungs are one of the fastest-healing organs in the human body and can take moderate abuse if you live an otherwise healthy life. In this spirit, I have determined to enjoy my pipe a few time a week.
I was a cigarette smoker back in my early twenties and gave it up chiefly because my girlfriend at the time hated the smell. I gave up cigarettes quite easily; I'm fortunate that caffeine, not nicotine, is my addiction. Well, I went a few years without tobacco until my Uncle gave me one of his pipes (a handsome Danish apple...which needed to have the stem replaced) and I've been enjoying pipe smoking ever since.
More comforting than nicotine is the process of loading and lighting my pipe. It was invaluable to me during my youngest daughter's first year, when the little darling was wailing her head off whilst my wife was trying desperately to breastfeed. With nothing to do but go crazy, I took my pipe and went onto the back patio and forced myself to relax. Mostly it worked. An interesting aside: there were many times that I simply loaded the pipe and stuck it into my mouth, unlit, and just the process of it all relaxed me. These days, thankfully, the necessity of my pipe as a relaxation tool has greatly diminished.
Tobacco. So what kind do I prefer? Dunhill's My Mixture 965. I stumbled across this blend at the local tobacconist and now rarely put anything else in my pipes. Another interesting aside: apparently this blend was J.R.R Tolkien's favorite. That man is a hero of sorts to me and to find a similar taste in tobacco was a good thing. Latakia, Macedonia and Cavendish are blended to perfection in MM 965. At the other end of the spectrum is good old Captain Black. I say other end in reputation only because I quite enjoy the almost pure, sweet, aromatic Cavendish in the Captain Black. Many pipe-smokers, me included, have fond memories of a father or uncle smoking Captain Black and we try to catch those youthful days in the wispy smoke of it.
Well, I'm off to bed.