As an eight year pipe-smoker, I have found my pipes to be vastly better companions than cigars. Cigars are celebratory. I never turn down cigars on birthdays and the birth of children (one of many reasons I hope to have many more).
Recently, a parishioner I helped move gave me a fine Macanudo Maduro. It was a fine cigar. The oily dark chocolate wrapper almost made me want to eat it. The cigar produces a creamy smoke. Really, quite delightful. I took a walk yesterday with my son and the walk was deeply more enjoyable because of this beauty. But I love pipes more.
In the introduction to the Pipe Smoker by Lewis Camp he writes:
Pipe smokers constitute a group of a most special kind. They have not succumbed to the almost universal practice of cigarette smoking, and they have remained, without trying, a solidly male group.
Well, there you have it. Pipe smoking is a male thing. I love the unmatched maleness of a Peterson. I love the tobacco smell and flavor. I love the ceremonial nature of packing tobacco into a pipe. And I love the observations of complete strangers as they marvel at the odor from heaven.
I read recently the story of William Faulkner. William and his dad never had a good relationship. One great disagreement between the two came over a pipe: The story goes as follows told by the beautiful folks at PipeMagazine.com:
One night after supper, the family headed to the front porch to relax and tell stories, as was customary in the Deep South. Faulkner’s father, Murry Cuthbert, a cigar smoker, mentioned that he had heard that William had begun to smoke. Faulkner confessed that, yes, he had indeed become a smoker, and he took out his pipe to prove it.
But Murry then handed his son a cigar which Faulkner promptly broke in two, putting half in his coat pocket. He then unraveled the other half and stuffed it into his pipe. His father never offered his son tobacco again.
William Faulkner, one of the greatest writers of the 20th century, continued to smoke a pipe for the rest of his life, and most old photographs taken of him show him with a pipe, confirming his use of tobacco.
His favorite tobaccos were My Mixture 965, in the fancy tin with broad red letters, A10528 by Dunhill, and Prince Albert when he was out of the others. Even years after his death, when his home at Rowan Oak had been turned into a museum, curators found cans of Prince Albert in the closets.
I will begin this Church Year enjoying my pipe more so than in previous years. I will leave cigars to special events and will shape my academy and introspection by the clouds of incense/smoke from my inseparable pipes.