The Thoughts of a Frumpy Professor

............................................ ............................................ A blog devoted to the ramblings of a small town, middle aged college professor as he experiences life and all its strange variances.

Tuesday, June 04, 2019

The Lost is Found!

Hmm.  It has been an exceedingly interesting last couple of days.  The image above is of a Dr. Grabow pipe.  These pipes were/are inexpensive pipes and not always the best quality.  I have had several over the years and they are generally decent.  

But, the particular Dr. Grabow pipe I want to tell you about has a long, interesting story tied to it....

The pipe originally looked like the one above, but over the 25+ years I have owned this particular pipe, it has become what I kindly refer to as a "ratpipe".  Basically, it is a pipe that has been beat up and "treated roughly" over the years.  It has become rather rough looking and shows its wear abundantly.  When I first acquired this pipe, I remember the first incident that started the pipe on its journey to be a "ratpipe".  I had been out-of-doors golfing with a few friends and had been smoking the pipe while golfing.  I needed to knock out the ashes from the bowl so that I could refill the pipe with tobacco, and without thinking started to knocked the pipe on the heel of my shoe.  This is something  I did sometimes when out-of-doors... especially if the pipe was just an "average" pipe.  Well, I wasn't really thinking about it.... but because I was golfing I had on golf shoes with metal spikes (common back in the day).  Even though I was not particularly harsh or aggressive in knocking out the ashes, I must have struck a spike just right... and a sizable chunk of the outer edge of the bowl broke off.  The bowl remained intact.... but it was an ugly looking chunk missing.  This was the start of the pipe becoming a "ratpipe".... a pipe that was used when appearance of the pipe did not matter in the least.  It became my primary pipe when doing yard work, puttering around the garage, gardening, painting various parts of the house, or doing anything that was messy or likely to involve a lot of dirt or grime.  

Over the next few years, this pipe became more the worse for wear.  Fairly heavy teeth marks like the stem from where I had clenched onto the pipe more robustly than I should have while navigating around branches and low hanging bushes while cutting the lawn.  The bowl became more scratched and rough looking from occasionally clattering to the cement garage floor while I was working on things.  It really looked like hell, but it did not really matter... it was my "ratpipe".  And, it was nothing but an average smoking pipe....

In fact, and this was probably about 15 or so years ago... I had let the pipe sit for probably a few weeks on a shelf in my garage, and had forgotten to knock out the ashes when I had set it down.  Because of my carelessness, it had acquired a rather stubborn plug in the shank near the bowl.  Wanting to use the pipe, but not having any pipe cleaners handy, I tried to disldge the "plug" with an awl (too big) and other long, thin objects I could find (such as trying with the inner shaft of a Bic pen (too broad again), a long pine needle (not long enough to reach without breaking and further complicating the issue) and even a drill bit (just a bit (pun intended) too damn big as well).  

I then suddenly had the "brilliant" idea that I could actually drill out the plug with the bit in the drill.  I figured... what the hell... it was nothing special, if I messed up and broke it... no real big loss.  So I did.  And I did not break the shank.

And, lo-and behold... increasing slightly the diameter of the draw hole through the shank of this little, fussy, Dr. Grabow "ratpipe".... ended up transforming the beast into one of the most reliably pleasant smoking pipes I had!  It was not fussy and rarely if ever needed much in the way of cleaning, and it produced the richest, thickest, coolest smoke.   From that time, I truly appreciated and enjoyed my little "ratpipe" with all my around the house tasks!  It was both ugly AND beautiful now. 

That is.... until three Summers ago.  I had been cutting the lawn with my "ratpipe" and I was pretty certain I had stuffed it in my shirt pocket while I was doing something or other in the yard.  I then didn't think about it for a few hours, but when I did.... it was nowhere to be found!  It was NOT in my shirt pocket.  I remember being in the garage for a bit, so I looked around on my workbench.... it wasn't there either.  So then, I thought for certain that (horror) it fell out of my pocket while I was leaning over somewhere in the yard doing some yard work.  I spent many long hours tracing my steps all throughout the yard, hoping that I would find the beast laying in the grass somewhere.... to no avail.  I never saw the pipe again.  I presumed it had been crushed or run over by the lawn mower, or perhaps it was accidentally fell into a bag of long gone collected leaves or other yard rubbish.  

That is what I had presumed.... until Sunday afternoon.  

I was working on some additional cleaning in the garage, and I decided to try to sweep a bit better around my one workbench.  I nudged the workbench a bit, and heard a clatter onto the floor.  I presumed it was a screwdriver or something similar that had been sitting on the bench, but....

it was the "ratpipe"!!!!!!!!

Apparently, I had set it down on the edge of the workbench those three years ago and it must have fallen off the edge and gotten stuck between the side of the bench and the wall I had the bench up against.  When I nudged the bench a bit for sweeping, it was enough to allow the pipe to fall free!!!!!!

Ever since yesterday, I have been thinking about my ratpipe.  I must admit, finding it has awakened some pretty deep yearnings to smoke a bowl or two of burley leaf.  

I just do not know.




Blogger Anvilcloud said...

That is quite a history.

Tuesday, 04 June, 2019  
Blogger BBC said...


Wednesday, 05 June, 2019  
Blogger Geo. said...

I know the drill, Prof. Occasionally I go out to the pumphouse to do some bench work and run across an old pipe lost years ago. I then find myself prodding its bowl --looking for anything remotely combustible.

Wednesday, 05 June, 2019  
Blogger jenny_o said...

That is a wonderful tale! Enjoy the memories, frame the ratpipe in a shadow box frame, and keep on with your healthier ways :)

Wednesday, 05 June, 2019  
Blogger JACKIESUE said...

great story

Thursday, 06 June, 2019  

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