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.

Sunday, February 26, 2023

Bon Vieux Temps - D

Believe me, I know this description of my Chicago trip should have been something I would have fully gotten onto paper far, far long ago.  I do very much prefer to try to live a life that is far more linear and consistent than my life happens to be of late.  But, the way chaos sometimes looms around these parts..... or perhaps I should say.... the way chaos can sometimes throw me off track into far too many tangential routes..... is not something I have figured out how to regulate better.  My apologies.

When I last was writing of this wonderful trip I had to Chicago (if anyone is interested, it was a post I finished on December 29th).  I had been talking and looking around inside the beautiful Iwan Ries & Company shop.... an amazing, traditional, brings back so many memories kind of tobacconist and pipe shop.... and the fellow in the shop I had been talking with had offered me the opportunity to sample a bowlful of the beautiful, aromatic Ries "Three Star Blue" pipe tobacco.  Here is the last of that post, before I continue:

He paused again for a moment (he was talking about the single smoking violation citation the store received).  "But that was the only one we ever got, and I think it happened the first week of that ban.  But it was dismissed.  We're the only store on the second floor, so no one really cares.  Hell, we have several of Chicago's Finest who are loyal customers, and they smoke their pipes or cigars here like everyone else."

Reaching up toward the top of the counter, he tipped the glass sampling canister containing the loose "Three Star Blue"  towards me.  "Try a bowlful before you buy."

* * * * *

The idea of actually trying a bowlful of the beautifully scented leaf was something that I truly did want to do.  I had thought that it was not going to be possible, so I had actually relegated it to the back of my mind, however.  Now, with the option open again, I was unprepared for making the choice.

If I did try it, it would be the first bowl of pipe tobacco I had smoked in nearly five years.  Would it be as wonderful and delightful as I hoped?  Or, would it be mundane, or worse yet..... unpleasant?  And, if I DID try it, would it be akin to failure on my part in terms of what I said I would do?  Or, would it be simply a bowlful of pipe tobacco to enjoy?  Would I feel remorse if I did indulge?   Would it be a slippery slope.... akin to an alcoholic falling off the wagon?  If I did smoke a bowlful, would I no longer have the fortitude or resolve to refrain again after this bowlful? 

I did not know the answer to any of the above questions.  They all came into my mind like a flood of water, obliterating other thoughts.  

I must have been lost in thought for several moments, as the storekeep, still holding the tilted jar towards me, jiggled the jar a little bit indicating by the motion that I should make a decision of some sort.  

I brought my hand, holding onto my pipe towards the jar.  Reaching inside the jar with my paw, my index finger moved in the natural arcs I had done so many thousands of times before, and I was able to expertly and easily fill the bowl of my pipe with a loosely firm supply of the leaf.  It was truly second nature to me, even not having done so in so many years.  

I stuck the stem of the pipe into my mouth, thinking I could possibly just walk to another part of the room and look at some of the other pipes on display, and contemplate my ultimate choice.  As I started to turn, he gave me a box of the store's matches.  

I walked over to the display of the estate pipes for sale.  There were many beautiful pipes there, several were of a similar brand and style to what I had at home.  Still holding the stem of the pipe between my teeth, I pushed the little blue box open, and saw the matches.  They were rather quite delicate.  Each wooden stick was significantly thinner than the typical kitchen match, and instead of a large red or green head, these matches had a rather small, bluish head on them.  

I immediately recognized that these matches were "Swan Vista" matches, which are considered to be especially high quality matches.  They tend to be prefered by pipe smokers because they


Blogger Unknown said...

Such a tease you are, Professor! I know you'll come back to your pipes someday, but I doubt you ended up indulging at Iwan Ries. Looking forward to the rest of the story, though!

Sunday, 26 February, 2023  
Blogger Anvilcloud said...

That is you being bad — about the cliffhanger, I mean.

If you didn’t indulge, it would be a bit like going to a restaurant, gazing at everyone elese’s plates, and then just leaving. Like Unkown, I suspect that is what you did. But we shall see.

Sunday, 26 February, 2023  
Blogger Margaret said...

You should write those cliffhangers for TV finales! I suspect you didn't indulge in spite of the temptation. That's my bet anyway!

Sunday, 26 February, 2023  

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