Right around the time the leaves started changing, I was taking a walk through the neighborhood and I stopped by a yard sale. Among the flotsam and jetsam piled on the folding tables--the old books, board games and brick-a-brac--I found a wooden box of worn old pipe bowls. Next to the box was this brass pelican.
I picked up the weighty bird and asked the old man tending to the sale what it was for. "It's a pipe holder!" he barked. The bird's wing had an emblem reading "Daytona Beach, Florida" on it. It turned out that all those old pipes were his father's.
This was literally the same day that my 10-month old had finally started to go to sleep at 7pm, which left me with three full hours of "me time" in the evenings. I could think of nothing better than sitting on my porch with a big glass of red wine (or scotch), a pair of warm slippers, a pipe full of fragrant tobacco and my thoughts.
I bought the pelican and a pipe for $5 bucks.
The first time I smoked it, my wife almost ejected me from our bed, my hair, breath and skin smelled so pungent. She literally asked if I had snuck out to The Tube during the hour that I was outside the house. The next morning, I awoke with a sore throat the feeling that I spent the night licking the floor of a brothel. Not the best way to face a fresh-faced baby.
Since then, the pipe and pelican sit on my desk, a reminder that I can (and will) give it another try. I have to admit that I sometimes chew on the stem when I'm trying to channel Mark Twain... like now for instance... and usually it doesn't work.