Our local pipe club, The Ozark Pipe Smokers (TOPS), met again last week. Great meeting, as usual. Great bunch of guys, smoking the pipe weed and shooting the bull, and in between trying to wedge in a few minutes of "business" in order to give at least a gloss of official necessity to the whole thing. We sat indoors for a while, but the weather was so amazingly perfect that we went outside and smoked on the sidewalk by the cobblestone street, looking like a bunch of over-age delinquents, loitering, unsettling the citizens and corrupting the youth with our public display of vice.
I managed to trade a small pipe painting for a nicely reconditioned GBD Topaz pipe (pictured at right) and a tin of Dunhill London Mixture. I also won, in our monthly raffle, another "estate" pipe, a heavily used Ben Wade Standard (and there was much rejoicing).
The Ben Wade needs plenty of work to get it reconditioned, but that will be fun. I got lots of free advice on how to go about it properly, and look forward to fiddling with it in my spare time. I've got enough pipes now that I can begin to think of it as the beginnings of a "collection".
The next day I bought enough tobacco to last me for months or maybe years (at the rate I smoke), but I have learned that one of the advantages to having a surplus of tobacco is that it leaves you plenty to share with others. The guys in the pipe club are very generous with theirs... this last meeting I tried the London Mixture as well as a blend called A Shortcut to Mushrooms.
Don't worry, there were no real mushrooms in it.
One of our members, an avid fly fisherman, is involved in a fund raising event that supports a program called Reel Recovery, which provides fly fishing getaways for those fighting cancer at various stages. Check it out and consider giving them your support (visit the Reel Recovery website).