Thursday, June 30, 2011
Well I must apologize; The Daily Briar has not been so daily. Life has been busy the last couple of weeks due to traveling and well, life. But never fear for I will double my efforts to keep you up to date on my adventures in briar. I will leave you this evening with a picture I took last month while driving to New Orleans. We were passing through Bossier Louisiana when I spied this out of the corner of my eye and did an instant 180 degree turn because this I could not pass up. Oh, and it reminds me that I really need a churchwarden.
Sunday, June 19, 2011
I just want to take a moment on this Father’s day to mention my father and those pipe smokers in my family before me. Both of my grandfathers and my father were pipe smokers. My dad these days rarely smokes his pipes and usually goes for cigars, but I have many fond memories of watching him and taking in the images and aromas of his pipe. I never had the opportunity to know my grandfather on my dad’s side but have often treasured my dad’s tales of him. His health led him to move from the steel industry in Illinois to become a wheat farmer in Oklahoma and later retire to west Texas. He was a quiet, hardworking and straightforward kind of man and was often seen with his pipe. As for my other grandfather, I did have the opportunity to know. My oldest memories of him were of two things. Number one was the pipe that was always present with him and usually always burning. And two, the little fedora hats he wore with the feathers on the side stuck in the band. But mostly I remember the pipe and my fascination with it. He was an amazingly good man. His name was Homer and he stood a towering five foot five but commanded an admiration and respect seldom seen these days. He was an engineer for the Santa Fe railroad and due to my late, and unexpected, arrival into the world he had already retired when I was merely a baby so I was the only one of my siblings who never had the chance to take a ride with him. I look back fondly at that small man donning his plaid coat, fedora hat with feathers and puffing on one of his many well worn Dr. Grabows. And this tradition carried on to my father who would fill the air with that mesmerizing aroma emanating from his pipe. I recently asked my dad about the tobaccos they all smoked. He laughed and told me that his dad was a Velvet man and that my other grandfather was a Prince Albert man and that both made fun of him for smoking London Dock (to which I can find no reference of). I have found that what I once thought to be my story alone is actually shared by vast numbers of pipe smokers, that memory of dads, granddads and times gone by. It would probably be safe to assume that it was that reaching to the past, grasping for that nostalgic linking to those gone before us, that influenced us in so many ways, to pick up the pipe. I dream of times gone by and memories lived as a child looking to these great men before me, hoping to have even the smallest measure of impact that they had on so many. And with this, dad I wish you a happy Father’s day and hope you enjoy those AVO 85th Anniversary cigars.
Wednesday, June 15, 2011
Last weekend Kayla and I traveled to Dallas for a wedding and I took the opportunity to search the local pipe shops for a new addition to my collection. We found a shop in north Dallas called Up in Smoke to begin my quest. The shop had an incredible atmosphere and a superb pipe collection. After a quick study of all that lay before me my attention was drawn to a quaint Nording poker hiding in the back of the case. But all came to an abrupt stop when I mentioned to the sales lady that this would be my first Nording. Quickly she placed the pipe back in its proper space and reached for another. Turning to me she said “If you are going for your first Nording there is only one to start with” and presented me with an Erik Nording hand-made free form signature model crafted by the man himself. There sprawled across it was the legends signature. It was totally natural, no stain, no varnish, no finish at all just the natural aged beauty of the raw briar. The rim of the bowl still contained the rough outer portion of the briar totally untouched. I was love at first sight and I was sold. The sales lady went to the back to retrieve her own to show me the beautiful patina that the natural briar was taking on with each smoke. I finished off the visit with a tin of McClelland’s Frog Morton on the Bayou and left a most satisfied man to face the grueling Dallas traffic once again.
Friday, June 10, 2011
Well it’s been a winning kind of night all around, that is except for my screaming quad muscle. To start off my soccer team, the Shooting Blanks, gained some much needed vindication tonight after last weeks game by taking down the GeriHatricks, great team name, 5 to 3. And what better way to follow up a great win then a winning combination of pipe and tobacco? Tonight’s after game celebration consisted a beautiful duet staring Dunhill and Savaneli. The pipe of choice for tonight was a fairly new acquisition from Heroes and Legacies one of the local tobacconist here. It is a Heroes and Legacies signature model made by Savaneli and a truly beautiful pipe and smokes superbly. It is nicely rusticated with a translucent yellow lucite stem. The first time I saw this pipe in the store I, without giving it a second glance, quickly passed it by. But I found that it began to slowly creep into my mind over the next couple of weeks. And strangely enough my intrigue with grew. I soon returned to give it a closer inspection and moments later it was mine, a proud new member of the family. Not to disparage my other pipes, this one has quickly climbed the ranks and become one of my favorite smokers. As for the other half of this night’s equation, the renowned Dunhill Nightcap fit the bill flawlessly. I just recently acquired my first tin of night cap and have enjoyed in a many of nights since. With its well balanced yet distinguished mellowness it makes for a perfect conclusion to this victorious night. And with that I bid a good night to you all.
Sunday, June 5, 2011
While out perusing the local antique shops today, as my wife and I often do, I came across this little treasure. And I do mean little! At first sight of it I immediately thought it to be a novelty or possibly an advertising piece but upon closer inspection I found it to be a fully functioning oddity of the briar type. If you can’t get the size perspective from the included pic, it measures a grand 3 ½ inches in length with an outer bowl diameter of ¾ inches. It is marked “Wally Frank, imported briar”. When I removed the stem it contained one of those wicked looking metal filters that are often found on old pipes. And yes, in case you have all been wondering, it had been smoked. I was able to search and find a small bit of information on Wally Frank pipes but found no mention of this pint sized marvel. So unless I hold conclusive proof of the existence of leprechauns, I would be glad to glean any insight you could throw my direction. Regardless, it is now a proud addition to my collection.