And why?

Sunday, June 19, 2011

As my Father before me

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.


  1. So good, dude. I wish I knew what London Dock was too, so I could be in on the joke.

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  3. WOW! did this hit home! Thank you for this writing, and bringing back memories. I too, share a lineage of pipe smokers, of course that is likely what inspired me to also.

    BTW: we use to make London Dock here in Richmond, VA.

    1. Hey Linwood, for some reason I never saw this comment but just wanted to say thanks and glad I could take you back home!