“And it was comfort in those succeeding days to sit up and contemplate the majestic panorama of mountains and valleys spread out below us and eat ham and hard boiled eggs while our spiritual natures revelled alternately in rainbows, thunderstorms, and peerless sunsets. Nothing helps scenery like ham and eggs. Ham and eggs, and after these a pipe--an old, rank, delicious pipe--ham and eggs and scenery, a "down grade," a flying coach, a fragrant pipe and a contented heart--these make happiness. It is what all the ages have struggled for”. –Mark Twain
Without a doubt one of my favorite pipe smokers would have to be Samuel Clemens, aka Mark Twain. I don’t’ exactly recall how old I was the day my father brought home to me my first real book, but I know that I was quite young. That book was “The Adventures of Tom Sawyer”. Now I of course had other books before that time but I would hardly consider them to be books of substance and certainly not ones that I would forever carry their very essence with me. But this book would instill within me a never ceasing sense of my connection and disconnection to the world around me. It played man at his highest and lowest moments and left me yearning for a distant life in Hannibal Missouri along that great river. These feelings came rushing over me this summer as I stood at the banks of that mighty river for the first time in my life, behind me stood a grand plantation with ghostly oaks towering overhead and the fields around it bursting forth with sugar cane and perique. Time almost stood still or in my mind even began to reverse. It would be safe to say that I definitely have a romantic fondness for the nostalgic, to look back at the people and places long gone and to find my own place in this tapestry of time. Reading Mark Twain takes me there. Now to the endorsement I set out to bring to you. If you too have a love for the life and writings of Mark Twain then let me suggest, “PBS Mark Twain; A Film by Ken Burns”. I found it to be extraordinary. And you can stream it in all its three hours of glory on Netflix.