Then I was introduced to a couple of college students who also enjoyed the Pipe. They are great guys and smoke mostly aromatics. It has been such a joy to expose them to some new tobaccos and watch them suck on their pipes like it was a speed smoking event. In turn, they give me a hard time for the fact that they will smoke three or four bowls to my one. Hey, I like to enjoy the taste...is that such a crime ;) ?
I am thankful for my new pipe smoking buddies, there is a reality that pipe smoking is better when shared. I never find myself wishing that I had not given away a bowl or two of tobacco, even a whole bag, when the fellowship and conversation is good. Coffee seems to have this power, perhaps a cigar, Bible study clearly promotes it, but there is something to be said for the simple reality that there seem to be too few things that encourage community, conversation, laughter, and the like. Most activities that I see today (television, movies, internet, reading, etc.) seem to draw people deeper into isolation. Why are there things that are better said over a pipe?
An Australian friend once alluded to the pipe as a "prop" for conversation. I like the theatrical feel of that, but I feel like there is a reality that is far more genuine. It gives us something to do when the conversation has a gap, something to default to, "my this does taste nice...". It does seem odd that we need a less important reason (pipe smoking) to get together and do something infinitely more important (sharing stories, struggles, life, etc.). But there it is. It saddens me that those less important things seem to fall out of vogue for even less important things (ipods, internets, computers, televisions, movies, etc.) that don't have the added benefit of directing us toward something better.
Thus, I am all the more thankful for my cadre of gentlemen who enjoy being a part of the brotherhood of the briar!