Right here, right now! Top ten things to do while smoking my pipe. This is not quite so easily done as I may have originally thought. Each point needs an explanation. So here is the format: The thing I like to do while smoking a pipe, the pipe that may be most fitted to that (if applicable) and the tobacco that is most fitted to that activity (if applicable).
10. Mowing the lawn - I like mowing the lawn. Having as many children as I do the lawn mowing is a time when I can turn on my headphones and have fully legitimate "I can't hear you" time. That being said mowing the lawn is just physical enough that I become a bit less cognizent of my pipe, and tend to smoke a bit too fast, or take a bit less care than usual in my tamping. Thus tongue bite nearly always ensues. For this task? No questions asked. The corn cob (usually the legend, sometimes the general), and almost always the OTC that I have on hand that is freshest. Usually this is carter hall, las mow happend to be Velvet. Very nice.
9. Shoveling snow - not unrelated, though sometimes a bit less comfortable. It doesn't snow rediculous amounts in Colorado terribly often, so these are still times to be enjoyed. As with lawn mowing this task will very commonly give a case of the tongue bite, but a bit less so for two reasons: firstly, I smoke nicer tobacco when I undertake this task. Usually a latakia blend. For some reason, just as I like cheap mass produced beer in the summer I like OTC burley blends in the summer. IN the winter I am always thinking fuller flavor and beefier products to ward off the cold. Edwards bulk Balkan blend fits the bill perfectly here, Christmas Cheer by McClellands. Also Dunhill's London Mixture. My favorite pipe for this task? Usually a bent pipe, but not a nice bent pipe, one of my restored pipes. I would destroy a nice one as the entire task involves a clenched pipe.
8. Driving - Some say that they cannot drive and smoke their pipe. If I choose my pipe and tobacco correctly then this is not a problem. I live in a smaller town not too far from the bigger town. However, if I am making a trip down to the big city a pipe is very often in order. Generally a pipe, well lit and correctly smoked will take me nearly the entire hour to the edge of the big city at which point the pipe would be an unneccesary distraction. For this task? One of my favorite three-quarter bent pipes (usually one of the ones that my wife picked out for me) and for the tobacco something that is going to provide a substantial experience. This is not the place for aromatics, this should be the big guns and the complex experience that should make a long straight drive interesting.
7. Music - Next, listening to music. Generally when I get to recline and smoke I do not put on music. This is because I like to listen to all of the other things going on. However, when I am smoking in my car music must be chosen. This always makes me wonder why I don't smoke and listen to music more often. No answer yet coming. What do I listen to? Great question. When I am smoking my pipe I tend to listen to Baroque music. Vivaldi and Bach being the leaders. This is my favorite period of music anyway, so there is not much competition. However, I also will enjoy some Irish folk music and drinking songs. Pipe and pouch? This depends entirely on the pipe I chose, and the tobacco I am smoking, and very possibly the clothes I am wearing...too many factors to be sure.
6. Fishing - This is a lump catagory. I love smoking in nature. It makes me feel like I am doing my part ot be a part of the scene. I flyfish almost exclusively so it is a bit more involved. That means MOST of the pipe smoking that I enjoy is on a break between casts. Watching the water, listening to the river. Enjoying the absolute freedom from cel reception. Great things, these. This is a situation where I will generally (again) be found with a pipe that I would not be too heartbroken to lose. Often time these are the moments that I will be found smoking som of my favorite aromatics. Black Watch from Edwards in Denver and Black Gold (or BG Plus) from Hilands.
5. Walking - I do love a walk. These days, with all of the little people under five at my house a walk is a bit more of a production than is all that nice. However, this is another situation where a pipe is a great friend. Being a ble to amble along and enjoy a pipe is a great pleasure. With children this gives tonguebite. Again, this is a situation for aromatics (for the sake of anyone who may be walking near, behind or alongside me). Favorites? Black Watch and Black Gold again! However, when I am feeling adventurous: Irish Blessing by C&D's and others of that nature. Usually lightly topped, as a big chemical mouthful isn't exactly my style.
4. Reading - Yup. This one was almost too easy. If I am able to smoke in the light I can burn through several bowls while working through a novel, a fantasy, a bit of theology, or just my Bible. So many wonderful choices. Reading is something that is just made better by a good pipe. This gets more free because the less demanding the situation the more likely that I will pull out a larger variety of both pipes and tobaccos. However, honorable mention in this catagory will by my Armellini Churchwarden. But much depends on the size of the book that I am reading.
3. Drinking - This one will have a great deal of domain overlap with some of the other catagories. However, it seems like nearly everything can be made to go well with a pipe. It adds a whole new dimension to the wonderful beverages I enjoy. One of these is coffee. I roast my own coffee and, while I don't roast at anything like a professional level, it does give me a great sense of familiarity with my coffees. Where they come from, what kind of roast is on them, how many days removed from the roasting process I am. However, there are coffees that are just too powerful for any pipe tobacco in my collection and that means that not every coffee has a pipe tobacco match for me. However, this is not the case with tea. Tea has a much lighter flavor profile and I have never foudn a tea that I couldn't enjoy alongside some tobacco or another when properly considered. I have many great tea loves. Just black teas are great. I particularly enjoy Irish Breakfast and Darjeelings with lighter Cavendish type blends. Beers. Every beer has a match. But I can see I am getting distracted from my point. Matching drinking experiences to smoking expereinces is a great pleasure for me.
2. Talking - I love talking. I love fellowship. I love discussing things that are near and dear to myself and others whom I care about. Some of my finest Bible study and theologically related discussions have occured over a pipe. For some reason te=he pipe diffuses the initial awckwardness of opening up a deep discussion topic, or a topic that may make a person feel particularly vulnerable. Thus, I try to make pipe smoking a regular part of most of my meaningful fellowships. It is a bond and connection that doesn't require a great deal of affirmation or discussion, it is an easy and simple pleasuer that must be taken as the perfect companion to deep discussion. The other great advantage of smoking while talking is the very important reality that if you have a pipe there is no NEED to talk. Thus, wieghty statements that need to be well considered can be considered well before another statement is placed in response. This is of great value in any good discussion.
1. Praying - Most of my best smoking is done alone. It is best because I am not distracted from anything else. Perhaps a drink, but that starts to add too many factors and I start thinking about the act itself. Prayer over a pipe is the must open and vulnerable prayer that I often have. As I talk to the Lord about my concerns, joys, trials, pleasures I amd reminded that He has given me this amazing capacity to enjoy that which He has made. This is very valuable indeed.
So there you have it. The top ten things I do with my pipe. What do you do with yours?