Thursday, December 23, 2010

What I unpacked first

Ever the inefficient man, what did I unpack first out of the many boxes that are filling the new house?  My pipe rack, which I put in a place of honor on the mantle of the room that is intended to be my headquarters.  A memento from my days in New London, Conn. was also in the box, a street sign that I DID NOT break off but happened to find in the nick of time to squirrel away.  It is a treasured possession but if the city wants it back I will do so.

As you can see, I have an empty room full of boxes and no furniture but I figure I have to mark my territory.  What's a pipe rack without pipes?  I unwrapped all the pipes and put them in place.  Then I put the tins of tobacco where they belong.  Even though the room is empty it already feels homier.
I foresee a real gentleman's sanctuary here with two overstuffed chairs and a jackalope's head on the wall.  There will be a desk to one side where I do real work but the rest of the room will be dedicated to musty books and souvenirs from past adventures and misadventures as well as inspirational knickknacks that will spur testosterone-fueled daydreams of future escapades.

It will be a place where I can settle in and read the newspaper and make lonely, important decisions after a bout of brooding contemplation.  I'll also share a brandy or scotch with a fellow traveller while we wear our silk smoking jackets.  "I say, did you see the ponies at the Fairgrounds yesterday?" I'll say to my guest.  "It isn't the season for mudders," he'll reply and then we'll talk about the arts scene in Bywater and real estate investments in the Ninth Ward.  Then he'll ask, apropos of nothing, "Where did you bag that jackalope, exactly?" during a lull in the conversation.  My answer: Montana.

He'll look over my pipe rack, something of which I'm very proud even though I know there are collections that make mine look like a rattlebag of seconds and discards.
Too many corn cob pipes for some people's tastes but a cob is faithful go-to pipe that is made in the good old U.S. of A., light on the wallet and as durable as the USS Constitution.  He may admire the green Peterson Irish Sea (the one with the double silver band, a bent, Holmesian pipe) and he may pick up a few of the briar pipes, cradling them in his hands and testing the balance.  He may even open the harmonica box and ask me if I play.  No, I just noodle between smokes.  I'll improvise a tune to prove it.

I hate to move.  I was honorably discharged from the military before retirement because I hated relocating every few years.  I've batted about New England recently, much more than I feel comfortable with, and find myself now in a different world altogether.  Now, in a brief six months, I have turned from renter to New Orleans home owner and direct payer of property taxes.  I'm not moving again any time soon.  Have pipe, will settle.

Pipe smokers like to sit and contemplate, don't they?  I'll be perched on my front stoop watching the world go by with my pipe collection and tobacco tins a door's width and a few steps away.  The plan is all in place.  Let the calendar pages turn.  On my first day of unpacking, I knew what was important.  I unpacked that box first and carefully arranged its contents where they should be, where they belong, and where I can reach them.

If you want to learn more about pipe smoking and what makes it so seductive to a certain kind of person (myself and many others included), please investigate the Pipe Smokers' Forum.  It will answer the questions of the curious and expand the horizons of the converted.


Ted said...

Great start ther WHK! Have fun in your new digs..Mardi Gras is just around the corner!


Whalehead King said...

Thanks, Ted. I'm looking forward to Mardi Gras...haven't experienced it yet. I understand the season officially begins on Jan. 6 and I'm looking forward to getting in the swing of things.


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