Whatever Happened to Smoking Pipes?

Whenever a doctor asks me if I smoke, I’m delighted to say no. But when he asks if I’ve ever smoked, I have to smile. Yes, I used to smoke a pipe. I quit thirty or thirty-five years ago, and I never smoked in what I considered a health-endangering way.

I loved the smell. Cherry-blend and walnut were my two favorite scents. I couldn’t stand to have smoke in my mouth–needless to say, I have no idea what inhaling pipe smoke would be like–and I sucked in only while lighting up. Otherwise, I blew the smoke out the bowl as if it were an adult bubble pipe.

Many kids go wild when they go off to college, but pipe smoking was probably the worst form of rebellion I ever tried. Needless to say, I never smoked when I went home to my parents’ house, and seldom did I smoke in public. I suppose I had at least a slight feeling that even pipe smoking wasn’t how I wanted people to picture me.

I had an interesting collection of pipes, but I want to mention one in particular. But let me point out first that I never smoked marijuana, nor was I ever around anyone who did.

I lived about sixty miles from Ocean City, Maryland, for a number of years, and once while looking at various shops along the boardwalk, I saw this really neat-looking little pipe. I had no idea what a toke was–or that that’s what that little pipe was. Because of its size and shape, I didn’t think it would make a good smoking pipe, but I thought it would be interesting to add to my collection.

So it sat there on the wooden pipe stand, collecting dust.

But then Jeff Coleman, one of the sons of my pastor, was visiting my apartment. He saw the toke and apparently recognized it for what it was. He didn’t say anything, but did his eyes ever light up. I didn’t think to ask why, but at some later date I found out about tokes–selling them openly in Ocean City had become illegal by then–and promptly threw it away.

Jeff, if you should see this post, please be assured that I have never used illegal drugs or any kind and I feel horrible about giving you that wrong impression.

I’m not sure exactly how old I was when I decided to quit smoking a pipe, but even these many years later I still miss the wonderful smells of my two favorite pipe tobaccos. But protecting my health and setting a good example for others are more important, and I honestly couldn’t imagine having the leftover smell hanging around the house forever.

Yes, I have an incense burner, and I use it maybe once a year–or every two years. But it’s just not the same.

What about you? Do you have any favorite ex-habits you’d like to make a comment about? We’d love to see them. Uh, the comments. Not necessarily the habits. *LOL*


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Best regards,

Smoke Gets in My Face

Some of you are old enough to recall the song “Smoke Gets in Your Eyes.” It was written in 1933, long before I was born, but I have a recording of it by The Platters.

I don’t know about YOUR eyes, but smoke in my eyes is a problem–and actually only a small part of the problem.

I didn’t used to be allergic to tobacco smoke. In fact, I smoked a pipe and an occasional Swisher Sweet cigar for some years in my early young adult years before deciding I didn’t need to do those things anymore. The smoke itself was never an issue.

The same was true when my desk was just across the aisle from the normally open door of the assistant office manager, who was permitted to smoke in his office.

But somewhere along the way, my body started reacting to cigarette smoke. My head would get all stuffy, and I’d get a whopper headache that only a good night’s sleep could get rid of.

So I took full advantage of the “No Smoking” areas that restaurants were finally required to provide. I soon learned which  restaurants didn’t adequately separate the two areas and avoided them. And–boy!–did I rejoice when restaurants and other businesses were finally prevented from allowing smoking inside at all.

So you would think my problem with smoke has gone away.

I wish!

Many is the time I’ve had to close my window or sun roof because of the smoke drifting in from the car next to me at a red light. If I’m running inside a store for just a few seconds, I’d rather not bother to close windows or roof, but I’ve learned that people standing around the parking lot near my car can leave it stinking pretty badly.

This problem came to a head recently when I approached the drive-through at my neighborhood Sonic Drive-in just as the person in front of me tossed her cigarette–not the butt, but two-thirds of a whole cigarette–to the base of the intercom pole, where it burned its way lazily while I sat there with my window down waiting for someone to take my order.

It was certainly not Sonic’s fault that they were super-busy at the moment and it took several minutes for that to happen. But that meant I had to keep my window open–else I might’ve missed hearing the request for my order–and try to keep from breathing the smoke that seemed to prefer my car interior rather than the open air.

When I got to the window to pick up my order, I mentioned the incident to the young lady inside, and she said smokers frequently end up blowing smoke in her face while picking up and paying for their orders. Ugh! I conceded that she had it worse than me.

My mother suffered from emphysema without ever having smoked a day in her life. But she grew up with a father and brothers who did smoke. I’m thankful there’s so much concern now about secondhand smoke.

But smoking laws should be stricter still. Smokers should  be limited to closed in areas that affect only them. No smoking around children or adults that way.

Smokers’ rights? Ask me if I care. Their rights end where mine begin.

If you’re a smoker, this post is nothing personal. Not against you. Just against your habit and the way many smokers affect the rest of us.

I’m not pretending to have presented a balanced view of smoking. If you have a comment, please leave it.


I’ll be back again on Sunday. If you’d like to receive my posts by email, go to “Follow Blog via Email” at the upper right.

“On Aging Gracelessly” is only one of my two blogs. I post lyrics of the Christian songs I’ve written over the last fifty years on  “As I Come Singing.” Check it out HERE if you’re interested.  Free lead sheets (tune, words, and chords) are available for many of them. View the list HERE.

My new novel, The Devil and Pastor Gus, is available at Amazon. Look for it HERE.

Best regards,