My Pipe Is A 'Time Machine'

I may be way off base, but in my opinion pipe smokers are a nostalgic lot with a deep respect for traditions.

We each have a starting point - the day we packed our first bowl and decided to become a pipe smoker. It may have been little more than a whim or attempt to wean yourself off cigarettes, but in the case of many, the aroma of tobacco triggered fond memories from our past - a grandfather, father, or favorite uncle you associated with pipe smoking piqued your interest and prompted you to take up the pipe. That visual and olfactory experience indelibly etched itself into your mind as he appeared with pipe firmly clenched between his teeth and an aromatic cloud wafted around his head. Then with the passage of time as whiskers sprouted from your chin, transforming you from boy to man, you opted to carry on the tradition and bought your first pipe.

To the vast majority pipe smoking is a dated unfashionable trend quickly fading from modern society. Yet for the nostalgic pipe smoker its an opportunity to reconnect in some small way with the people of our past, time traveling back to simpler times.

When left to my own devises - a packed pipe, a pack of matches, and an empty room becomes the mechanism for H.G. Wells "Time Machine". There are no toggle switches or levers to pull to activate the controls, the simple act of striking the match and drawing in that first puff is the ignition key.

When alone in my "man cave/garage/smoking parlor" I seldom contemplate the future - quite the opposite - I reflect on the past. I get my fill of the turbulent present and our bleak future from my television. My sanctuary is where I come to decompress and exorcise those pesky demons of the airwaves that clutter up my brain and feed my phobias.

In my case its probably easier than most to activate my Time Machine and escape to the past. When I open the garage door and peer outside the first thing I see is the house where I grew up during my junior high through high school years. Once I got married I built my house directly across the street from my parents home. They may have long since moved away ... but many memories still reside in that house - some pleasant ... some not so. But its the pleasant memories that dominate my thoughts while smoking. And although the neighborhood has been re-populated with new residents its easy to conjure up the thoughts of the early 60s' and visualize the old neighborhood as it was back then with all my buddies cavorting around.

But that was not the first house I lived in. And its just as easy to travel back to the mid 50s' when we resided on Jefferson Street. It was a different time. As a nine year old kid my parents allowed me to walk by myself several blocks to the neighborhood theater on a Saturday afternoon to watch a double or triple feature. In the winter months it would already be getting dark by the time the third feature had ended. Today no parent would dare allow their nine year old to wander the streets unattended. But, like I said, it was a different time.

Which is why I keep the controls of my Time Machine set to the past.

Its very easy to get lost in your thoughts while smoking. The very act of pipe smoking gets the wheels turning and activates the brain. And for many, like myself - its the perfect Time Machine.


  • RandyB1966RandyB1966 Enthusiast
    thebadgerpiper I agree with your thought process @ghostsofpompeii has a way with words that makes me relax and take time to read what he has written.  This is true of what you have written on here as well as your blog that I have read.  I am differnt the most of you gentlman on TPL, I am not what you would call a book reader.  I did some for a while when I was overseas (during peace time not like the brave service members in the think of things now).  But smoking a pipe has started to change my metal processes (as I get older) to relax and disconnect for the static around me and enjoy the time in my own mind picture of a good read.
  • motie2motie2 Master
    Plus, unlike me, he obviously knows how to type.
  • I have to say, along with some others on here it seems, I am also a history buff.  I had almost enough college credits for a minor in history.....I quit a bit short however.
  • ZouaveZouave Connoisseur
    @ghostsofpompeii I can appreciate what you say about pipes being a time machine. I remember very clearly afternoons spent with my grandfather as he smoked his pipes. At the time I was too young to ask him what types of tobacco he smoked? What pipes he liked the best, or even how to pack a pipe and keep it lit. After he passed I found all of his pipes sitting on a window sill in his basement. All still in the rack he used, some still packed with half burned tobacco. I regret not asking him more about it, or not having a chance now to ask. I am however glad to have found many pipe smokers online that have helped me fumble my way through figuring it all out. Even though I never did get to find out what blends he smoked, every now and then I will get a small scent of something familiar in a type I am trying and it instantly brings me back to his living room as a child. 
  • interesting observation and probably true for most.
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