November 19, 2009

In stitching these memories together, I present you with a very patched patchwork quilt. Consider it a rambling diary entry.

Glenrothes scotch tonight. No peat, no burn, velvet on the tongue. About eight in attendance. We talked about where we have lived recently or in the past.  A few fans of Minnesota: clear lakes for swimming and fishing, the ancient American Indian feel, the long northern silences, the calling of loons, stars spilled across skies empty of city light. As we have a few former California folks, we debated southern and northern California and their various attractions and detractions. Veered back to Wheaton which is seen as both quiet and quaint and suburban and not so quaint. The nastiness of trains discussed. Jerry arrived late from a dorm talk at Wheaton College. Talked about Sarah Palin’s new book Going Rogue: An American Life, then shifted to Jerry’s book coming out next summer with Tyndale House Publishers. The Quotable Lewis was brought up, has sold a few hundred thousand copies, and Jerry described how he gave away a large part of the biggest check he ever received as a result of the book’s sales.

The predominantly pine firewood is spitting and smoking, showering us constantly with sparks. Full of sap and extremely dry, it burns brightly. Hands constantly busy brushing sparks away. However, as I have a garage full of this pesky wood, I predict many holes in clothing this winter. Talked a bit about writing, Curriculum Vita’s, and how an original bit of Lewis scholarship would be to write a history of his smoking habits and preferences, or a paper on characters in Lewis and Tolkien who smoke. Lewis certainly is mentioned every week. An unofficial patron saint, perhaps. Twice I was called Strider, due to my churchwarden and hood. A few new faces around the fire. Tobacco guru Carl was dispensing information about types of tobacco, how to keep a pipe from gurgling, the importance of keeping one’s tongue away from the stem to reduce moisture in the bowl. As usual, Carl had brought his weekly stash of various tobaccos for everyone to try. I went home with part of a tin of Ashton Old Dog.  About 42 degrees tonight, and breezy. Left with a cold ass as usual, the result of sitting on cast iron chairs.


~ by Mark Neal on November 19, 2009.

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