February 11, 2010

Cold tonight. Carl gave me a jar of eleven-year-old Penzance tobacco. One of my favorite tobaccos, Penzance is temporarily unavailable, so I was glad to get it. He also gave me the last of a tin of Dunhill Black Aromatic, which has an exquisite taste that I wrote about a few weeks ago. As Jerry says, Carl has raised our smoking habits from the depths of ignorance. Before, we were smoking Jewel/Osco tobacco; now we sample a smorgasboard each week as Carl continues to be generous with his massive collection of tobacco. I have been one of the lucky ones who have glimpsed this fabled collection. I thought the numerous large, plastic bins in his basement were a great collection, but I hadn’t yet seen the closet stacked floor to ceiling. As I said, our tobacco knowledge and tastes have been raised out of the mud by this generous man.

Jerry told about the time he was living with a few other guys and he came home one day to find his roommate brandishing a 22 rifle, in pursuit of a giant rat. After they had chased the rat into the stove, the roommate took aim, the rat was let out, and the bullet missed by a country mile. Further chasing cornered the rat in a room, where Jerry snatched the rifle away and splattered rat viscera across the wall with three well-placed shots. Lo and behold, time went by, and wouldn’t you know, the Kirby Vacuum man stopped by to demonstrate the vacuum that could clean, paint, and make malts. Well, when they came to the room where the rat had met his end, the remains were still scattered plentifully on the wall. The vacuum was $300. The rent was something like $125/ month. Three months rent for a vacuum cleaner that could make malts and clean up rat remains. Luckily prudence prevailed, but the malt maker was tempting, as Jerry admitted.

I believe this was the first night ever that we played trivia. First it was sports, then presidents, and even some tobacco trivia was thrown in.

The Great Horned Owls were calling again, out there somewhere in the night, and the wind was rolling through the dark pine trees with a rush, scooping the sparks out of the fire and onto our clothes. One large ember found its devious way into Carl’s tobacco bag and he feverishly worked to get it out. As Jerry commented, it would have made an intoxicating aroma if it hadn’t been removed so quickly.

There wasn’t much more conversation, but we stayed awhile longer; a few men gathered companionably around a warm fire, smoking their pipes and sharing each other’s company.

Short post this week. See you next time around.


~ by Mark Neal on February 14, 2010.

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