Penzance. What can you say about a tobacco so magical and elusive that it has entire fansites about it? It has the fanbase of a fictional anime or some kind of bizarre film. There are people who spend hours a day putting their names on lists and making documents and spreadsheets and getting credit card information ready just so they can get a single bag of the mighty Penzance. What is this all about?
There’s a spot near my house where a small creek tiptoes under an old bridge which is haphazardly shuffled about by greenery and has begun coming apart over time.
I’ve been visiting it for a while now. I love to sit under the bridge and smoke with the tadpoles and crawdaddies as I read a good book. I usually pack some coffee and a blanket to keep myself warm because this time of year the ground gets cold and hard, and the water starts to freeze around the edges of the banks, but the middle still runs free.
It’s 1 p.m. on a Monday afternoon, and I find myself craving some sweets. I’m watching my weight, so a cupcake is out of the question. I reach for my Savinelli 645, considering what I should smoke. It’s cold outside, so I want something that will impart some warmth but also satisfy this sweet tooth. I decide to crack a tin of Stanwell Vanilla.
When I was a young boy, over 30 years ago, it was common for us to spend some time in the summer and fall months camping at a mountain-base site near Mammoth Cave known as Jellystone Park. Today, many years later, I grab my pipe and sit down to go through some old pictures of my camping experiences while I smoke a bowl of Cornell & Diehl Mountain Camp.
The good pirate Alender Calam laughed to himself as he walked to the binnacle, smiling around his pipe. The last month had been kind to him. He was rich with a dead man’s treasures and now he was on his way to see a very close friend he hadn’t seen in years!
The old ones cry out from the dark, moss mottled labyrinth within me. I sit, huddled in my office waiting for it to find my scent. I hear it sliding down the hallway now, mandibles chittering, tentacles search every crevice, every nook, as it sniffs for my natural light.
Only my pipe is with me to comfort me in my time of distress. My faithful friend in hand.
The autumn night wind crawls over the rolling hills of the Kentucky landscape in the background. It slips it’s sinewy, leaf-stained fingers through the crack in the window and comes to meet my hands, which are warmed by a crackling match.
My lids feel heavy, and the sulfur dissipates as the starry breeze dances around me, down to my bare ankles where it settles and nibbles at my senses.
I hold the flame to the full bowl and puff short and even for the char as my eyes drift to the full-dark sky past the pane. I move the match in small circles.