Trapped in a Nicotine-Free Flying Tube
As I write this newsletter introduction it is Sunday afternoon, and I'm sitting in the rinky-dink operation that is Myrtle Beach International (laughingly) Airport. Despite its modest design (if not name), as far as airports go it's not the worst, being only a little larger than a small middle-school and thus fairly easy to get around and through and all distances between any point "A" and any point "B" are but a few long strides. (Though security-theatre-wise, we do have those notorious x-ray machines now! And to think of how so many of us, as kids, secretly sent away for those "x-ray specs" advertised in the backs of comic books and the like -- how the tables have turned.)
Air travel, for me as well as other pipe smokers I presume, often represents the greatest obstacle between that last opportunity to enjoy a smoke and that next opportunity to enjoy a smoke. Not that I'm necessarily writhing in the terminal, foaming at the mouth at take-off, or fiending madly throughout for cherished nicotine, understand, but it sure would be nice if Myrtle Beach International Airport had one of those smoking habitats carved away somewhere, even if it were along the seedy back-side of the building far, far away from bright-eyed children and other such honorable individuals whose delicate constitutions and evidently hazardously fragile respiratory health so concerns modern legislators. Instead even smokeless tobacco like snuff or snus is for some wild reason totally prohibited. Bah!
Consequently, once again, I have left to the good folks at Delta the charge of my precious pipes and tobacco tucked away with painstaking attention in my check baggage. I've flown with Delta a lot over the last couple of years, and though I've slept in the Atlanta airport more times than I care to remember, and missed so many connecting flights in the last six months that my colleagues have deemed me cursed (more accurately, I didn't really miss any of those flights, rather, they, missed me!) no baggage handler has yet misplaced my luggage (i.e. sent it to the Philippines or Guam accidentally). I expect, as has been usual so far, there will be nothing to prevent me from packing a bowl right at baggage claim, with eager hands, and a too-long deprived palate.. and no doubt to the complete horror of a few of my more sensitive fellow travelers.
But should my treasured cargo disappear, and I hope that I tempt no mischievous Fury here; at least I know where to go to rebuild my trove anew. Fresh pipes we find in plenitude this afternoon from the following (and excuse the tense shift, please): Peter Heding, Rinaldo, Radice, Castello, Chacom, Tsuge, Sebastien Beo, Butz-Chouqin, Savinelli, Peterson, and Vauen. We're also adding thirty-six estate pipes to the mix, in addition two new pipe tobaccos, new cigars, and new cigar accessories. Lots of new stuff!
Ted Swearingen: Vice President, General Manager