I received a number of lovely emails in response to my introduction to the newsletter of this past Monday. My experience from the encounter with our friend downtown that Friday resonated with lots of folks apparently.
I found one of the letters I received particularly touching and I wanted to share it with all of you:
Dear Mr. Wilford:
I read your 16 July Newsletter with a great deal of interest and empathy.
I've been a pipe smoker since before your arbitrarily -- I hope -- selected year of 1960. I agree that smoking arrangements were much different then. It was certainly not unusual for many friends to gather in a room, or pub, all contentedly packing pipes. Pipe tobacco was cheap, and so were the pipes. That's the good part. The not-so-good part was that the tobacco wasn't very good (but what did we know?), but it and a lot of no-name pipes were easily bought at any drug store.
I live on a small island off the west coast of Canada, population around 3,500. As far as I know, there is only one other pipe smoker living here. We are acquainted only through our pipes, occasionally bumping into each other at public gatherings for mutual defence against the disdainful sneers of the most holy non-smokers who quite ignorantly, in my view, see tobacco use as an evil exceeded only by the Holocaust. In the '60s, sports car drivers used to wave at each other because they felt they were in a rather special group; nowadays it's pipes smokers who give each other a nod to acknowledge our collective wisdom.
Yet, in so many ways, a piper's life is so much better now. We have sites like yours to educate even those of us in the most remote areas about quality pipes and tobaccos. As a result, over the last 20 years, I have never enjoyed my pipe smoking more.
I have to giggle about the cost, however, particularly when I pick up a tin of what used to be 50-cent tobacco, and remind myself that I just dropped nearly $20 for it.
Thanks again for your newsletter. I fully appreciate your attitude. . .
Gabriola Island, B.C.