There is no doubt that 2020 was a year of turmoil and an upwelling of restrictions that upended what we considered to be normal life. Rather you are in the virus camper the antivirus camp, the mask camper the unmasked camp, there is no denying that our way of life has changed and is still changing, and one of the things that is affected most by this is the small businesses.
And out of 2020 has emerged a new call for localism in our communities. Through localism we seek to strengthen our communities and strengthen our friendships with our neighbors. We do this through support of each other and support of local families.
So, what does any of this have to do with the pipe smoking world? Most of us are generally laid back and people of deep thought. This comes with the territory of smoking a pipe. We all have our rituals of packing the pipe that we have selected from our rotation for that day, and we all have a certain method of lighting and actually smoking the pipe.
The Art of Pipe Smoking
This is all part of the art of smoking the pipe. This is all part of the joy of the hobby. And I myself have smoked a pipe for about 18 years, and one thing I have discovered is that the community is not as small as it appears from the outside and we are usually pretty close knit.
That brings me to the issue of the marriage between the pipe smoker and localism. First off, a little about myself. I am a farmer and a homesteader. I’m an advocate for the stewardship of nature and for the health and wellness of all people through healthy eating. I use my humbly small social media platform to advocate for the importance of fresh foods and small farms.
My small boys learn about the means to express the importance of self- sustainability through self-reliance in gardening and craftsmanship. I am also a small business owner myself. Along with my wife, we hand produce and sell candles and soaps and other items. So, I have an understanding of what it means to try to run a small business and flourish in a small world community.
High Quality Simplicity
This is where we men and women of the pipe come into the picture. There is no doubt that we have a refined taste and a deep desire for a high-quality simplicity. Most pipe smokers that I know of frequent their local farmers markets and their local small business shops and this in itself is an act of localism.
Not all of us have the wonders of a local pipe shop near-by. And I have heard sad stories of local pipe shops closing down everywhere over the past year. This, in my humble opinion, is a failure of the local pipe smoking community.
Sure, it has been a little tight on all of us recently, but the local shop keep has become a friend to many of us. Talking life, politics, sports, or whatever conversation is sparked by the glowing bowl of a briar. Once gone, these shops are gone. A refuge for our spirit, gone. A congregation of corncob scholars and meerschaum academics.
Localism needs to be carried through to all of the local family-owned businesses and small farms, from coffee houses to your local brick and mortar tobacco shop. Main Street is dying, city by city and state by state. This piece of Americana is disappearing and with it, the America that we know and love.
We, this community of tobacco enthusiasts can lead the way back to small town greatness and the warm friendships of the small mom and pop shops. Even in the big cities you still have your small towns, just more of them in a smaller space. How many boroughs make up New York City? How much pride goes into the community of each borough by the ones who live there? Small towns in big cities.
We have a duty, I think, to support one another, and regardless of what happens on a national level, we can make our small part of the world a little better. One persona at a time, on pipe at a time. Just think this over the next time you fire up your pipe while looking over your yard, or lunting down a trail. Think over where we all fit in, and what all we can do.
Joseph Smith aka The Homestead Padre is a lover of all things nature and all things tobacco. A small business owner and small farm owner he can be found on Twitter @hmestedpadre and anywhere old men congregate to play domino’s.