Last year’s IPSD on Peterson Pipe Notes was such a great success, with readers sharing some marvelous stories and their favorite pipes from across the globe, that I think we need to move it to the next level for this year’s celebration, which is just three weeks away on Saturday, February 20th. As I’ve emailed back and forth with many readers during the pandemic, one theme recurs in our conversations—how our pipes bring us the opportunity to stop and find some stability, some comfort and some time for reflection as the pandemic continues to impact everyone across the globe.
When I talked to Joe M. yesterday on the phone, he told me how when he gets a new tin of tobacco his eight-year-old daughter has to be there to give it some investigative sniffs: “Raisins? A little cinnamon? Peppery? Light it up—let’s see how it smells, Daddy!” “Train up a up a child in the way she should go” (Proverbs 22.6) . . .
This year’s celebration offers you the opportunity to earn your C.P.G. certificate. Think of it—just by participating you can earn the right to add C.P.G.—“Certified Pete Geek”—to the end of your name, as in “Charles Mundungus, C.P.G.”* Entertain, enlighten and edify friends and neighbors with all the rights and privileges appertaining to using this badge simply by completing the following Thought Experiment. Afterwards, I’ll send a personalized certificate you can download and use for a tobacco drying paper, frame and hang on your wall or both. What a great deal, right?
Read Philip Booth’s “Provisions” below, then answer these questions:
- What single Pete would you take with you?
- Why that pipe?
- What single tin (or jar) of tobacco would you take?
With you answer, send a selfie with the Pete and tobacco you choose. If you don’t want to send a photo of yourself, you can still enter by sending your answers and just the photo.
Be sure to tell me how to list your name—your privacy in these strange days belongs to you. Charles Mundungus, as a ward of the state of Switzerland, doesn’t much care as he’s virtually inaccessible at the asylum *er* resort he lives. But do let me know how you’d like your name to appear.
The paperback somebody left on the plane
tells what you’ll need to carry on your person:
immune seeds in a shielded packet, something of value
to barter, a hardener to refill your own teeth.
The book suggests what weapon to take against
your own kind. And the canteen of water from
pipes still safe; salve for your skin;
a drug, at any cost, against immediate pain.
You already know you won’t want for matches;
you will have thought, long since, of boots
with impervious soles, fit for the distance;
repellent clothes, a balaclava, or thick-brimmed
hat, toward whatever the season may be.
Proud flesh will be your least of crises,
but take curved scissors for what you’ll need
to debride. And yes, dried food, for twice as long
as you think. The book says, Go, leave objects behind.
That much is true. Leave the book first of all;
it forgets to say what you cannot forget: that there’s
no place to go. Whether or not you go or stay, make
an eyeshield, a pocket next to your heart whatever
poems you might now think to copy, keep with you
what’s left of Thoreau. And since no one
but Bach can hold in mind all the Bach
one is bound to need, you might well practice
carrying his simplest tune: the small dance in G
that Anna Magdalena every morning sang
to ease her firstborn son. Carry that music, always,
in your head. What memory you have is all you’ll have left;
in whatever mornings there are, you’ll have for as long
as you possibly can simply to hum to yourself.
*Like most digital certificates from institutions of higher (and lower) learning, this one has no caloric or nutritional value whatsoever. The user assumes it and uses it with the understanding that Peterson Pipe Notes assumes no liability for any mental, physical, emotional or spiritual damage it may cause but will gladly take credit for whatever joy it may bring. Offer void in the state of unmindfulness.