January 03, 2008

On the tenth day of Christmas

my true love gave to me,

ten pipers piping.

Now, you have your traditional bagpipes, and your pan pipes, piping bags for decorating cakes and cookies, lead pipe cinches, and more. But some of my oldest Christmas memories involve buying my father a new pipe. One year, when my sister and I didn't have much money, it was a corncob pipe, like Frosty's, from the tobacconist/newstand on the corner of Broadway and 91st. But one year my mother bought my father a meerschaum pipe, though it wasn't nearly as elaborate as it could have been; then again, the less elaborate, the better the chances that my father would smoke it in public.

Here's a selection from Altinok Pipe of Ankara, Turkey, from the fairly elaborate to the downright fanciful.

For a better view, and many, many more designs, go directly to the website, which also tells you all about the mineral that is meerschaum (German for "sea foam"), and how it is mined.

And now I get to say, "Put that in your pipe and smoke it!"

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