I LOOKED AT MY good friend Bruce Bowie for some counsel.
“It’s $44.95,” I said nervously. “Do you think Mrs. Tait would go for that?” Bruce gave me that look he has given me countless times over our four-decade friendship. He didn’t have to say a word. I knew the answer was no.
Let me set the scene for you: Bruce and I had some extra time the other day at West Edmonton Mall. At my suggestion we went into Two Guys With Pipes looking for … well, a pipe.
MY FIRST RECOLLECTION of a pipe comes from my dad when I was a young boy. I loved the smell of Dad’s pipe whenever he fired it up. And, he liked the encouragement: Dad said he started smoking a pipe because, he convincingly said, a pipe was better for him than cigarettes. Made sense to me. I also think it’s important to carry on such distinguished family traditions. So I wanted to buy a pipe — but, you have to understand, not to smoke it. Goodness, no. I mean, since I have cerebral palsy and not the best hand co-ordination, stuffing a pipe with tobacco could be an all-day event. Messy, too. And can you imagine me trying to light it? It’s a fire hazard.
I JUST WANTED TO have it in my mouth, and chew on it a bit. Look at New York Ranger GM Glen Sather. We always see him with a cigar, right? Do we ever see it lit? Uh, nope. Same thing with my friend Curtis Stock over there at the Edmonton Journal. He has a cigar, too — but never lights it. So I thought when I write a pipe might be a nice, you know .. accessory?
BRUCE ALSO HAS FOND memories of a pipe from the late Jerry Forbes who eloquently smoked a pipe — because, that’s the only way to puff on a pipe. So we went into the shop armed with enthusiasm. The nice young man behind the counter politely opened the glass door and carefully
handed me the pipe I wanted. We looked at it and then turned the small price tag over. “It’s $44.95,” I said in a quiet voice. I swallowed hard and saw my idea, frankly, go up in smoke. Mrs. Tait would not be happy, indeed. Oh well. Guess I’ll have money to but a good cigar. Right, honey?
(Cam Tait is the special projects advisor for Challenge Insurance)