Cornell & Diehl Star of the East Flake

Star of the East Flake

C&D Star of the East Flake Pic

Before coming across Kyle Weiss’s review of this blend on the Pipes Magazine Radio Show webpage, I had never heard of this tobacco.  After reading his review, my interest was certainly piqued, but what caught my attention more than anything was his reference to Star of the East Flake as having the potential to be a very close substitute for Esoterica’s Penzance.  Now, being the Penzance junky I am, there was no way I was going to pass up the opportunity to give this blend a try.  After all, if it even came close to the coveted, but hard to obtain Penzance, then maybe the ludicrous lucky hunt for my Esoterica favorite would no longer have to exist.  So, is it truly a Penzance replica?  Let’s find out.

Info & Overview

Brand: Cornell & Diehl

Category: English

Blend Components: Latakia, Oriental/Turkish, Virginia

Flavorings: None

Cut Type: Flake

Available Packaging: 2oz tin (or) 8oz tin

Price: $9.77 USD (or) $29.33

 

On to the review…

 

From the Tin: This tobacco has a very intriguing tin note that will lure any lover of latakia into its memorizing grasp. The smell from the tin offers a burnt, smoky, campfire essence with deep, dark fruits, and rich tobacco notes. The presentation of long dark broken flake cuts is very appealing.  The tobacco is easily rubbed out or brittle enough to be folded and stuffed (larger bowl pipes only).  The tobacco’s moister level is a tad more than I like it, however, minimal drying time is required in order to enjoy this blend.

Tasting Notes: Boom!  Right from the start the aroma and taste let you know latakia is present.  However, let me be clear.  This is one excellent tasting tobacco.  Thick, creamy white smoke that lend itself to a figgy, natural sweet fruit taste.  There was also a minor floral, earth note that appeared halfway through the smoking experience.  The smoke is cool and dry offering a room note that is reminisce of an antique rustic book store.  The strength of the tobacco is medium while the body medium-full.  The tobacco burns extremely well leaving a nice white ash. One of the most enjoyable characteristics this tobacco offered me was the lasting aftertaste experienced long after the bowl was finished.  The taste lingers beyond the completion of smoking, continuing to provide enjoyment throughout the day.  A true sign of a quality tobacco.

Overall Impression: Is this tobacco a replacement for Penzance?  In my opinion, no.  It very well may be better than Penzance!  Don’t get me wrong, Esoterica Penzance is an excellent tobacco, however, one must take into consideration its limited availability and extreme cost and ask themselves, “Is this really worth it?”  With excellent blends such as Star of the East Flake on the market, that by the way, is a 1/3 of the price and regularly available, pipe smokers would be crazy not to give this one a go.  If you enjoy a rich, bold, complex smoking experience, Star of the East Flake is a must try.  This tobacco is very much a contender for my 2018 Top 5 list, and who knows, maybe the #1 tobacco of the year.

Tobacco Score:

5 Pipes

Dr. Kyle Andrew Signature

A Pipe Smoker’s Inquiry

Reflecting on a Tragedy

As most pipe smokers would agree, the news of The McClelland Pipe Tobacco Company shutting its doors was both tragic and discomforting.  I specifically use the adjective tragic as McClelland had been in business for 40+ years.  The company was built on what most Americans describe as the ‘American Dream’.  Therefore, witnessing this 40 years of hard work and dedication from both Mike and Mary McNeil virtually crumble to pieces in a 60-day time period, is certainly as I described…tragic.  The pipe smoking community has certainly taken a negative turn because of this misfortune.  With one of the largest portfolios on the tobacco market, McClelland is now but a pastime that smokers from this time period will share with those entering the hobby 20 years from now.

McClelland Pipe Tobacco Logo

We could get into a rather deep discussion regarding the outlying factors for the company’s closure, and yes, it is concerning that such a ‘giant’ in this market melted down so quickly; however, I would prefer this piece focus on the other word I used to describe this downfall of Rome – discomforting.

What does it really mean when something or someone is discomforting?  According to the Oxford Universal Dictionary (1955) discomfort is, “to make uncomfortable or uneasy” (p. 520). To most people this does not sound appealing or pleasant in the least, but maybe it is exactly what the pipe smoking community needed [que audience gasp].  Like many others across the globe, McClelland was one of my favorite brands of tobacco.  I could have easily rushed out upon the announcement and speculation of the company closing and purchased up every available tin of McClelland tobacco to be found.  Believe me, there were several individuals who participated in such nonsensical behavior.  Instead, I chose to catalog what tins I had remaining in my cellar and establish an informal schedule of how to smoke the McClelland tobacco I have remaining in order to enjoy these tobaccos for years to come.  So, what did this endeavor teach me?  Well, I have taken this opportunity of discomfort and used it to learn, grow, and expand my pursuit of other pipe tobacco blends.  In fact, I am now somewhat thankful for the tragedy.  Let me explain.

Man Smoking A Pipe Picture

I am very much a creature of habit.  When I find something I like, I tend to stick with it and am hesitant to make any type of change or adjustment.   Because of my love for McClelland tobaccos, in the past when making a pipe tobacco order, I typically would order those tobaccos (McClelland blends) I knew would provide me with the enjoyment and comfort I seek in pipe smoking.  The closing of McClelland, and disappearance of their products from the market at reasonable prices, has forced me to change this habit and further restart my exploration for new tobacco blends currently available.  When exploring what change means, I am reminded of Marris’s (1975) point that all types of change involve loss, anxiety, struggle or a combination of the three. My discomfort, experienced from circumstances in which I have no control, has forced me to change my behavior, and I must admit, for the better.

Some of the blends I have explored in lieu of this tragedy are proving to be absolutely outstanding tobaccos, providing me with even more enjoyable smoking experiences than I have had in the past.  The following blends are some of those I have recently explored and am currently enjoying.

Boswell’s Titus

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I would describe this as a mild, light English blend.  Easily enjoyable all day, this blend offers the smoker a creamy, naturally sweet experience.  The tobacco burns well and does not overpower the palate.  For me, this is an excellent tobacco to start the day with.  Not too powerful, but still a tasty treat.

 

G.L. Pease Westminster

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Where have you been all my life!?  Westminster is certainly a hidden gem.  With medium smoky notes that lead to a musty book (well-aged tobacco) room note.  The tastes hint at a figgy/raisin characteristic with further notes of rich molasses and sweet cedar.  This well-crafted English blend has quickly made an appearance in my regular rotation.

 

Sutliff’s Blend No. 5

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Yes, I was hesitant to pull the trigger on this blend as I typically associate Sutliff with lower end aromatic tobaccos.  I stand corrected.  Blend No. 5 offers the smoker a smooth and simplistic smoking experience.  There is a nice initial spice to the tobacco that quickly melts into a solid earthy, nutty taste.  The blend is mild to medium bodied and can be enjoyed at any hour of the day.

 

Cornell & Diehl Star of the East Flake 

Screen Shot 2018-03-18 at 10.49.01 PM

I had read several places online that this blend was a great substitute for the ever so difficult to obtain Esoterica Penzance.  Let me be the first to say it is not.  In my opinion this tobacco is even better than Penzance (and believe me, I have smoked my fair share of Penzance).  With aroma notes of musty, old book, and smoky campfire remains, the blend is very complex. Its tasting profile offers the smoker notes of sweet and sour earth, leather, spice, and wood.  This blend is certainly in the full-bodied range and carries a noticeable nicotine punch if not respected by the smoker’s cadence.  Very well crafted and highly recommended.

 

In the end, I am indeed saddened by the loss of a great tobacco company.  However, to think I would have never expanded my search to find these amazing blends because of my loyal dedication to one specific company, and a few specific blends, is almost more concerning than the quickness in which McClelland left the market.  Overall, I encourage my fellow pipe smoking friends to not be scared, upset, or anxious at the current discomforts we are experiencing, rather, embrace them as an opportunity to change and grow.  An opportunity for us to explore other fabulous pipe tobacco offerings.  After all, sometimes it takes discomfort in order for change to occur.  And most of the time, it is for the better.

Dr. Kyle Andrew Signature

Mystery Tobacco Review #2

Mystery Tobacco Review #2

IMG_0094

With the first Mystery Tobacco Review segment being such a hit, we decided to continue on with this column and hope you enjoy these objective evaluations on various pipe tobacco blends for months to come.  For more information about the Mystery Tobacco Review project, please read the first Mystery Tobacco Review here.

Without further ado, let’s jump into the January 2018 mystery blend.  Similar to last month, the same three reviewers have graciously devoted their time and energy into smoking sample #2.  Enjoy!

On to the review…

IMG_0097

From the Tin

Derek: Nice fine ribbon cut. Reminds me of Dunhill.  The tobacco is dry, but that is on me for not storing it correctly.  The aroma is unmistakably English. Not a lot of Latakia.

Corey: The aroma is sweetness from Virginias, but also some savory notes from either burley or dark-fired Kentucky or perhaps both.  Typical ribbon cut that is bright with just a few darker pieces of tobacco, it is possible that the darker leaves are Latakia (making it a light English-style blend), but my guess would be more toward the dark-fired Kentucky as it smoked more like a VaBur and seem to fit that flavor profile.

Kyle: Beautiful looking in the bag with lots of light and medium brown tobacco pieces.  From the smell and sporadic pieces of dark leaf I am guessing this blend contains Latakia and could very well be an English blend.  The ribbon cut is very nicely done, however, I found two thick stem pieces in my sampler bag and the tobacco is a little drier than I typically like to smoke.  Aroma from the bag was a light smokiness, dry spice, and nuttiness (there very well could be some burly present in this blend).

Tasting Notes

Derek: The moisture level and cut make this tobacco easy to pack and light.  My first impression is that this tobacco is a mild English blend.  There is a natural sweetness.  Very pleasant.  Very little smokiness from Latakia.  I can taste a good bit of Orientals in this blend.  As I smoke through the bowl, the Oriental “funk” turns into a fragrant spice.  No bite, no overheating.  The sweetness lasts throughout.

Corey: Lit well and took the char light perfectly…the tobacco wasn’t too moist, it was on the dryer side because I had left the pouch out too long before I got back to smoke it that day. But it didn’t seem too moist or dry before.  Room note was full of sweetness and a savory undertone like leather…and a slight bit of steak sauce. Burned all the way down perfectly with no relights needed, producing a good amount of smoke plume. Tasted just like it smelled, a mixture of sweetness with a delicious, savory flavor that just subtly teased the taste buds. The flavors weren’t too overpowering or strong, would call it a medium strength tobacco with just the right amount of flavor. Really enjoyed smoking this tobacco, no fuss, no tongue bite, no bitterness, and no bad aftertaste in the mouth.

Kyle: The sample packed well and lit well and generally performed nicely throughout the smoking experience.  I noted tastes of spice (on the initial charring lights), a dry grassy hay, and an ash/charcoal tastes while smoking.  Overall, each bowl was consistent but just dry and bland.  Aroma was of a smoky campfire leading me to believe this blend to be an English of sorts.  Strength and body were mild to medium.

Overall Impression

Derek: It is an interesting blend.  The Orientals seemed to take over in the second half of the bowl.  Despite being dry, it did not smoke too fast or get too hot.  This may become my preferred way to enjoy tobacco.  I enjoyed the sweetness and mild flavors that built up throughout the smoke.  I can see myself enjoying this one in the future.

Corey: I would certainly recommend this blend and purchase it myself.  It was an easy tobacco to smoke…didn’t take too much fuss or thinking, just performed well. I really think this blend would do well with cellaring as it already had that sense of blended flavors that a good cellared tobacco should have.

Kyle: Overall, this tobacco wasn’t bad, but wasn’t good either.  It was just kind of there.  I’m sure there are plenty of people who would enjoy this smoke but the combination of Latakia and Burley’s (if there are any) in this blend just didn’t do it for me.  I would say pass on this blend.  I don’t think I will be purchasing any in the near future.

Individual Scores

Derek (4 Pipes)

4 Pipes

Corey (4 Pipes)

4 Pipes

Kyle (2 Pipes)

2 Pipes

Now that we have established our thoughts and scores, it’s time to reveal the tobacco.

Mystery Tobacco #2 is:

IMG_0098

Cornell & Diehl Father the Flame (2017)

 Info & Overview

Brand: Cornell & Diehl

Category: English

Blend Components: Burley, Latakia, Virginia

Flavorings: None

Cut Type: Ribbon

Available Packaging: 2oz tin

Price: $10.63 USD

Well that does it for this month’s Mystery Tobacco Review.  I suppose I was the odd man out on this blind review, however, hope you have enjoyed the thoughts and opinions presented.  As always, feel free to leave questions and comments below and thanks again to both Derek and Corey for their time and expertise.  Until next time, cheers!

Dr. Kyle Andrew Signature

Pipe Tobacco Review

Dunhill Elizabethan Mixture

Dunhill Elizabethan Mixture Pic

Are we seeing the beginning of the end?  Will pipe smokers of the future ever get to experience the Dunhill blends of today?  Do you need to go overboard and stock up on Dunhill blends before they are all gone?  I can only answer each of these questions with…maybe.

In late 2016, the pipe smoking world was put into panic at the announcement that Dunhill would be discontinuing production on its pipe tobacco blends.  At the time, the pipe community was left in limbo, as details pertaining to the discontinuation were minimal at best.  Well, we have finally been given some clarification as to the future of Dunhill pipe tobaccos.

Two weeks ago, the Briar Report (http://www.briarreport.com) reached out to British American Tobacco (BAT) to inquire about the status of Dunhill pipe tobacco production.  The following is the response they received from BAT which can be found on their website:

“Thank you for getting in touch about this. At the end of 2016 we announced that we would be ceasing supply of Dunhill cigars and pipe tobacco by the end of 2017. Like many companies, we continually review and refine our global strategy to ensure the sustainability of our business for the future. These products make up a very small part of our overall business – the rest of the Dunhill portfolio is not affected by this decision. While we appreciate that this may be disappointing news for some consumers and industry partners, these decisions help us to remain focused on, and investing in, the right parts of our business to ensure our longevity and profitability for the future. When asked to confirm if the actual production of Dunhill Pipe Tobaccos and Dunhill Cigars has already ended they reaffirmed that they are no longer in production.”

Like many pipe smokers, I had already been preparing for the worst by stocking my cellar ever so gradually with my favorite Dunhill blends.  Therefore, when the end was announced, I wouldn’t be scrambling to find what remains of these buried treasures.  Just to be transparent, the tobacco sampled for this review was from 2013 and reflects a semi-aged tobacco, not a fresh tin.

Info & Overview

Brand: Dunhill

Category: VaPer (Virginia Perique)

Blend Components: Virginia, Perique

Flavorings: None

Cut Type: Ribbon

Available Packaging: 50g tin

Price: $9.87 USD

 

On to the review…

 

From the Tin: This is your typical Dunhill ribbon cut that is always easy to prep and pack.  Visually, the cut shows several shades of light and dark brown Virginia tobaccos with the occasional black leaf making an appearance.  The smell from the tin provides a rich sweet hay accompanied by plumy, fig, raisin notes.  The tobacco has a perfect moisture content needing no dry time, however, you will want to jar this one up upon opening, as it will dry out quickly if left unattended.

Tasting Notes: Dunhill Elizabethan is one of the simplest tobaccos I have ever smoked.  It lights easily, behaves throughout needing very few relights, and only improves as you progress through the smoking experience.  The initial tastes were remanence of a fresh batch of yeasty dough.  Although perique is associated with a spicy smoke, I did not find that to be the case with this blend.  Yes, there was an initial faint peppery, spice, however, it dissipated quickly not overpowering other flavors.  Halfway through the bowl, a creamy, almost vanilla, note appeared continuing in intensity until the end of the bowl.  Other tastes I noted throughout the smoking experience were a dark fruit character and a bright grassy likeness.  I found the room note to be extremely pleasant and welcoming, reminding me of the lingering scent one may note just before entering their favorite B&M.  Tobacco burned down to a solid white ash each smoke leaving little to no dottle in the bottom of the bowl.

Overall Impression: In my opinion, there are tobacco blends that come along during one’s smoking journey that make such an impression they are placed on a higher pedestal than other tobaccos.  Dunhill Elizabethan mixture is one of those blends.  This tobacco is refined, delicate, and certainly something ever pipe smoker should have the chance to experience.  If you haven’t already purchased this blend, please do yourself a favor and buy some before it’s gone.  I promise you will not be sorry you did.

Tobacco Score:

5 Pipes

To leave you with some parting thoughts, we know for a fact that the Dunhill pipe tobacco blends, as they are currently produced, are running on borrowed time.  If you enjoy, or think you may enjoy, any of these blends in the future, now is the time to stock up.  No, you don’t have to go haywire about purchasing, however, once these staple blends are gone, they are gone.  Although I have well stocked my favorite blends, I am still tempted to purchase a few of the mixtures I am not as familiar with.  Why you may ask?  Because I don’t’ want to look back in 15-20 years and say, “I wish I had.”  Until next time, be blessed and cheers.

Dr. Kyle Andrew Signature

Mystery Tobacco Review #1

Mystery Tobacco Review #1

Mystery Tobacco Review 1 Picture #1

Too often, our thoughts and feelings as consumers are unintentionally influenced by the opinions of others.  While at other times, we intentionally seek others’ insights in order to be influenced one way or another.  Not that I want to downplay individuals’ opinions, as I feel both experience and wisdom are crucially underappreciated in our current society, however, it is sometimes refreshing to get an objective perspective from others who don’t have a moral obligation to sell a product, or focus on personal gain to push an independent agenda.

The purpose of the mystery tobacco review experiment is to provide you, the audience and consumer, with unaltered opinions/thoughts on tobaccos currently available on the market.  The review team has no idea what each blend is, as samples were received in baggies marked only with a month and number.

Mystery Tobacco Review 1 Picture #2

Reviewers were provided enough tobacco in each sample to smoke several bowls before making judgements on the tobacco and each reviewer was asked to summarize their experience under the following headings:

  • Tin/Bag Aroma
  • Tobacco’s Visual Appearance
  • Initial Impressions (charring light and opening of bowl)
  • Smoking Experience (room note, tobacco performance, tastes, enjoyment, etc.)
  • Overall Impressions

The mystery tobacco reviewer panel consists of four individuals including myself.  Special thanks for Corey (The Portland Pipe Smoker), Derek Tant, and Jake Lee for their participation in the mystery tobacco reviews.  For those who are part of the YouTube Pipe Community (YTPC), information on both Corey and Derek’s YouTube channels can be found below.

Corey’s YouTube Channel

https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCvRujbnDAsGM1K728pU7Skg

Derek’s YouTube Channel

https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCegGd4X2Dm4Swc4r2kmWCNw

For those who listen to The Pipe Professor podcast, you will note Jake Lee to be my current partner and crime on the show.  For more information on The Pipe Professor podcast please visit iTunes or stay tuned here at The Pipe Professor website for the bi-weekly posting of new episodes.

 

On to the review…

 

From the Tin

Derek: I am looking at simple ribbon cut tobacco with the occasional chunky piece. The moisture content betrays its aromatic origins. Spongy, but not goopy. Nice. The tin note is fruity and sweet. Not natural, but not bad either.

Corey: Very pleasant aromatic aroma, not too overpowering or chemically, very sweet berry aroma with a bit of vanilla.  Fairly typical looking with the cut, but on the darker side.  Looks to be Cavendish with perhaps some red Virginias and/or burleys, a coarse ribbon cut. Felt a bit moist to the touch but burned really well and didn’t get too moist through the smoke.

Kyle: This nice dark ribbon cut tobacco is without a doubt an aromatic.  Lots of black Cavendish mixed with Virginias and possibly some Burleys.  The tobacco is pretty wet and will require some drying time.  Aroma from the tin/bag has fruity notes, hints of syrup/molasses, and a light vanilla fragrance.

 

Tasting Notes

Derek: The ribbon packs easily and takes to the flame with similar ease. This tobacco is well-behaved. As I smoke, the bowl stays lit and burns down quite nicely to the mythical “fine, white ash” with very few relights. No tongue bite, either. Those are the strengths of this tobacco.  Unfortunately, I am barely able to taste anything. I feel like I can somewhat tease out a berry note. It seems like quality tobacco at the base, but the flavor disappears quickly, and an artificial note pokes its head in occasionally. No tongue bite, but no flavor either. Towards the end of the bowl, the flavor grows ashy, but I am 90% through it anyway.

Corey: Lit really well, was surprised, because it seemed a bit moist…but that didn’t seem to matter, performed well.  Started out really smooth for the first third of the bowl…very fruity and berry-like but not too distracting, with a good creaminess in the background to keep it rounded out. Also, I noted that there might be burleys in this blend, because in the 2nd third of the bowl, I could detect some nuttiness in the background with the creamy taste I found earlier. No tongue bite or harshness, but I could tell that if you pushed it too hard at the last part of the bowl, it could get a little bitter…but didn’t for me.

Kyle: I allowed this blend to dry for 15 minutes before loading my pipe each time.  Tobacco burned well and produced a nice grey ash.  Aroma had notes of sweet cream and nutmeg.  It reminded me of the whipped froth on a latte.  Tastes were difficult to pinpoint.  I noted very faint nutty notes and mild fig.  No spice at all.  Tobacco wanted to burn hot making me slow my cadence a little less than I like.  Tobacco became less than desirable near the end of the bowl with a wet mossy tastes appearing when smoked in a briar.  Tobacco produced lots of thick white smoke.

 

Overall Impression

Derek: Overall, I am conflicted. The tobacco behaves wonderfully but doesn’t have much flavor. Tried it in a meerschaum and a cob. Fared better in the meerschaum. It puts a lot of moisture in the pipe, but still burns well. I wouldn’t age it and I wouldn’t really consider buying it. Happy to smoke it, though. It’s just okay.

Corey: A good quality aromatic that burns well, has good flavor and aroma but is not too overpowering or goopy and allows the natural taste of the tobaccos to come through. I wouldn’t call it a great blend as it also doesn’t have anything that causes it to stand out in tobacco leaves used or out of the ordinary aromas or flavors, just a good, straight fruity aromatic that performs well.

Kyle: I was able to smoke three small bowls of the sample, one in a cob, one in a meerschaum, and one in a briar.  Out of the three I most enjoyed this blend in a meerschaum.  The tobacco had a really nice room note but lacked in taste and complexity.  I’m glad I was able to smoke this tobacco, however, unless it’s an absolute steal of a price, I don’t think I would purchase it again in the future.

 

Individual Scores

Derek (2 ½ Pipes)

2 Pipes

Corey (3 Pipes)

3 Pipes

Kyle (3 Pipes)

3 Pipes

Now that we have established our thoughts and scores, it’s time to reveal the tobacco.  Mystery Tobacco #1 is:

Mystery Tobacco Review 1 Picture #3

L.J. Peretti’s Yuletide (2015)

I hope you have enjoyed this first Mystery Tobacco review here at The Pipe Professor website.  Stay tuned for future Mystery Tobacco reviews along with other great pipe and tobacco related content.  Thanks again to the review panel and cheers to all.

Dr. Kyle Andrew Signature

Smoke Stories No. 2

A Coal Miner’s Therapist

Coal Miner's Therapist Picture

A lone scrawny man sits unaccompanied on an overturned wooden box.  Dirty, worn clothes, ash covered skin, and untied boots that have seen better days rest under a path of mud and gravel.  A gentle rainy mist is provided by the dull gray clouds that peak over the tops of mountains.  The man sits, thinking, looking into the sky, and puffing his pipe, the voice inside his head the only friend around, “Is this the purpose of life?” [Puff, Puff, Puff]  “The dredge and sledge, the darkness, the pain, the worry.” [Puff]  “Money is tight.  Bills are due.  Work is sparse and options are few.” [Puff, Puff, Puff].  A slight pause in his cadence allows for his thoughts to wisp away like a prayer request forwarded into the eternal heavens.  He slowly continues his smoking rhythm as his ponderance resumes. “I suppose things could be worse.” [Puff]  “After all, I’m still alive.” [Puff, Puff, Puff]  “God has granted me more time.” [Puff] “But for what?”  [Puff, Puff, Puff].  “Is my purpose in life to work this eternal hell hole until there is no more black gold to be harvested?” [Puff] “Surely, not.  There has to be more.” [Puff, Puff, Puff]

The man pauses to tamp the tobacco.  Using a blackened stained index finger, he gently pushes the charred leaf down into the well-loved cob.  Then, pulling a book of matches from his tattered shirt pocket, lights a matchstick, and applies it to the now perfectly prepped tobacco.  He thinks on, “Pa did this for 50 years.  And his Pa before him for 60.” [Puff, Puff, Puff]  “They were good men who raised good families.” [Puff].  “But why me?” [Puff, Puff, Puff] “Why were my cards dealt to reflect this hand?” [Puff]  “This life?” [Puff, Puff, Puff]

He pauses to listen as distant thunder gives the warning of an incoming storm.  The mist, now evolved into a small but steady rain, does not distract the man from his thoughts.  Nothing he can’t or hasn’t dealt with before.  He puffs on, un-phased.  His pipe not acting as a companion but rather his therapist.  Absorbing his inner most concerns, his worries, his fears.  “I want more for my own son.” [Puff, Puff, Puff]  “How do I show him there is more outside this Kentucky holler?” [Puff]  “An entire world waiting for him.  Full of opportunity and chance.  Full of hope and happiness.” [Puff, Puff, Puff]  “Not this depressing, dead end, coal mining career.  If you can even call it that anymore.” [Puff]   “Good Lord if you are listening.  Let my boy be removed from this purgatory.”[Puff, Puff, Puff]  “Forgive him for the sins these people and myself have committed.” [Puff]  “And lead him to a life of joy and purpose.” [Puff, Puff, Puff].  The man sits, his mind moving as quick as the low-lying clouds passing across the mountain tops, smothering what leaves remain among the fall stricken trees.  His pipe the only comfort in the world.  The only stability he can guarantee.  After all, it’s cheaper than seeing a therapist, and smells nice.  The man puffs on before being interrupted.

“Hey Jimmy.”  Another fella’s voice crawls from an opening door behind the box where the pipe smoker resides.  Out walks a large gentleman in overhauls, hat propped back on his head, half chewed stick of dried beef hanging from his jaws.  “Whatcha thinking about?”

The pipe smoker (aka Jimmy) adjusts his posture.  With his mind so focused on these larger issues he had yielded to remain sharp about holding an acceptable form.  Looking back to address the questions presented by the larger, husky, yet just as dirty overhauled fella, the pipe smoker looks up and replies, “Nothing.” [Puff]

Dr. Kyle Andrew Signature