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HomeA New Stem for Pete


I had an outstanding time during the contest- it was a blast! One of the only problems I had was for the first time in recent memory, and on the first puff of the contest, I lodged a large brick-sized piece of tobacco in the air hole. Only by increasing the draw to about 125 psi was I able to avoid the embarrassment of the pipe going out. Huffing and puffing for over 30 minutes trying to clear the airway, desperate to avoid the finger pointing and laughter, oh what I wouldn't do for a pipe cleaner I thought. Have you ever kicked a kink out of a garden hose while you were watering your wife's flower pots? If you have you would understand what it was like when it suddenly broke loose. My eyes settling back into my head, my vision returning, I realized I could not find a place anywhere on my pipe cool enough to hold onto. Holding the bit between my teeth trying not to let it touch either lip for very long, I gave it one puff, two puffs, three the smoke diminishing with each exhale, hand up, it was over.

I filled out my contest time sheet, signed it, had it verified, proud that I wasn't the first but sad not to be the last; now watching the other half of the contestants puffing on to glory, chiming in with words of encouragement. And all the while truly hoping that the barmaid had not forgotten my well deserved port. The barmaid came and went. A few minutes past by. Ten minutes, twenty, one by one, pipe by pipe, the fires went out till only one stood victorious. Scores tallied, winners of the first Seattle Pipe Club smoking contest chosen, prizes carefully picked, bragging rights established- having a grand time no one wanting to wait another year. Rumor: maybe, just maybe, and if Al our contest DI is willing, six months from now we all get another crack at it.

But this is not the entire story you see, I want to tell you what happened to my good friend at the contest. I want to tell you about my 55 year old friend, since I was the one who brought him I feel responsible. You see my friend is a pre- Republic, Peterson all the way from Dublin. The trouble is its difficult telling you about him as he is lying here next to the key board in two pieces. He isn't much of a pipe as pipes go, a bit middle-class to some, maybe trailer trash to others, but a good smoke just the same. Anyway, remember all that heat, it not only left a dime size blister on the roof of my mouth, which I didn't find until the next morning, it also expanded his tendon so much that when it cooled down the next morning his stem fell out. For a week now I found myself feeling guilty. Troubled, I have picked him up, inserted his stem, removed his stem, and re-inserted his stem (you get the idea) once or twice daily; each time more confident of my decision. I have come to the conclusion (as many have before me) that there is nothing too good for my disjointed compadre, not even a new Peterson stem this time around, even if I have to send him all the way back to Dublin.


- Ed Lee