A Band of (Briar-)Brothers

Band of (Briar-)Brothers

It happens so fast… one moment of unwariness and what moments ago was your new love seems to be have become a lost cause… my head hanging low, thinking about what wonderful times we two could’ve experienced if I it wouldn’t have happend…

Who or what I am talking about? A pipe of course, what did you think I was talking about? ;-) And for some pipe smokers my treasure wasn’t a treasure at any time I suppose. But when I got an old “Real Briar“ pipe from eBay for 2€ I couldn’t have been any happier! “From my passed grampa“ the auction stated…“damn…this baby must’ve heard and experienced a story or two tho!“ A long stemmed pipe with a Dublin-ish bowl to it. Kit-marks here and there…not the most valuable pipe in the sense of what many people consider valuable…but the story to it, the beautiful (beaten looking) appearance and the pictures it makes me imagine in my inner-eye…they made me fall in love with this pipe and value it as if it was a handmade by some top-notch pipe maker. To each his own, and isn’t it about the intrinsic values anyways?!

“I bet she smokes like a champ“ I thought, before it happened…. “bang!!“ it skirled and there it was…my treasured pipe was laying on the wooden desk... the mouthpiece broke off with the tenon still stuck in the stem, broken off of the mouthpiece…I was dying thousand deaths, believe you me! “It’s over…she’s gone…“ I thought, before I came to the idea to ask in a forum if and how I could rescue it.

20 bucks for a pipe that did only cost me 2?!

“You’ll have to get a new tenon…will cost you ~20 bucks“ …20 bucks for a pipe I only paid 2€ for? I was already fiddling with antenna-sticks and such to find a DIY way to get the two broken parts re-united, yammering and posting something like “Why does live always have to kick me in the butt whenever I’m happy??“ before a piping brother from “across the pond“ posted “Hey Deniz…good things DO happen, don’t let your head hang low! I’ll repair it for you – for free! I’ll even pay for the shipping back to you“ WAIT….did he just offer me what I think he did?...Oh yes he did! Paul Larrysson from the UK, a pipe maker who I didn’t knew at that time, just offered me to fix my tenon for free…he’ll even pay the shipping back! “And furthermore I’ll grant you a neat lil‘ Churchwarden!“ he added. “Where is the snag in it?“  the little cynical-skeptic in me asked for a second before I realized…well there is none! This guy really offered me to fix my pipe for free and even put a Churchwarden on top…just out of pure brotherhood and humanness. This was like a heavenly sent uplift for my tortured, jaundiced soul. With great excitement I replied, we exchanged adress-datas and the pipe went on a journey from Germany to the United Kingdom. Cornwall to be specific.

Only a short period passed as he did send me a private message: “Your pipe is all done, Deniz! I’ll send it over to you tomorrow with some samples!“ … a even Shorter period later my door bell rung.

“My baby’s coming home!!“ I shouted and ran to the door, like a kid would run to the Christmas tree on Christmas Eve, as my girlfriend looked at me with great confusion. Already excited to hold my treasured pipe in my hands, clench it in my mouth, smoke it like I’d be caressing a woman. I ripped the cartonage open…I certainly wasn’t ready for what was awaiting me inside of it!

“WHAT?“ I spouted…my girls confusion peaked “Did it break again while shipping?“ she asked, already preparing to cheer me up again (oh, how I love that woman…) “No, no…come have a look honey!“.

My treasured pipe...now with a fixed tenon, shining like a star!

Inside there it was…my treasure, my baby, my piece of pipe history. Not only with a fixed tenon, but also cleaned and shining like a star! Instantly clenched it, took a dry-puff…I was in heaven already! But it would get even better…

My eyes spied a neat “little“ Churchwarden by Jean Claude with a sweet silver-ring application and my excitement and happiness seemed to have reached a peak already…before I saw two Corn Cobs laying in there…two that I’ve never seen before…two models that you can’t even buy over here in Germany! Unadulterated corn with wooden sticks as mouthpieces.

Pipes, pipes, and more pipes...! 

Early Christmas-presents

I was a happy man…and still it got even better…

Last, but not least there was a beautiful tamper made from bamboo in it. One that I always wanted to have…could this guy read my mind? I guess he could, because the 12(!) samples he did pack with the pipes were all right on spot for my personal taste. Mostly Gawith & Hoggarth Ropes and Plugs, with some Cornell & Diehl, Germains Medium Flake, GLP’s Triple Play…and what I think is incredible…a sample of Motzek Strang! Yes..THAT Motzek Strang, unavaible for year, and not anywhere soon to be re-introduced due to the manufacturers of the tobaccos for this blend died and Motzek says “Motzek Strang was so delicious because of those specific leafs!“. Furthermore it was his last bowl he had at hand, and still he granted it to me…truly a „Band of (Briar-)Brothers“ that’s connecting pipe smokers all around the world! Where in life could you find generosity and brotherhood like this? It’s rare…that’s a sure thing! Even happier I am to be part of this wonderful community – or shall I say brotherhood!?

I was done… I needed some time to comprehend what had just happened and how a guy I didn’t knew made me a present, a surprise I wouldn’t have expected! Repairing my cheapo, but treasured pipe for free..a pipe some other people might would’ve said I should dump it and write it off as a loss. This is why I am writing this story… for all those who are or were as grumpy and cynical, as I used to be for a (too) long period of my life and by times still am, when this world, this elbow society we often have here in Germany is being mad again. As a reminder, a manifest, that life can be good. That people can be good. That people will do you good, without expecting any reward from it…just because! Just to make you smile for some moments. But also for those who already knew all that… to strenghten their faith in the good in this crazy and sometimes rough world.
To share that “Band of (Briar-)Brothers“!

I wanna thank you again for this Paul, from deep within my heart. Not only for repairing my treasured pipe and granting me so many cool things, but especially for granting me a spark of faith, a reminder to not be so cynical, to believe in the good in human and in life and forget about those things and people who aren‘t. I admit I had my troubles in life and with people, but ever since I am part of the pipe smokers community (for a good year now) so many good things happened to me, I got to know so many fine people and got to hear so many heartwarming storys of brotherhood and unselfishness. This story is just one out of so many, but I am lucky to have experienced it myself this time!

I am happy to be part of a extraordinary bunch of people, that seem to have nothing more in common than smoking the pipe…yet act as if they were brothers…Brothers of the Briar!

With a "Little" Help From My Friend Paul

I think the least I could do is to mention Pauls website: www.larryssonpipes.com and to recommend him not only as a excellent pipe builder and pipe-repairsman, but as a true brotherly one! 

Also I am happy to announce, that we'll be reviewing some of the samples I got granted on this site in the near future. Gawith & Hoggarth Ropes, Plugs, C&D's Kajun Kake, GLP's Triple Play and Motzek Strang! Of course in the English language, so our UK and US Briar-Brothers can also find joy in them! 


Photos and Text © 2017 Deniz Beck