I can’t believe that 2009 will soon be behind us. I remember being told as a boy that the older you get, the faster that time goes by. I’m still not quite sure about the absolute veracity of that statement, but it sure feels true for me. 2009 was a sprinter.
As I wrote last year in my Piper’s Dozen post, the end of a year is a great time to look back and reflect. For me, it was a tough year in many ways.
In my business life, it was a white-knuckle year where I found myself anxious about my clients’ welfare, my own business’ cash flow and profitability, and, like many of you - I’m sure - worried about the state of the economy and prospects for the future. I kept telling myself, “This too, shall pass. We’ve seen tough times before and we’re better positioned for them than ever.” I’m grateful for the truth in these observations, too.
Like a lot of people, I had fewer dollars in my pocket than in previous years, and I found it necessary to throttle back on pipe collecting, somewhat. I was still able to acquire some lovely pipes this year, but acquisitions were made only upon de-acquisitions, so I think that my overall collection shrunk somewhat. That’s okay. I still feel really blessed and I think that my collection is better than ever, even if it is somewhat smaller.
You will notice that I have included disclosure paragraphs in each of my articles. New laws require disclosures of consideration where they exist, since apparently a lot of bloggers regularly receive lots of gifts, samples, and general toadying from the companies and people about whom they write.
Upon reflection, it has become clear to me that I would have done much better to have started “A Passion for Sports Cars,” or “Gonzo for Gizmos.” I need to find a category where the vendors and craftspeople are not so miserly <grin>.
12. Best Pipe Accessory: 8/16 Pipe Bag by Smokin’ Holsters
I’ve been carrying this particular pipe bag for over five years now and I love it more with every passing year. The bison skin of which it is fashioned has only gotten softer, more supple, and more beautiful. Its kangaroo lacing is as tight and even as the day I bought it. The only wear I can see is that the lighter pocket has stretched a bit from having had the lighter inserted and removed hundreds of times. Not a stitch has come out and the bag has done its job protecting my pipes and acting as the home for my rotation ever since I put it in service. From talking with its creator, Neil Flancbaum, I’ve learned that a lot of guys find this bag a bit too big for them, but I can’t imagine carrying anything smaller. Though I rarely carry more than eight pipes at a time, I’ve had over 30 pipes in the bag at shows. Needless to say, I love variety in my selection. This Christmas, I shopped to buy my wife a new handbag. After seeing machine-made bags in split-grain leathers routinely ranging from $1,000 to $3,000, I cannot imagine anyone objecting to the price of this 8/16, especially given that one carries it year-in, year-out. Hermes doesn’t make anything better and Flancbaum stands behind his goods like no other pipe bag manufacturer.