A surprise gift awaited me at the door


I was just going through some files on my hard drive and came across this one and relived the event that I had written about. Do you ever have those moments when the event you are recalling comes alive again and you can see the people, hear the sounds and smell the scents yet again? That is what happened to me. I was up with my dogs early this morning as our alarm went off with a malfunction. Instead of going back to bed I decided to look over some older files and see what could be deleted. I came upon this one and just sat and relived the moment again. I remember very clearly getting a call from my daughter saying “Dad, Don dropped by a box for you. He says it is pipe tobacco that a friend gave him. Since he does not smoke a pipe he wanted you to have it.” Throughout the day I kept thinking about what could possibly be in that box. You will see why I wondered about it, beyond just curiosity when you read the rest of this tale. Here is what I wrote that afternoon when I got home and opened the box from Don.

…Over the past four years my family has been saving bottles for a homeless fellow who dumpster dives across from our house. He has an organized route through the lanes in our area searching for bottles. He pushes a grocery cart with his dog attached by a tether. He climbs into the rubbish bins and ferrets out empty returnables. He makes enough on them to provide for himself and his dog, Spaz, a little wiry terrier cross that looks a lot like Don. Over the years as I was walking by I would talk with Don. Over time we have become friends. He has been in our home for dinners on many occasions and a guest at Christmas, Thanksgiving and Easter. My wife will often make him a sack lunch and leave it on the step when we are not here. Don has become part of the family. He stops by almost weekly for a visit and a cup of tea or water. He brings his dog for a visit as well.

This morning he came by to deliver a package for me while I was at work. Some buddy of his was given a big express post package of pipe tobacco and he knew I smoked a pipe so he thought of me. My wife and girls called me to let me know. I spent the day wondering what he would have found. I also wondered about the reality of the story and if I was not just getting some of the fruit of his dumpster diving. The girls would not give me any hints other than it was a fairly large box. They certainly know how to wreck my concentration. When the day was over I packed my bag and headed home with expectation for what awaited me on the dining room table. What was it that Don brought me?

I got home and my wife and the girls were sitting on the porch with Don and Spaz. They were sipping tea and just visiting. Don had that twinkle in his eye that I had come to learn meant mischief and I really wondered what he had brought me. I grabbed a chair next to him on the porch and in front of it waiting for me just like a Christmas present on Christmas morning was a large box. It was a little worse for wear from the ride in his shopping cart. I fully expected it to be full of some tins of Amphora or something of a similar ilk. I opened the box and found a large bag inside. That bag was tied shut. I untied it and inside, double and triple bagged were these baccies. I was flabbergasted. I could tell by the look on Don’s face that he was enjoying my surprise and wonderment at his gift.

The Pease Classic Collection: (Sample 1 ounce bags)
Charing Cross
Abingdon
Blackpoint
Kennsington
Piccadilly
Stratford

The Pease Top 5 (Sample 1 ounce bags)
Barbary Coast
Haddos Delight
Cairo
Cumberland
Robusto

Aromatic sampler (1 ounce sample bags)
McClellands M55 Georgian Cream
Peter Stokkebye PS31 Optimum
Peter Stokkebye PS38 Highland Whiskey
Lane Hazelnut
McClellands 715 Raspberry and Cream

Dunhill (2 4 ounce Sample bags)
Dunhill A2000 Toasted Cavendish
Dunhill A3000 Black Cavendish

I opened my work bag and took out a pipe. I opened some Charing Cross and loaded the pipe. Don fired up a cigarette from his own makings and we sat and drank iced tea and enjoyed the beauty of the day. These were blends that I had not tried and were on the list to get. If I was to put together a list of baccies that I wanted to smoke it would have included many of these blends. I was grateful to my friend for this opportunity. I will never forget his kindness to me. One who had little in terms of the goods of this earth gifting me like this was incredibly moving. I just publicly want to acknowledge his gift to me! Thanks Don!

When I look back at that moment and the gift Don brought me I am still blown away by his generosity. Many of these tobaccos I had never had before. The Dunhill Tobaccos were ones that I was not familiar with and the aromatics were not ones I had tried before. The Pease samples were the first to go under the flame and I enjoyed them all. About a year ago now Don disappeared. I don’t know if he moved on or if he died. He struggled with major health issues and was literally wasting away. I will never forget him or his kindness to me. It was good to relive this moment today.

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