Tuesday 22 July 2014


Yesterday I went with Louise to Lenscrafters so that she could exchange her glasses for a pair that work when you are at a computer. Do you blame the glasses or should you just take the hit yourself for allowing your eyes to get old? Personally, I will put the blame on anything other than myself, but I am something of an ass.

While Louise was getting looked after and since my opinion on anything fashionable is suspect, we decided that I could help the most by leaving the store. I wandered the mall for a while, came back to check on Louise’s progress, wandered the mall for a while, came back to check on Louise’s progress, wandered the mall for a while, came back to check on Louise’s progress and then wander some more. I guess that too many people were on holiday and one of the main guys who fitted the glasses had a heart attack. My initial thought was of how inconsiderate he was. It was meant to be an internal joke, but the inner me just shook his head and wondered what the hell is wrong with me. Oh well, back to wandering.

I haven’t smoked for close to twenty years, but a lot of my early memories are punctuated with cigarettes and later on the pipe. I still feel very nostalgic about the times I smoked and sometimes I almost wish that I could smoke again. Before I quit, I couldn’t understand what I would do if I didn’t smoke. Now, I wonder why I started to smoke in the first place.
In my wanderings in the mall, I noticed a Sheffield and Sons Tobacconists. When I was smoking, I bought my cigarettes and tobacco from a corner store or a grocery store for the most part. Every now and then my buddy and I would venture into a tobacconists shop to see how the other half lived. They lived pretty well!
They carried foreign cigarettes, a huge assortment of domestic smokes, cigars that ranged in price from affordable to “Are you kidding me?” There were many varieties of pipe tobacco and chewing tobacco. If it contained tobacco, this was a place that you could find it. There were so many pipes that I would have to come back many times to see them all. I loved the Meerschaum pipes that were carved into people, dragons, birds and animals. They were delicate geometric designs and pretty much anything that can be imagined. They would have any and all of the various things needed by the discriminating smoker to trim, roll, clean, polish and light the tobacco. I always felt a little like James Bond when I walked into a tobacconists shop. It was smoker’s heaven!

Yesterday, when I walked into the shop, it was pathetic. Tobacco has to be hidden behind a cabinet door according to the government. There were five or ten pipes behind glass and a smattering of lighters. I have no way of knowing if cigars lay hidden behind the doors, but I’m sure they were few and far between. There were a good assortment of those “smokeless” cigarettes and I saw something you could carry in your pocket to snuff out and save those cigarettes butts that are too big to throw away. They are expensive!

Most of the business seemed to come from lotto tickets, pop, chips and gum. Things have to change, and there are fewer smokers now, but it is pretty sad for me to watch. I choose to remember the glory days and will try to forget what I saw. For me, going into a Tobacconists shop will always be the magical experience it was when I was younger, and I will remember the smell of all kinds of tobacco in all of its past glory.

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