Hello fellow (and lady) pipe smokers and friends of the CPCC. This is Paul Bender, Assistant Show Director and full time Charatan collector. As I sit here typing this, I would be packing my bags on Monday after the Show to be on my way home after spending the past 5 days with friends and tobacco dealers while acquiring addition pipes and tobaccos that I really don’t need. However, “need” has nothing to do with the matter. As I’m sure most of you are aware, pipe collecting is, to a significant degree, a matter of obsession. No matter how many top quality pipes you have, there’s always that one particularly whimsical Charatan, or that one relatively rare Dunhill shape or even better, a singularly unique style or shape from a carver that you may have just met or have known for awhile. You simply can’t leave without it and that’s that.
I find it somewhat ironic the way things have turned out this year. After loosing our venue for the past 19 years at Pheasant Run, our Associate Director, literally singlehandedly, found us an alternate venue that would have welcomed us and provided us with all of the essentials needed for the Show. Unfortunately, fate, misfortune, whatever you want to call it intervened and a world wide pandemic forced cancellation of this year’s event. Depressing……………I know. However, other shows are scheduled for this year, circumstances willing, and with the continuing support of our friends, dealers, carvers and pipe smokers worldwide we will be able to re-establish ourselves next year. That rare Dunhill or exquisitely carved piece from a contemporary carver will somehow make it’s presence known and we will all go home happy. Not to mention that rare tin of Latakia laced tobacco that we may pay a small fortune for but get every penny back in enjoyment.
What is every bit as important as the new pipe (well………..at least almost as important) is the people that we have missed seeing this year but will certainly reconnect with at subsequent events and at next year’s Chicago Show. While the success of the Chicago Show has been attributed to the Club members who have selflessly given of their time and talents, it is the people who come to the Show year after year as well as the new pipe smokers getting into the hobby and looking for a couple of good, not overly expensive pieces of briar for their inevitably growing collection that make the event the success that it has become and will hopefully continue to be for years to come. Stay connected with your friends in the hobby wherever they may be, even Texas.