Sportin' a Cob at the TAPS 2009 Pipe Show

I got to spend this past Saturday with a few of my favorite friends; My Son Seth and my Son-in-Law Nathan. For the past few years we have heard about the TAPS (Triangle Area Pipe Smokers) in Raleigh NC, and finally my travels paused at just the right time. We decided to have a guy's day out, so off we went to Raleigh. The show was being held in a Holiday Inn and after paying the exorbitant $3 admission fee we were off to the races.

The room was smaller than I expected; about 50 X 50, but it was packed to the gills with tables full of pipes, tobacco, and everything cool tool remotely related to pipe smoking. Oddly enough the venue didn't allow smoking, so our loaded pipes had to be slipped into our pockets. (Whose idea was it to have a pipe show at a non-smoking venue?)

Our first stop was the first table to the right of the door. This table had a hundred or so premium brier and meerschaum estate pipes displayed in presentation boxes and on velvet drawstring bags. Of course my eyes were peeled looking for Aristocobs. Nothing here.

Seth and Nathan were digging through a large box of very "experienced" $5 pipes, when Seth handed me a unique, home-made aluminum pipe that was somewhat reminiscent of the Aristocob. "Nope, but close." Now I just had to dig in too. Falcon's with missing bits and cracked bowls... lots of Medico's and Dr. Grabow's... even one funky plastic pipe called "The Pipe".

It was then that I saw it. The absolute dream of every smoker to ever to seek permission to smoke in the family car! An ARISTOCOB!

The rest of the show was a blast. Me with a Freehand Missouri Meerschaum in one pocket and a nice Aristocob in the other. Seth and Nathan learned a bunch and they both learned that they had a favorite pipe style. Nathan was drawn to every Churchwarden he saw, and Seth couldn't keep his hands off the largest pipes on each table.

We talked to pipe carvers, tobaccos blenders and pipe lovers from all over the USA.

As we prepared to leave we asked one of the gentlemen at the ticket table to snap our picture with my phone, and one of them stood with his own camera and said he'd be happy to snap a pic with his camera and email me a copy. The top photo was taken by Bill Doherty. Thanks Bill!

The second photo shows my new Aristocob in the mouth of Carolina Jack. That's my Seth. Our neighbors would say "That boy just ain't right".

The show was followed by incredible pizza from "I Love NY Pizza", which is where Seth made his second home during his year at NC State. From there it was off to J.R.'s were we finally got to kick back in their smoking lounge to smoke our cobs. "Frog Morton on the Town" was a nice choice.

The day ended with us rejoining our Brides to review all the wonderful crap that they purchased during their day of "garage selling" (This is a misnomer for "Buying") then BBQ at the new Country Barbecue off St Rt 68 just north of High Point.

What a fun day. We should do it again soon, but next time the show HAS to allow smoking.

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