Okay, so we all can agree that our world is in a major tussle right now. Every one of us has been affected in some way as our country(s) wage war with the coronavirus. The world’s best minds are hard at work to win the war and I firmly believe they’ll get the job done. My heart goes out to those of you whose lives have been deeply affected, and I constantly pray for the untold thousands of heroes out there who are literally putting their lives on the line every day while taking care of the afflicted.
As for us, the pipe and tobacco hobbyists of the world, there are still many ways to stay connected during this very difficult period of “social distancing.” With everyone’s monthly pipe club meetings put on hiatus, pipe shows being cancelled (the first being the Chicago Show, scheduled for the first weekend in May, and probably more to come), how do we stay connected? Well, some folks have already come up with innovative ways to continue to fellowship with one another and I thought I’d share a few of the ones that I’ve heard about and others that I am personally participating in.
The Austin, Texas Pipe Club is actually still holding monthly meetings through Zoom, which is a video communications that uses a cloud platform for video and audio conferencing, collaboration, chat, and webinars across mobile devices, desktops, telephones, and room systems. Once an account is set up, anyone can join a particular group through their computers or any mobile devices. The members simply log on and can then see and visit with everyone in the group. The Austin Pipe Club members just log on from the comfort of their own homes and meet and visit with each other while smoking their pipes with their favorite tobaccos. Pretty neat!
Another simple way to have a get together with your pipe smoking friends is to simply use the FaceTime app on your cell phones. It is really easy. All you do is chose one person to initiate the group calls and once everyone is online, you have a group get together instantly! I recently participated in one and loved it. A group of about a dozen of us regularly get together every year at the Chicago Show and go out to dinner and pal around while attending the show. Since we are not having a Chicago Pipe Show this year, we recently decided to get together “virtually,” and had a lot of fun by doing the FaceTime thing. In fact, it was so easy and fun, we’ve decided to keep meeting weekly for awhile. I am already looking forward to that next meeting!
Although not real time with video and audio, staying connected with your pipe and tobacco hobbyists through Internet forums is also fun. There are several great forums out there and the one I not only participate in, but advertise in as well, is the largest of them all, pipesmagazine.com. As you can well imagine, with the social distancing thing, stay at home orders, etc, going on right now around the USA and elsewhere, the forums have enjoyed an explosion of participation from members over the last several weeks. It is fun to read about what is going on in the lives of like minded hobbyists, and Internet forums can indeed perk you up and alleviate your isolation discomfort. Over the 20-years of participating in those forums, I can’t count the number of friends that I’ve made from those forums and many of those friendships are still going strong today!
Another way to stay connected is to become a member of my First Responders Newsletter that is published weekly on Saturday mornings. In that newsletter, in addition to shamelessly advertising my products and letting the membership know exactly when my next website update is going to take place, I also publish portions of emails from fellow First Responders members who ask questions about this website, offer pipe smoking tips, etc. I am blessed to receive a lot of positive response from those who read the the newsletter, and if you want to stay connected with the Pipestud Consignment Shop membership who have the same hobby interests as you do, well then, if you have not already done so, please join us! You can easily sign up simply by scrolling to the bottom of any page on my website where the sign up form is kept.
And finally, there’s good old email. If you start feeling lonely or isolated, just email one of your pipe friends and start a conversation about pipes and tobaccos or anything else. I personally have been blessed in that regard. Because of my job as a pipes and tobaccos peddler, I get multiple emails daily from customers and/or pipe buddies. I love hearing what is on their minds. And my wife tells me that I am a much better listener through emails because I can’t interrupt her in mid-sentence. I never knew I did that.
Stay well, stay safe, and Happy Puffing,