An old photo from one of our pipe club meetings back in 2005. Glorious times let me tell you. Check out that table! Doug (Rusty on the CPS Forum) is in the blue shirt, the author in the red check shirt and Denis in the foreground.
Today is Doug's birthday. Sadly, Doug passed away a couple of years ago, but his memory lives on being firmly entrenched in the spirit of the club. He brought so much knowledge and enthusiasm to all of us. He opened up a world of flavourful tobacco tastes and fanned into flame the desire for us all to obtain pipes of various makers, shapes and sizes....'enabler' is too kind of a moniker for him! He was more like pushing crack to addicts! He relished in it, too. (I can still hear his giddy and delightful laugh).
Not a day goes by when I'm smoking my pipes or looking over the tight collection that I have that I don't think of him. Doug continues to hound and inspire my decision making when it comes to pipes and tobaccos - "what would Doug think?", "what would Doug say about this idea?", "I wonder if Doug would like this particular tobacco?".
It was such a shock to us when he died. No chance for a goodbye, no last questions, no ability to tell him how much he impacted each one of us. But that's what life is like. Doug's death provided his final lesson to us all, and that is to cherish our present moments with our pipes and tobaccos and camaraderie, because one day it will be gone forever.
Whenever I get really sad about his no longer being here, I often remember a quote attributed to Dr. Seuss, who said: "Don't cry because it's over, smile because it happened".
Doug continues to leave us all smiling.