A few months ago, shortly after my brother passed away, I received an e-mail expressing sympathy from a friend and colleague. My friend had taken a year off work to travel around the world with her husband, doing missionary work and generally having an adventure along the way. When I received her e-mail they were ensconced somewhere in Italy on month number nine of their trip.
She asked if there was anything I needed in that time of mourning. I had just begun my pipe collecting misadventures, had received a pipe from my mother-in-law in Poland, and half jokingly replied that I didn’t really need anything, but if she liked she could pick me up a pipe. Her next e-mail was filled with maybe just a little bit of shock, but she agreed, and said she and her husband would look for something.
Yesterday, a package arrived for me at the front desk at my office. This is not unusual, my wife and I get packages shipped there all the time. I looked at the declaration first, which stated in neatly written capital letters, “SMOKING (TOBACCO) PIPE”. Just last week I’d placed orders with SmokingPipes.com and DandishPipeShop.com, so I thought it was one of those orders. However, when I got back to my desk and set the package down, I thought it strange that the declaration was for a single item when I distinctly remembered ordering several things from each shop (pipes, tampers, etc.). It was at this point that it dawned on me that I was holding a DHL box from Deutsche Post so it could not be any of my recent orders. I finally looked at the sender’s name and realized my friend had been true to her word, as she always is.
I waited until I got home to open the package. Inside, was a black satin pouch containing a lovely full bent billiard with a rusticated bowl and white band. The shank was stamped Molina, Made In Italy. My friend (or more accurately, her husband) had picked up the pipe in a shop in Italy, but had waited until arriving in Germany to ship it. (A wise, choice, as I have no doubt the German post office is more efficient than the Italian).
I did a few quick searches on the internet for Molina Pipes, but did not find much. There website is in Italian so I will have to spend some time with Google translator to learn more about this Italian pipemaker.
This pipe is a wonderful gift, something truly unique in my fledgling collection, and all the more special because of the loving kindness of the wonderful friends who took the time to pick it out and ship it half way around the world. If my friend were to ask me again if there is anything I needed, I would have to say that she just gave it to me. Many thanks.