A man sits down at an aged picnic table miles away from civilization. The table's old brown and amber bolts, now barely holding it together, show signs of weeping rust down the face of the gray wood. He rests his hands on the warm prickly top that patiently awaits the release of a splinter into an unsuspecting host every so many years. Today would not be it's day to make satellites. 

The man takes a deep breath and looks around. To his right, the quiet lake surrounded by swaying pines gently moved by the warm breeze. To his left, the palmetto scrub, the undergrowth that is much of Florida's self styled jungles. In front and behind him, the dirt path in and out of the secluded area. He waits for the better part of ten minutes, soaking the sun into his pores and smelling the specific fragrance that nature has in this lush and green part of the world. Slowly, he produces the following from his well worn pockets: a duck call, a pipe, a tin of tobacco held shut with a rubber band, a pipe tamper fashioned from some kind of bone, and a box of matches. 

He chooses the duck call first and immediately employs the old smoothed wood with air. His breath, so recently wild, expels from all areas of his lungs and is born into three sounds parted by pause. The three almost identical sounds divide the space with an audible energy as far as the invisible waves carry. Without hesitation, fourteen other men and women materialize from the surrounding area like ghosts suddenly live again. The man finally speaks…"Afternoon brothers and sisters." Each of the fourteen who are now slowly, calmly approaching the picnic table where he sits, offer up their own unique responses while producing their pipes. Some of these lovely instruments are made of Turkish Meerschaum. One is made of cherry, but most are made of the very rare wood commonly known as briar. The first man speaks again, "I welcome you to Florida, I welcome you to Spring, and I welcome you to our pipe club. Should the need arise brothers and sisters, remember these words…Yosemite, August one, north of Old Faithful." 

The art of packing and lighting a pipe happens now, fifteen times over. Lighters and matches can be heard conjuring fire over and over again. A new calm resounds and the small billowing clouds of tranquility rise from the small chimneys in praise of the old Goddess, Lady Nicotina. For almost a solid twenty minutes, old friends enjoy each others company with conversation, with memories, with an easy going demeanor nearly lost in the world. Then it happens. The distant barking is heard, first by few, but eventually by all. As quickly as this group shape assembled, it dispersed, back into the surrounding nature. The pieces of the whole will split, but will move likewise away from the dogs now hunting their tobaccos. Not until August one of the Summer will the kaleidoscope happen upon a similar shape again. 

—Olie Sylvester 
Baron, International Oom Paul Society of Non-Typicals

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AuthorOlie Sylvester