There existed a pipe of certain dimensions and character that became known as a Blowfish Nosewarmer. In some circles I have heard this pipe referred to as a Blownose or Fishwarmer. In any case, it is a beauty to behold. It is a Tsuge pipe and with that name comes fine reputation.

It must have been some time ago that I first heard of this pipe. A well known writer and pipe collector who traded stories for pipes was known to own this small gem that held birdseye grain on each side in waves that would make one dizzy. On one of my recent journeys around the island of Ohio (not to be confused with the non-island of Ohio,) I saw this pipe, and the story that follows tells it's tale. Be warned, the ending is not one to lift the spirits.

We dropped anchor at predetermined coordinates and waited for his ship. The writer was bringing stories and I pipes. We were both hoping for good trading that day. The winds were out of the north and stronger than anticipated. So strong that we began to drift, so the first mate had to swim down to the anchor and hold us in place. This afforded us a solid trial of the latest underwater pipe and waterproof tobaccos. It wasn't long before I could see the bubbles surface, bringing the fine smell of a good English blend from far below.

Soon the writer's ship appeared and dropped anchor near ours. Calculating the winds better than my own group, the writer's crew immediately sent their first mate down to steady the anchor. It had been some time since I had seen this fellow, but his legend for smoking very slow was well known. We set the bridge plank across the ships and he and I met in the center to discuss wares, trades and deals.

He was smoking a small reddish pipe with a black stem. I could see it was a blowfish shape. "How long have you been smoking that one?" I asked. "Three days." he said. "So it's new then?" I inquired. "No, I've had this pipe for years, I've been smoking the same bowl of tobacco for 3 days straight without outage or interuption." I was in disbelief. "How many matches?" I had to know. "Two. You know the drill." Obviously, his next slow smoking contest was on his mind.

Just then, the wind whipped up. I imagined the first mates on the sea floor having a time trying to keep these clippers from roaming. I didn't see it approach, but once it was near, you couldn't miss it. A large white bird the size of a first mate was diving right toward us. I had never taken cover from a sea bird in my life and wasn't going to start now. The giant albatross flung us both down onto the bridge plank and nearly into the black water below. Bruised and battered but nothing more, the writer and I both made it back to our feet.

Once righted, we both realized that something horrible had just occured. The blowfish was gone. Snapped from the writer's mouth, the gigantic bird had found what he came for and left us and our respective crews puzzled. The writer was so shaken by the theft of the blowfish nosewarmer, that he called off all possible transactions and spoke what we both already knew to be true. "The soul of a dead sailor plucked my pipe from me today." He then said, "There must have been albatross in last night's stew. Baron, safe weather back to your home. My cook dies today." Till this day, I comb each albatross nest I find for the Tsuge blowfish nosewarmer. I may never find it, but if I do, it will remain as safe as all future cooks on this little clipper. There is little more important than knowing what food you are eating when you are a pipe collector at sea.

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

AuthorOlie Sylvester