Friday, October 11, 2013

Live and Let Live?

Lalique Jamaique Ashtray
“You know, Alfred,” said Mother, “There are two things that are very important to me; being right, and having everything right around me.”

Alfred looked up suspiciously at Mother and thought to himself, “I wonder where Mother is going with this?”  Before him was his collection of fine pipes, a Lalique Jamaique Ashtray, his Rodgers Rosewood Chancet pipe knife, and a small pile of chenille pipe cleaners.  Alfred always thought pipe smoking was more of a hobby than a habit.

He put down the Ashton Bent Billiard Briar pipe he was cleaning and said, “Yes, Mother, but life isn’t always that simple.”

“Yes, I know, Alfred,” said Mother, “and that is why I have made a new resolve.  I have decided to live and let live.”

“Well, Mother,” said Alfred, “that’s very handsome, but it seems to me that it’s easier said than done; at least I find it so.  The ‘live’ part is easy and I think we do that rather well, although there are times when I wonder if we don’t do it too well.  But the ‘let live’ part is very difficult.  Just how do you mean ‘let live’?  That flies in the very face of the need to have everything right around us.”

“Well,” snapped Mother, “Anyway that’s my resolve, and I mean to keep it.”

“Oh, don’t misunderstand me,” said Alfred.  “I think it’s a fine resolve and even one that I might embrace myself.  Sometimes I find it difficult putting up with our dog Pippa.  I found her wandering around with one of my Red Velvet Albert Slippers in her mouth this morning.”

“Oh, say it isn’t so, Alfred,” said Mother laughing.”

“It certainly is so,” huffed Alfred. “I paid $235.00 for them and I don’t want Pippa chewing on them.”

“Alfred,” said Mother crossly, “that’s not the worst thing that could happen.”

Alfred thought for a minute then said, “There seems to be another problem with your resolve.  By ‘let live,’ do you mean we have no responsibility for others around us?”

“No, of course not Alfred,” said Mother.  “It’s just that I have resolved not to let little things bother me.  Everything doesn’t have to be perfect.  Sometimes good enough is good enough.”

“Mother, that’s quite a step,” said Alfred, picking up his Damiano Rovera briar and gently reaming out the bowl with his pipe knife.  Then he finished by running a chenille pipe cleaner through the stem. 

“That’s better,” said Alfred, tamping some Captain Black tobacco into the bowl and lighting it up with a sigh.

Mother watched as some sparks flew up from the pipe and faded in the air.  A fine white ash descended gently to the table top.  Mother pursed her lips, then finally blurted out, “Alfred, I know that’s a very fine pipe, but I can’t help thinking that pipe smoking is a very nasty habit.  Just the other day I threw out one of your Golden Fleece dress shirts.  One of the sparks from your pipe had burnt a hole right in the front pocket, but I said to myself ‘Live and let live!” but it did annoy me, and just look at that mess in the ash tray.”

Alfred looked at Mother and raised his eyebrows, “That is unfortunate Mother, I will try to be a little more careful; but it so very difficult for either of us to ‘live and let live.’’

“Alfred.  Enough!  I don’t want to talk about it anymore!” said Mother.

“Surely there is not a righteous man on earth who does good and never sins” (Eccles. 7:20).

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