A ‘steward’ is simply someone who manages or cares for the property of another. When Steve Laug, author of Rebornpipes, encouraged me (maybe with a wee bit of gentle coercion 🙂 ) to publish my first write up on Rebornpipes, I didn’t realize that I would be entering somewhat of a sacred stewardship – the reclamation and restoration of estate pipes. “Estate” is an interesting use of a word – one might be tempted to use the word “used” pipe, but this would not tell the whole story. An estate sale is most often the liquidation of the worldly belongings of one who has died. When we receive an estate pipe, whether from an estate sale, an eBay auction or picking at our favorite thrift or antique store, the steward-less pipe we find, reclaim, restore, and recommission, is left to us by others. We are simply stewards. We know that those special, treasured pipes, which have claimed a favored place in our rotation and reflections, will too, one day, be passed on to others – perhaps to loved ones who will cherish the memories they bring or to steward restorers whose respect for the history, legacy and life of each pipe’s former stewards will apply his skill to give their pipe a new and fresh start at yet another lifetime. We are all stewards of the life given to us, but I am also a steward of pipes passed on to me and this is why the site is called, The Pipe Steward.
As stewards of the life gifted to us, my wife and I have lived and worked in Bulgaria now for a decade and in Europe for over 20 years. We work helping fellow broken people find a better, surer path in life. We work alongside of other like-minded people who we consider family. Family is important. During the years of our time in Europe our children have, in turn, returned to the US to walk the paths the Giver of life has set for them. One of the unexpected pleasures of writing about pipes is that it not only allows me to hone the exacting skills a needy pipe deserves, but also to relay stories of life – the unearthed story of the pipe on my work desk, and, in a limited and passing way, my story and of those nearest to us.
Another unexpected and appreciated discovery of posting that first restoration, the fruit of Steve’s strategic encouragement, was the camaraderie among fellow-restorers, bloggers and commentators that I’ve met (virtually) via posts on Rebornpipes. As a relative newcomer and one who has ‘newbie’ questions, I have benefited and grown because of the welcome and experience of others – a true fellowship, indeed. It has been gratifying to post the fruits of my pipe-work on Rebornpipes.com and for Steve’s virtual ‘welcome mat’ to folks like me. I hope that these meager contributions to the opus of pipe restoration lore are beneficial to those who read them!
Dal in Bulgaria