This is a good night to be inside. It's not only pitch black outside, but the fog or low clouds have really settled in. I can't even see the security lights on the barn from the porch. One thing about living on a mountain top, you get this kind of weather a lot.
Ever so often, a rain shower will pass over the mountain top and rattle on the shake roof. It must have been a cold front coming through, because the outside temperature has dropped ten degrees. I have a fire going in the fireplace, just a small one. More for light and atmosphere than for heat.
I'm listening to "The Sinatra Channel" on Sirius/ XM. It's not just Frank Sinatra, but it's that kind of music from that period. Interestingly, they call it "the channel night was made for." I guess because it's relaxing music.
My receiver is pretty old, and the docking station is even older. I've replaced the radio once. It's good quality sound, and you can listen to any kind of music. Right now Dean Martin is singing "Left my Heart in San Francisco." Can't beat that.
To go with the Sinatra channel, you have to have a drink. I have a good bottle of Captain Morgan spiced rum, and that suits the mood. Sometimes I like it with coke, but tonight just a little ice in the glass is working out nicely.
I rarely drink, and not to excess. I got all that out of my system when I was young.
Now, a good glass of something like rum is a special occasion, and I enjoy it all the more for that. Usually I drink some variant of Southern Comfort, but tonight is more of a rum night.
To go with the drink, you have to have tobacco. I quit smoking decades ago, as far as cigarettes go. But I still smoke a pipe. I have two racks of good wooden pipes, most of which I got in London on different trips up there while we lived in Italy.
But I also have a collection of Turkish Meerschaum pipes. I worked in Turkey a lot. Two things everybody bought in Turkey were the pipes, and gold jewelry for the wives.
I think I have about twenty of these, with their little cases. Some are really ornate, and others are plain . I have three I smoke. There was no motif or decoration you couldn't get in Turkey. Surprisingly for a Moslem country, pipes carved in the shape of nude females were popular. I bought one as a curiosity. Turks don't go in for skinny women, they like voluptuous women. So the women on the pipes are all what we would think of as plump. I never could figure out how they didn't get shut down, because the shop keepers kept them right on the displays and Turkey then was sectarian but still very Moslem.
Buying something in Turkey was a drawn out affair. You had to sit. You had to drink coffee. You had to make small talk. I am not good at that, but to do otherwise was rude. Fortunately, when I went to Turkey I almost always went with a Navy Senior Chief from the staff. He was born to get along in that environment, so he handled the chit chat. He did most of the bargaining for me too. You never paid the asking price, if you had you'd have been thought retarded. What, ten dollars for a Meerschaum pipe! Outrageous! So Senior Chief Audey haggled and I just sat there awkwardly. Senior Chief Audey was good with languages and he picked up considerable Greek and Turkish. People like it when you speak to them in their own language. He had panache, no denying that.
By the way, they served their coffee or tea in tiny little glass shot glasses, in silver holders. The damn stuff was scalding hot. You couldn't hold it and you couldn't drink it. But the Turks did both. The first time I went to Turkey I scalded my tongue. It hurt like hell, but you had to just smile and talk about how good it was. The Turks have no use for weakness. They are fierce people.
Here's a true thing about Turkey back then. I know no one will believe me but it's true. When you went into the gold sellers street in Izmir, if you saw something you liked but you couldn't make up your mind, the shop keeper would tell you to take it with you, keep it a day, and then come back. If you decided not to buy it, that was OK.
This was pretty shrewd psychologically because I doubt anyone ever came back and didn't buy the item. I never did, and as a consequence my wife has a good bit of gold and turquoise jewelry she never wears. I guess she will pass it on to my daughter . I never heard of anyone stealing from the shop keepers. The fact that the only way out of Izmir was through the airport may have had something to do with that. I don't think any navy ships ever went in there as a liberty port that I can remember. But I think really, that when somebody trusts you like that, you don't want to disappoint them, no matter how much of a cad you may be at heart.
Well, time to call it a night. Wasn't a bad day today. Not at all.