Smoking Props Accoutrements by KK
Our mother, The Ancient One, had all manner of smoking paraphernalia...no, not THAT kind of smoking...just tobacco and its accompanying holders, lighters, ashtrays and the like.
For many years, she used 4-inch cigarette holders, each with different artistic designs on them...depending on how she felt that day. And, it would be my guess that because she smoked cigarettes without filters and more than a handful a day, she probably felt pretty lousy every day, so perhaps the holders perked her up as she reached for her sterling silver Zippo with the inlaid turquoise stones spelling out her initials. I grew up loving the smell of napalm, I mean, lighter fluid permeating her immediate area...mixed with her Chanel No. 5, it was pretty powerful.
She had fingers that were each about 6 inches long with Chinese Red polish on her manicured nails. She knew that people would always be seeing her hands as they went back and forth to her matching Chinese Red lips with each puff off the multi-colored, polka-dotted holder which then left a soft, trail of silver smoke in her wake. It was movie-star quality, believe me.
All of this smoking took place back in the fifties, so there were no Stop-Smoking-Brigades chasing people down to lecture about how they would all die of lung cancer some day...even if they quit! So, our daddy smoked too. He also had his very own Zippo with his Navy pilot insignia on it, and when he clicked that Zippo, because he was manly handsome, it was a sexy gesture of the first order. The two of them could rival any MGM movie of that era with Ingrid Bergman and Bogie smokin' em up.
Mother and Daddy were both artists, so you can just imagine the artistic ashtrays they had strewn about in every room, of course. There were big, heavy, crystal ones and small, hand-thrown pottery ones with precious stones. We had ashtrays that resembled other things like birds, cats and flowers, and in the bedroom, Mother had a Chinese cloisonné ashtray next to her bed that should have been in a museum.
Now-a-days, you only see all of these props and accoutrements in the types of antique shops where each seller has a booth that is chock-a-block full of the most useless, dusty, worn out crap imaginable. Still, we have a lovely ashtray on the table on the deck in our back yard in case some smoking criminal should have to indulge while here for a visit. It's the least we can do...as homage to the good old days.
Mother and Daddy would be proud.