The best, the most exquisite automobile is a walking stick; and one of the finest things in life is going on a journey with it. —Robert Coates Holliday (1880-1947) American writer and literary editor
My Virginia Tobacco Trail Stick arrived today; a small piece of American history. I like things that tell a story. Propped next to the door are the storytellers. A growing collection of trail sticks to accompany my next adventure. I’ve collected them through the years, some are metal, others wood. The wooden sticks are my favorite.
My very first was made from ash; it is strong and of medium weight, smoothly polished, and honey-colored; this stick is still going strong after fifteen years. The second is made from the sweet gum. This was my first stick crafted by Jacob Moore at Brazos Walking Sticks. I love that the bark was left intact preserving its rustic charm. This stick is strong, lightweight, and perfect for the trail on hot days. Last year, I added a third that I picked up at an antique shop in a seaside town. Crafted from driftwood, this is my official Beach Stick. It is of medium weight, strong, and though taller than the rest, its blunt base is perfect for trekking Oregon’s Beaches. I also like the hand-painted, Native American symbols that surround a black bear, and the leather strap that holds a polished bear claw. These sticks have, and will continue to accompany me on the trail.
And now adding to my collection is the the Virginia Tobacco Stick, and the story behind it.
The tobacco stick is part of a collection discovered by the Brazos Company in a Century Barn in the Appalachian Mountains of Southwest Virginia. The Century Barn was once used to dry tobacco leaves that hung from long sticks. When tobacco farming faded, the sticks were retired to a corner of the barn where they slumbered for decades. Only recently did this modest treasure trove of American history surface thanks to the Brazos Company and the Century Barn owner—a fourth generation tobacco farmer. These tobacco sticks are from the early to mid 1900s. Smartly crafted, the wood is strong, and durable made from various native hardwoods such as sassafras, poplar, and sycamore. Most unique, is that these sticks are squared, not round, and many were hand-split, which adds to their charm. There is a leather wrist strap, and the base is fitted with a tough rubber ferrule to prevent wear. (Adding a personal touch, my husband made for me a handgrip using yellow paracord.) This stick is functional and beautifully handcrafted by woodworker Jacob Moore. Each is one of a kind. No two sticks are alike, and will accompany the modern day explorer for years to come.
The Tobacco Stick is a limited edition. For more information, or if you would like one for your own, visit the Authentic Tobacco Stick.
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