Whenever I watch America’s Got Talent, I watch two programs at the same time. The current one which has Heidi Klume, and the one from my youth which has Jean Hersholt.
Hersholt was a kindly father figure living on a farm in the Alps. He was loved by Heidi, who was played of course by Shirley Temple. Whenever Shirley’s guardian became too stressful he would take out his Alpine pipe, pack it with tobacco, and light it up.
Since my father smoked a pipe, I had full knowledge of the aroma that this tobacco produced. It was almost like being there with Shirley and Jean —- the earliest 3D experience of my youth.
My father was similar to Jean Hersholt. He was very comforting, and I believed he could solve any problem that I might have, just as Hersholt solved Shirley’s stressful problems and endeavors. My father was my personal Superman, and each year at Christmas I looked forward to be able to get him a gift to repay him for the comfort he gave me.
We did not celebrate Christmas, nor did we know what his real birthdate was. So we just chose Christmas as his birthday. I saved all my pennies, and enticed my sister to take me shopping. Then in one small store I saw the Alpine pipe —-the kind little Heidi’s guardian smoked. This would be perfect. Luckily I had saved up enough coins so that I had almost enough to buy this spectacular and fitting gift. This was a symbol of this very kind and loving Swiss farmer. Because I did not have enough to make this purchase, my heart sank. The storekeeper saw how sad I became, and lowered the price.
On Christmas Day I was thrilled to hand Pop his precious gift as I sang Happy Birthday. He must have known how important this gift was to me, and he smoked this particular pipe quite often. The aroma was delicious, and I enjoyed being in the room with him. The tobacco he smoked was called Prince Albert.
…and just as the queen loved Albert, I loved the tobacco that was named after Victoria’s husband. But most important, my father realized that I loved him.
Image by rawpixel on Freepik