A Strange Request


This is probably the weirdest blog I will write. Maybe this is where I reveal my true character, and scare folks away. It is where I separate the men from the boys, the women from the girls, the wheat from the chaff… you get the point. When I was a kid and my dad was a hipster before being a hipster was a thing, he had this hat, from R.J. Reynolds, that had this cool little hand logo with tobacco leaves, and it said “Pride in Tobacco.” He was extra cool because it was a trucker hat. For years and years and years, I tried, in vain, to find a hat or patch with the logo, not knowing about the “pride in tobacco” part, instead trying to find it on the logo alone. For years, I tried, and I failed. And then, just weeks ago in Winston-Salem, I happened upon the logo on the side of a building.


It’s that hand there, in the center. Eureka! I cried out, startling my son in the back seat. I was beside myself with joy, knowing that I could now become the Ultimate Hipster with my nostalgic and ironic icon of a bygone industry of my home city. Not only Ultimate Hipster, but Ultimate Durhamite. Maybe even Ultimate North Carolinian. Okay, that’s maybe a step too far, but the others seem well within my grasp.

flowerstack-On to the internet I jumped, Googling Pride in Tobacco, which turned up results on Etsy, ebay, and elsewhere. Everything I found on Etsy was old and had already been sold off, and I have an aversion to using eBay unless there is no alternative–the experience just always makes me feel, I don’t know… dirty. And, even if I loved using eBay and used it enthusiastically to sell rare and highly sought-after LPs from the nooks and crannies (and basements and attics) of America, buying this patch, this thing that I had sought, unsuccessfully, for so long, just seemed too easy. Also, eBay seems only to have the patches, not the marvelous yellow and white trucker’s hats that I really covet.


So here’s the pitch, from one North Carolinian to another: we share an appreciation of hard work, our ancestors, and the history of this great North State. Things good and bad have shaped and molded the towns and cities that we call home, and tobacco–love it or hate it–is inextricably linked to much of North Carolina’s history, especially in towns like Winston-Salem and my own Durham. I feel like I need, for whatever reason, something that has this Pride In Tobacco logo and slogan on it, and it must be something authentic, and used. Kitschy, maybe. Nostalgic, certainly. I am willing to offer either my services as a portrait photographer, or a handsome print of your choosing, in exchange for this item. If there is a story told by someone deeply tied to it, all the better, because I love a good story.

That’s really the point of all this, the stories. That’s why I can’t bring myself to click a button and “Buy it Now” on eBay. I want to connect to people, in the same way that people were connected to each other, and their crops, their land, and their livelihood. Though times change, and cities evolve, the past is important, and special.

One Comment

  1. scott prine on Jan 26, 2015 at 7:48 pm

    I have a few metal signs with that insignia on them

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