|Close-up of the Tankerville Club meeting of March 6, before social distancing|
As an introvert, I’ve never thought of myself as very social. But Sherlockian social distancing has me down.
The COVID-19 pandemic has brought a shuddering halt to scion meetings and conferences across the Sherlockian world. The holes thus blown in my formerly crowded calendar have made me acutely aware of what I have temporarily lost. The opportunity to come together for fun and friendship with a fascinating group of people is a priceless treasure easily available to most.
We were fortunately able to hold our quarterly meeting of the Tankerville Club of Cincinnati as usual on March 6, with only one person missing because of health concerns related to the coronavirus. Just nine days later, when bars and restaurants in the state of Ohio were forced to close, the Agra Treasurers of Dayton had to cancel the annual Holmes, Doyle, & Friends conference. (Holmes, Doyle will be back at full strength in 2021!)
By that time, another conference and a scion society meeting Ann and I planned to attend had been canceled. I’m not sick and, being retired, I’m not out of a job. So, I have nothing to complain about compared to others. But I do miss the in-person Sherlockian interaction, which the virtual kind doesn’t quite replace.
If you’re a Sherlockian who doesn’t belong to a local group, I urge you to do so when life resumes. Mike McSwiggin lists 259 such groups around the world in this year’s Baker Street Almanac. The glorious variety among them is stunning.
A Sherlockian society club may bring together members based on geography or almost other common denominator – from a penchant for bow ties or cigar-smoking to a shared hobby or profession. Membership may be invitation-only, require surviving a rite of passage, or be open to anyone who shows up. (“Attend one meeting and we will consider that an honest mistake. Attend two and you are considered a member of Watson’s Tin Box.”)
Meetings may be annual, bi-annual, quarterly, monthly, or irregularly; for breakfast, lunch, or dinner; and embodying any number of traditions such as quizzes, discussions, toasts, and a recitation of Vincent Starrett’s “221B” to close the gathering. There may be dues or not.
Whatever your other interests or level of congeniality, there is a Sherlockian society – or, more likely, several – ready to welcome you home.