Although I’ve been a Sherlockian for more than half a century, I’d never heard of my interest referred to as a “hobby” until perhaps half a dozen years ago. But the term fits.
“If a man has a hobby he follows it up, whatever his other pursuits may be,” Sherlock Holmes says in “The Adventure of the Illustrious Client.” That is one of just many uses of the word in the Canon.
One of the characteristics of hobbies is that they generally aren’t solitary. Name a hobby, and there is an association for it. By one count, there are almost 1,000 Sherlock Holmes societies in this beautiful world. A good deal of the fun is sharing our passion with others, meeting fascinating people who would be otherwise unknown to us.
This has been my joy since the publication of my first Holmes-centric book, Baker Street Beat, in 2011. At that point I entered the larger world of Holmes-mania beyond Ohio and made wonderful friends around the world, both in cyberspace and in person.
But even better – great as that is – I am blessed to have a wife who, though not herself a dedicated Sherlockian, has jumped into my hobby with a will. Ann is always on the lookout for a Sherlockian connection on our travels near and far, ready to take a picture or buy an obscure artifact related to that Baker Street guy.
On a brief trip this week not far from home to celebrate my retirement from the day job, she spotted the magical address of 221 (Main Street, not Baker) in Madison, Indiana. She had a photo almost before I knew what she was doing.
That’s what I call spousal support!