I don't think I've ever been to a Sherlockian meet-up in the early afternoon before, and that's a pity.
Sure, there are those all day affairs, when one listens to speakers or panels, but to show up at 2 P.M. on a Saturday and talk Sherlock for an hour or two? I really don't think I've done that. And it was amazing how well that format works.
With that unusual thing called "a free Saturday" this week, I drove down to St. Louis where I had lunch with Rob Nunn and the founder of the Parallel Cases of St. Louis, Mr. Joseph J. Eckrich (I'm not usually so formal in speaking about Joe, but his founder role seemed to call for it.) and then headed down the street to the library for the group's September meeting on "The Five Orange Pips."
As long as I can remember, Sherlockian society meetings have always been in the evening. Sometimes involving dinner, many times not, and filling the evening like any other social gathering . . . which is probably why the topic of conversation at so many of them often runs away from the subject of Sherlock Holmes. It's in the evening, you're gathering with friends, people bring non-Sherlockian dates or spouses, conversation wanders. It's only natural.
But in the afternoon, in a library meeting room, where every single person has gathered for no other purpose than to talk Sherlock? Well, you talk Sherlock!
And with a right-sized group ranging diversely in age and backgrounds, there was good Sherlock talk to be had. The enthusiasm of my fellow attendees for the story of Sherlock Holmes and those five orange pips gave a freshness to the tale that I haven't felt in years, remembering what it was like to consider the stormy atmosphere and suspenseful nature of the mystery Holmes is called upon to solve . . . only to fail.
Details came up that sparked ideas for later consideration . . . not without comment to the Parallel Cases, of course . . . but I typed several notes into my phone for future expansion as time allows. (Most of which will show up here.) And I was inspired to bring a bit of St. Louis's spirit back to Peoria for future endeavors here.
It was good to see that Sherlockian spirit still going on in St. Louis, a city with some really great Sherlockian moments in its past. Riverboats, Jeremy Brett, and a "Holmes Under The Arch" convention that never really took place under the St. Louis Arch (for which I hope the truth-in-advertising police have finally forgiven us), and I hope to get back again one day soon.