Friday, May 16, 2014

I hear of Don Hobbs everywhere.

It truly troubles me what an isolated little Sherlockian corner that I've allowed myself to get painted into in the past few years. Opportunities to get out of Peoria aren't what they used to be, and 2014 has made that little issue even worse. But Sherlock Peoria isn't where I come to complain about work situations and the like -- I make that point to bring the topic around to my opposite number, my old website partner Don Hobbs. He seems to be everywhere these days, and his latest appearance was on Episode 64 of Scott Monty and Burt Wolder's I Hear of Sherlock Everywhere podcast, "Sherlock Holmes in Translation."

Don's got a lot of tales to tell, enough that there's always something new. His conversation with Scott and Burt brought out several neat tidbits I'd missed, along with something more. Remembering back to when I first met Don in the early 1990s in Santa Fe, New Mexico, I remembered having the opportunity to tour the home of one of the great collectors of all time, John Bennet Shaw. In those days, his collection of Sherlockiana might have been the biggest in the world. (Who ever knows for certain about such things?)  But that was then, and this is now, and at this point the sheer Sherlock Holmes mass acquired by my friend Don has probably grown past what we saw at Shaw's house then.

One of my favorite little mind games is to think of what some modern experience would feel like to a version of myself at some point in the past, and to think what early 1990s Don Hobbs would think of the collection that 2014 Don Hobbs has amassed makes me laugh with joy. Our paths never take us exactly where we thought we'd go, but we still wind up in some amazing places nonetheless.

These days, Don's collection of foreign editions gets him a lot more attention than his 1895 mile expedition to Sherlock, Texas and back, his cataloging of Sherlockian periodicals, or the thousands of dinners he's had with Sherlockians individually and en masse over the years (My copy of The Perfect Hamburger is autographed by Don for a reason!), but he remains a Sherlockian of many talents and accomplishments. It was good to hear him on the podcast airwaves, and it will be fun to see where he'll turn up next.


  1. I lived in Lewisville, Tx. for a few years, and it was a great pleasure having Don Hobbs in neighboring Flower Mound, Tx., as my own personal John Bennet Shaw for those years.

  2. Like yourself, Don was a most interesting guest. To me, it's always fascinating to get the individual stories, impressions, disappointments and the like from each Sherlockian. While we may be painted with a broad brush by the external world, there's so much uniqueness and variability among us.

    Thanks for the plug!