But for some reason, @IHearOfSherlock was not on my Twitter feed this year, so I didn't get the rest of the honors list, which contained some other names of interest. And as I have been remiss in congratulating friends who were celebrated by that system I'm not all that fond of in previous years, there was one name popping up this year that I wanted to make sure and give a special note to: Bill Mason.
Bill is one of that fine group of Nashville Sherlockians, whose hospitality can be some of the best out there. During one particularly notable hiatus in my career, I got to spend a few days with the folks in Nashville, and were I to ever have to leave Peoria, it's one of the top three Sherlockian cities I would be picking from to call home, thanks to that visit.
We meet a lot of great people in Sherlockian life, but there are a handful of great friends I've come across in the course of this hobby who actually deserve the title "gentleman" which gets so casually bestowed upon crowds. And it's not just about knowing to behave one's self. A true gentleman has a kindness and a patience, as well as the ability to let it all go on occasion and just have some fun.
And Bill Mason is one of those I regard as a gentleman, because even though he's got all the same sort of quirks and tempers I find in myself, he behaves a helluva lot better. The B.S.I. are going to enjoy the hell out of having him among them. (The ladies of my family say I shouldn't say "hell" in front of children and I just used it twice in this paragraph, so I apologize to my child readership. See? Not so much a gentleman.)
But here's what I also love about Bill Mason. He's also contains those rare alchemical qualities that are great to work with on a project, primarily being a.) talent, and b.) a sense of fun. The latter was surely evidence by the time that, having discovered we were both fans of that silly old syndicated musical comedy show Hee Haw, we decided to put on a Sherlockian tribute to it called Hee Haw Holmes during a Chattanooga Sherlockian weekend. It was ridiculous, it had some awful jokes (and some great ones), and it provided one of those memories that always reminds you that surely there can be surely no better hobby than being a Sherlock Holmes fan.
Back when I was publishing The Holmes & Watson Report, Bill was a favorite contributor and when some of that work made it into his book Pursuing Sherlock Holmes, I enjoyed it a second time between hardcovers. And that would be cool enough, but here's where Bill really stepped up:
He completely disagrees with me about CBS's Elementary. And yet he could still find it in him to be complimentary about my often-rude, overly-obsessive, rampages against the show. And he was completely willing to actually join this blog for a couple posts and debate me on the subject. And better still, I was willing to let him . . . which is a very high bar to clear. (We crazed bloggers can be very possessive of our little piece of web-space.)
So as delighted as I am in what Kristina Manente represents in getting into the hallowed halls of the Baker Street Irregulars this year, I'm also pretty thrilled that my friend Bill Mason cleared that hurdle as well. He'll be a lot better behaved than this particular Irregular and still bring a good chunk of talent in with him. Congrats, Bill.