Thursday, November 24, 2016

Pilgrims of the Canon . . . the choice!

One of the best things about the American art of Thanksgiving is that the requirements are very few. Cook a meal, eat a meal. Some overly sentimental sort might ask for everyone to state something they're thankful for to put some kind of seriousness to the event, but therein lies a dangerous path to the fact we're celebrating a kindly act from indigenous peoples who later got seriously screwed over. Better to just cook the food and eat the food.

But if you want to go with pilgrims and are truly Sherlockian, you've got one of two ways to go . . .

"Pale-faced, meek-looking women; strong, laughing chidren; and anxious, earnest-eyed men" -- the great Mormon pilgrimage that crossed John Ferrier's path in his time of need, shouting "Forward! On, on to Zion!"

Or . . .

"A cargo of Malay pilgrims . . . a rum crowd" who Jonathan Small and Tonga settled in with on the way to Jiddah, a Saudi Arabian port on the red sea. "They had one very good quality; they let you alone and asked no questions."

So as you gather with family and friends this Thanksgiving, you can go one of two ways as a devout Sherlockian who lives their life by Canonical example: Religious fervor on the topic of your choice or just leave everyone alone and ask no questions.

Two completely opposite approaches, but you'll note in those passages from the first two Holmes novels, A Study in Scarlet and The Sign of Four, both groups of pilgrims are inclusive and take in a pair of mismatched travelers for the journey ahead. And that is the best lesson to take away. No matter what the eventual outcome of your relationship with those you make your passage of the holiday with today, being a true pilgrim is accepting the travelers who are with you on your journey.

Because a happy (?) Black Friday awaits us all tomorrow in any case. Sales on Black Peter. Black Giorgiano, a Blackheath rugby player, the Black Swan Hotel . . . or maybe those just start later this afternoon. But for now, as wacky ol' John Wayne would say, have a good day, pilgrims.

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