Thursday, December 28, 2017

To absent friends . . .

Just before I fell asleep last night, the good Carter was telling me of someone we knew a long time ago giving her a call. As a result, I had a dream of two accomplished Sherlockians showing up in my living room. One of them did a little kvetching in a Christmas card this year about my absence from his domain of late. The other, I think I might have just mixed enough offense and irrelevance to be a bit persona non grata, but one can never be sure of those things.

In any case the thought of absent friends . . . a phrase we usually use for the dead and not the living . . . came on strong this morning. As Carter and I discussed last night, the longer you live, the more friends you can pick up with just a little travel, job-changing, and being out in the world. So many that even seeing them all just once a year becomes impossible for all practical purposes. That's what Christmas cards are for, I think, to give a nod and a wink to those we haven't seen in a while, but the internet has quickly eroded such traditions for many of us.

The Sherlock Holmes birthday weekend in New York owes its success to a similar tradition. My biggest complaint about those years I ventured East for it was the fact that I had so many five-minute-or-less conversations with so many Sherlockians to squeeze in between the dinner-table talks, and I wished they all could have been longer. But at least five minutes is a chance to touch base, acknowledge all is well with that person, and show you're happy for their existence.

New York City itself, however, was never a good friend of mine, which makes that tradition a bit of a problem each year. And maybe another tradition or two, but we shan't belabor that here.

Christmas is all about those Christmas things, but New Year's Eve? The holiday next on our calendar?

Drinking. Resolutions. And that song: Auld Lang Syne. From a Robbie Burns poem meaning "old long since."  A song which famously begins, "Should Old Acquaintance be forgot, and never brought to mind . . ."  The whole song is a toast, and a question, "Will we forget our old friends?" . . . as well as the answer, "No, let's raise a glass to them!"

A long Sherlockian life, lived fully, is a life full of friends. More friends than you will ever be able to keep up with. And you will feel like shit about that sometimes. But once a year, you can raise a glass, even of just refreshing spring water, if you're not into the oft-problematic beverages, and remember as many of them as you can . . . and hope that somewhere, they're doing the same.

Here's to ya, you Sherlockian charmers, you.

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