It is 1:04 PM on Sunday, and I am already reviewing the meeting of the Adventuresses of Sherlock Holmes that started at noon. Why? Because somehow, Evelyn Herzog, with technical support from Greg Ruby and Steve Mason, distilled what felt like three hours worth of Zoom speakers into a terrific hour of Sherlockian fun.
Of course, the fun for me didn't truly begin until I got to finish my toast to "Friendship," because I was more nervous than I've been in a decade, about anything. Why?
Because I've been wanting to get to a meeting of the Adventuresses for well over thirty years.
Back in the eighties snail mail days, Tina Rhea was a frequent correspondent and would write me of all the glories, fun, and frolic of the ASH gathering together. At a time when the BSI was still men-only and seeming a bit stodgy, that group seemed like the true fun Sherlockians, and I had even promised Tina I would attend in 1989, then got talked into the other January dinner by a friend who was strongly hinting at a shilling might be my reward. (It was, but that's another story.)
Now, I don't know about you, but even though we weren't Catholic, my mama raised my with a fully activated sense of guilt, and a couple of years later, when the Irregulars started letting women in, and the alternate January dinner was no longer the ASH dinner, I did get to NYC again and attend that other dinner, at least a couple of times. But it wasn't the ASH dinner. And since getting me to fly to New York for any reason became a harder and harder sell as the years past, the non-January ASH dinners never saw me in attendance either. That little thread of Sherlockian guilt never fully left.
Even after 2008, when I became an Adventuress myself, I never got to a meeting proper, but then along came this pandemic and Zoom. Suddenly, my chance was here. I actually volunteered to give a toast, not realizing how big that moment might feel, finally getting to be with the ASH and their friends, virtually traveling to New York in my mind. And had I not become so practiced at pontificating in front of the computer screen for podcasts, I might have been just a little freaked out by all that.
But, the moment passed, as all moments happily do, and the ASH meeting as a whole was full of thoughtful toasts and excellent presentations, all kept in one tidy hour in a demonstration of how much diverse and quality content can be put in a single hour of Zoom -- an inspiration to those of us trying to wrangle our own Zooms. While we didn't get to see all the faces of all those hundred and fifty Sherlockians present, and there was some confusion in the chat as to who was Peter Blau, it was one of the best virtual Sherlockian meetings I've attended, and while I hope the ASH can return to their old habits soon, I would not mind another one of these at all.
And if not, how much is a ticket to NYC?