Friday, March 11, 2022

Venturing Back Into Humanity, Dayton Edition

 Tonight was the opening volley of "Holmes, Doyle & Friends 2022" in Dayton, Ohio, the latest in their long-running string of conferences going back to Al Rodin's original November 1981 event. It's been through a few organizers since then, but some of the faces have remained the same for decades, with some very notable appearances by very notable Sherlockians over the years.

Just arriving at the Clarion Inn that was ground zero for the weekend, I immediately encountered Sherlockians from three different states, Texas, Tennessee, and Iowa, as I checked in. And that range of attendees was going to increase almost immediately. New York, Michigan, Indiana, Missouri, and Chicago (not a state, but if you're from central Illinois, close enough!) were represented, and I'm sure I've forgotten a state or two already.

The weekend typically starts with a simple social reception, hosted by the Agra Treasurers, with a splendid array of food and drink. Finding the time and place of that reception wasn't the easiest thing this year, as a few of us wandered three different hotels looking for it, only to fine it wasn't to start for another hour and a certain Ohio author was hosting a happy hour up on the third floor in the in-between time. But find things we did, and quickly learned that Zoom meetings definitely do not show you how very tall a particular Sherlockian you met there might actually be. 

Particularly notable at the reception were the little beehive cupcakes and honeycomb cookies that someone came up with for a Sherlockian connection. But little sandwiches, veggies, and platters of other goodies served as a fine light supper for those of us that hadn't eaten yet. We got to chat up old friends and a few new ones, hear all sorts of stories of Sherlockians past and present, and generally enjoy ourselves before winding up at the hotel bar for a time.

It was quite a drastic change from the world of only a couple of months ago, and all the maskless socializing definitely makes one wonder if some remaining vestiges of the virus might be present in our midst. No one seemed to be holding back, hugs were common, and rooms were filled up. Folks are more than ready to get back to life as it once was, and that was definitely what was happening this evening, but having lived through the past couple years, it was hard not to wonder if we are all going to come out of this without an infection or two. ("And infection or two . . ." -- five years ago those words would have sounded like there was some really wild times going on!)

But for the moment, Sherlockians have gathered and are generally enjoying themselves as Sherlockians do. More to come.

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