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Sherlocking With the C.C.O.B.
Once again my work kept me in Southern California over the weekend. Not being one who plays by myself very well, I called Chuck Kovacic, inquiring about his plans on Saturday. Much to my delight he invited me attend a meeting of the Curious Collectors of Baker Street – C.C.O.B. I quickly accepted and head to Chuck’s house on Saturday afternoon. The C.C.O.B. meet four times a year and I knew I was in for a treat.
The meeting was on “The Red-Headed League” and was being hosted by Richard and Anne Lainhart. They live in Burbank so after a short visit at the Chuck and Athene’s, we headed to the Lainhart’s. We arrived a bit early, so we sat outside and caught up on things. As we sat there, other Sherlockians began arriving, many with varying shades of red hair. Once we entered the meeting many things became much clearer. I had met Richard and Anne at the Don-B-Q’s that Chuck and Athene have held on some of my other visits to their house. Richard had told me he had built a pirate’s ship in his backyard but one’s mind doesn’t really process what ‘building a pirate’s ship in the backyard’ actually means. It became clear that this was not going to an ordinary Sherlockian evening. It was right in step with my idea of Sherlocking.
There was a pirate’s ship with a twenty-foot mast complete with a crow’s nest. A bridge and rigging and all the other regalia that accompanies pirate ships. And as Richard said on Saturday night, no pirate ship is any good if there isn’t a pub nearby, so sure enough there was a very functioning pub next to the ship. Of course this is Sherlock Holmes site not a pirate site, so back to the C.C.O.B. meeting. Aaaarrrrggg!!
Upon arrival we are greeted by Chrys Kegley. She gives us a “Saving Account” passbook from City & Suburban Bank, Coburg Branch. This passbook worked like a passport. If you arrived with red hair, you got a ‘deposit’ stamp. If not, you got an ugly X on the ‘withdrawal’ side of the passbook’s ledger. There were other headings in the passbook and each heading corresponded with a game. The first game was ‘Quill Darts’. The object of this game was to hit a specified spot on the dartboard using darts that had quill feathers as flights, the quill Jabez Wilson used in the Red-Headed League. Next up was ‘Pawnbroker Price is Right’. This one featured several items like a pair of lady’s leather gloves; a man’s bowler hat and we had to guess their actual price according to a 1904 Sear Roebuck Catalog.
“I Swear by my Tattoo’, ‘Money On A String’, ‘A As In’, and ‘You See but you do not Observe’ rounds of the rest of the games. The top five winners we given keys and only one opened the padlocked treasure chest. A tick to this year’s Gasfitter’s Ball was the prize. After a feat of fried chicken, mash potatoes and gravy (who said all Californian eat sprouts and tofu) there was a quiz on “The Adventure of the Red-Headed League” and the winner of the quiz got medal created by Maggie Schpak. Your humble correspondent did not get a single stamp in my passbook but I had a fine time.
Because I was due back in San Diego I had to leave before the quiz was over, but for anyone who want to know, the can subscribe to Baker Street West 1 and read all about it in their next issue. Now in it’s 15th year, this little journal covers all things Sherlockian west of the Mississippi. Subscriptions are $12 for two issues. 9338 Sophia Ave; North Hills, California, 91343. Tell them I sent you.
Past 2009 Columns