The Maniac Collector's Inbox (311)
May 18, 2008
Sherlocking In Minneapolis – Part 2
Being Sherlockian is a wonderful thing. It is like being a member of the world's most interesting fraternity. The late John Bennett Shaw said that all you need to have a Sherlockian meeting was 2 Sherlockians and a bottle. If needed, you could do away with one of the Sherlockians. To those who knew John, he would have had twinkle in his eyes when he said this because John enjoyed being around other Sherlockians. Not only do John's books reside in Minnesota but his spirit does too. It showed itself once again this week when I visited Tim Johnson and Julie McKuras at the Elmer L. Anderson Library on the campus of the University of Minnesota.
I was offered the opportunity to visit the Sherlock Holmes Collection and spent a couple of hours in Sherlockian Nirvana. I headed straight for the foreign translations opting not the see the four 1887 Beeton's Christmas Annuals, especially since they are turning up all over the place these days. I was pleased to find that many of the books there were also in my collection and there were plenty more books on those shelves that I had never seen before. There were just as many books that I did not even know existed. I saw variations of books I own and also whole sets where I might only have a couple. Later, after Julie left, Tim and I were looking at some of the folders that John kept and you could feel John's presence. One of the folders we opened had the original design for the lapel pin for the Brothers Three Moriarty. The pin features three J's with a single crossing bar at the top. Another folder held press releases for the Annual Trap Shoot.
Upstairs in Tim's office, the sign from the Moriarity(sic) Memorial Manure pile in Moriarty, New Mexico was propped behind the door. I have fond memories of that sign. I first met Ron De Waal holding that sign on November 7, 1991 during the Unhappy Birthday Celebration. It was a good feeling seeing so many wonderful Sherlockian treasures in one afternoon. Julie had invited us to her house for dinner so I left Sherlockian Nirvana to check into my hotel before going to her house.
When I arrived later that evening at Julie and Mike's house, the other guests were already there. John Bergquist and Tim Johnson were there along with Gary Thaden and his wife Andy. The spirit of John had followed us to Julie's. It is evenings like this that the greatest feelings of Sherlockian fraternity arise. As a collective group, we can (and did) talk about a vast number of people and no one feels left out. We spent the evening doing what true Sherlockians do best, sitting around telling stories and enjoying hearing new tales or repeated tales just as long as the stories keep coming.
Julie prepared a small feast of roast beef, mashed potatoes, and green beans, ending with a blueberry cheese cake and coffee. The group migrated down to the fire pit in the backyard where the stories were told.
I am thankful that I have a job where I get to visit with Sherlockians everywhere. These Minnesotans are raising the bar pretty high, but hey that's how it is in Sherlockiana Nirvana!!