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"What is the meaning of it Watson?" [CARD]

As I reflected on Mike Whelan's comments at the Copper Beeches meeting regarding Sherlockian fellowship, it made me think back to a toast I was asked to give at the 2003 Dinner of the Baker Street Irregulars.

In October 2002, I received a phone call by a fellow BSI asking me to give a toast at the BSI dinner - a tall order for a recently investitured Irregular. I immediately and effusively answered, "Sure, I'd be honored to give a toast. Who will I be toasting?" The answer followed:
"Sherlock Holmes."
Gulp. The Big One. The persona who represents why we're all gathering year after year. What could I, a young thirty-something Irregular say that had not been said by much greater Sherlockians than myself? By Christopher Morley, Edgar W. Smith, Isaac Asimov, Julian Wolff, Rex Stout, William Baring-Gould, etc.?

I remembered that Christopher Morley's called the Canon A Textbook of Friendship, which further reminded me that I have forged many friends while in the pursuit of this unique pasttime. Then, reaching into my musical bag of tricks, I applied the music from the 1946 song "The House I Live In" (made popular by Frank Sinatra) and applied it to the following lyrics.

The Canon I Read

What is Sherlock Holmes to me?
A pipe, a cap, or the man I see
A certain word: elementary
What is Sherlock Holmes to me?

The Canon I read,
A flat on Baker Street,
Lestrade and Mrs. Hudson,
Or the people that I meet.

The scion in my hometown,
The faces that I see,
All races and religions,
That's Sherlock Holmes to me.

The papers I write,
The quizzes that I take,
The journal I subscribe to,
Or the toasts I have to make.

Wonter, Cushing, Rathbone,
Brett, Gillette and Lee,
And Paget’s many portraits,
That's Sherlock Holmes to me.

The things I see about me,
The big things and the small,
Each one provides a ref’rence
To a tale that I recall.

Napoleons and vampires,
The thumbs of engineers,
And the dream that's been a growing
For a hundred twenty years

Our dear old Wiggins,
The weekend filled with food,
The final cocktail party
Is a fine way to conclude.

The Band, the Pips, the Beeches,
Irregulars I see;
It’s especially the people
That's Sherlock Holmes to me.

And so it is with many of us involved in the Game. The scholarship, the mental sparring and such are all invigorating, but it's the relationships with each other that make this hobby one of the most enjoyable of any I can imagine.