The View from Sherlock Peoria
Part One: The Return of Thirsty Duck
Easter brought an odd Sherlockian return this year. An after-dinner family walk brought us to a pair of garage sales, with some interesting items. Sporting goods for some of the fellows, a choice spiderweb candelabra for a niece, and a duck wearing a deerstalker cap for me. The duck's name was Thirsty, and he was an old friend who had not visited me in nearly twenty years.
Every October from 1990 through 1993, I gave a singular quiz in the pages of Plugs & Dottles. The award given to the winner of that quiz was a special Sherlockian duck trophy. By the time those quizzes ended, my entire collection of Thirsty ducks was gone, and I had not seen once since.
The origin of the Thirstys has always been a puzzle, but a Google search turns up an eBay listing citing a Thirsty with "Mayville, Wis." and "finished, decorated and packaged by Kennedy Job Training Center, Palos Park, IL 60464." That might explain why they turn up so much in the Midwest, in those were their single source.
But like the notorious Hansom cab clock, Thirsty the duck will surely remain a treasure held by a lucky few.
Part Two: The Adventure of the Almost Empty House
The past three weeks have been a bit of a whirlwind here at Sherlock Peoria. LIttle things have gone undone (Action Sherlock, Don's eye chart), and bigger things have been quickly put into place (a new job). But amidst it all, I was looking for one last little vacation to celebrate that last change before getting done to business. I noticed that it was the first Friday of the month, and happily remembered that my old friends the Occupants of the Empty House met at Alongi's restaurant in DuQuoin on first Fridays.
It's a four hour drive, but given how long it had been since my last visit, it seemed a worthy cause. Getting out of work a little early didn't seem like it would be a problem on my last day, and when their newsletter arrived the day before, announcing that April would be their thirty-fifth anniversary meeting, it seemed like a must-do.
So I worked up a little paper on their titular story, as they welcome all such papers on their anniversaries. I packed a bag. I checked out nearby hostelry. I prepared to get an audio book for the trip at lunch on Friday.
And then Friday came. Good Friday. A day a lot of people took off from work. The beginning of a family holiday weekend. The sort of day that might cause the Occupants to push back their meeting a week . . .
So I did a little checking, and, yes, they had pushed it back. Had I driven to DuQuoin, I surely would have been dining alone at Alongi's . . . in a Sherlockianly "empty house." My last minute trip was cancelled, and since I couldn't take any time off from a brand new job, the big thirty-fifth anniversary meeting is off my calendar, I am very sad to say!
If any Occupants are reading this, and would like me to email them a lovely little paper to read at the meeting, all they need do is send me an e-mail this week. I'd be delighted to send it along via e-mail (or snail mail if I hear nothing), as well as my best wishes for their so-very-remarkable anniversary!
Your humble correspondent,
Past 2012 Columns