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The View from the East End (57)

By Inspector Hopkins

January 28, 2007

The Annual Mycroft

 by Inspector Hopkins 

Last weekend, the “Watson’s Tin Box of Ellicott City” held their 2007 Annual Mycroft meeting and it was wonderful to be able to get together again down in Maryland with those great Sherlockians!

Each year this special event is held at the home of BSI member Paul Churchill, and takes place a week or two after the annual Sherlockian festivities in New York are concluded. The “Tin Boxers” (as they are known for short) are indeed a special group and are one of the most active scion societies to be found anywhere. When you recall that they meet on the last Monday evening of every month, have an Annual Dinner each autumn, and run many special events during the year, you would have to agree with that statement.

The Annual Mycroft is one of their happiest traditions and is characterized by three very important elements: special Sherlockian foods, the announcement of the new “Gasogene” for the upcoming year, and the annual quiz.

At each of their normal monthly meetings, their “Tantalus”, David Hatch, makes up a quiz to accompany the particular story for that month.  At the Annual Mycroft, however, the entire Canon is fair game for his unusual skills at preparing devilishly tricky questions.  Indeed, one might consider this event to be a sort of “final exam” for the year!
The Tin Boxer who scores the highest on this quiz gets to take home the special brass and wood plaque known as the Mycroft Award and to proudly display it in their home until the next Annual Mycroft.  As last year’s winner, I reverently carried the plaque back to Paul’s home to await its new owner, who, after the scores were tallied up, turned out to be BSI member Evelyn Herzog. Congratulations, Ev!

If they gave an award to the Sherlockian who traveled the greatest distance to get to the event, it would have to be a young man named Marcus who came all the way from Switzerland to be with us.

The Annual Mycroft takes the place of the January dinner meeting and it comes in the form of a potluck supper. People bring a dish to share with everyone and there is a Canonical theme to every dish, some of which are quite amusing. Amid peals of laughter, each person who brings a dish explains what the name of the dish is and how it is related to the Canon.  Here is a sampling of what was on the sideboard for this year’s event:

  • “Devil’s Foot Eggs”   (deviled eggs)
  • “Mud Splatters”
  • “Six Napoleons”  (which came in a “Cardboard Box”)
  • “Red Circle Pizza” (baked by “Papa John” Watson)
  • “Crabby Salad”
  • A bowl of  “M&M’s” with “Watson’s Tin Box” printed on each one
  • “Black Peter Butter and Jelly” sandwiches
  • “Red Circle Pasta”     
  • A bowl of “Trifles”

You get the idea.  I’m still laughing at last year’s dinner, which had “Mazarin Scones” and “Dancing Men” cookies on the menu.

Finally, to wrap up the event, our new Gasogene for the year was announced. Kudos and congratulations go to BSI member Andy Solberg for accepting a second term as the Tin Boxer’s president. Andy is a distinguished Sherlockian in his own right, has been a long-time member of the group, and will be the first Gasogene to serve two times. He will be officially recognized as Gasogene XVIII, and takes the reins from Fred Campbell who did an excellent job all last year as our president. Thank you, Fred!

All in all, it was a fun-filled (and pun-filled!) way to spend a dreary Sunday afternoon in January, and I’m already looking forward to next year’s event.

Until next time, I am, as always,

Yours faithfully,