This sucks. It really, really sucks. Tomorrow morning, Monday 6 April 2020, my wife Cathi and I should be leaving our home in Orange Park, Florida, in our minivan loaded up with lots of collectible cartridges and Gyrojet and HWS Vol. III books heading for the Renaissance Hotel in St. Louis. We usually stop for the night in Murfreesboro, Tennessee, at a fancy Hilton hotel as a treat, but not this year. No romantic steak and wine dinner, followed by a great night’s rest, then off to St. Louis to arrive early Tuesday afternoon. There, as we are unloading and moving to our room, we meet so many of you for the first time since last year. But again, not this year. No in-room trading, no grading the airline planes’ landings from the lounge, no drinking of Lew Curtis’ and “His Lordship” Martin Golland’s Scotch, no telling of tall tales about our adventures last year, no wearing of Pepper Burruss’ NFL Super Bowl ring, no nothing. Cathi will not go shopping in St. Charles. On Wednesday, we will not set up our displays (mine on British WWII revolver cartridges); no early deals to be made, or deliveries to be done from earlier deals (sorry NATO Dave; I’m holding yours from Frank Hackley). On Thursday, Cathi and I will be hunkered down in our north Florida Orange Park home instead of enjoying the SLICS opening day. What a day Thursday usually is! So much to see and so many trades to make, but not this year. No seminar where we all get an education, and no Friday night buffet and live auction where I hoped to win that Tround I need for the new book and sell a few Gyrojets from the old book, thanks to the great work of Will Adye-White and Dan LeClair. During the day, I would stroll through the show carefully checking each table for something I need or just want, or box, or literature, or just talking to long-time cartridge friends about last year’s adventures and how they are doing. As a new 2020 show sponsor as MRC3 Publishing, I know how hard Aaron Newcomer has worked to make his transition as show manager a huge success, only to have the rug pulled out from under him by Covid-19. He has worked up many improvements from Vic Engel’s and my days as SLICS managers, but we won’t enjoy them this year, starting tomorrow. No, nothing. But by God, stand by for 2021, which will probably be the greatest SLICS in history due to two-year’s pent-up demand and relief that we can finally get together again.
In the meantime, please share with us here how you and yours are doing during this terrible time, when all our lives are turned upside-down and when cartridge collecting is forced to take a back seat to simple survival. Let’s use this Forum to keep up to date with our cartridge-collecting friends and how each of us is dealing with the challenge. Cathi and I are fine. We have no symptoms and we have plenty of food and supplies, thanks to our wonderful local Publix supermarkets and a little hurricane-type pre-planning. How about you?