© Bob Miller
Twelve years ago, I asked Daniel Dumont to serve on the Board of Governors of the newly created Leather Hall of Fame based on recommendations from others. For 12 years we worked together from a distance via email, trying to make good induction decisions, and trying to uncover, honor and publish stories of people and organizations that made substantial contributions to our leather communities before either of us were born, or old enough to be part of them.
We met in person in 2015, the first of seven times – twice in Chicago at IML, twice in Berlin during Folsom Europe, and these past three years at Darklands, where he would stop by to see me in the Alphatribe booth, and invite me to his annual Ribs Dinner Birthday Party Sunday night.
That first year, I hardly knew anyone at Darklands. I arrived at the restaurant by myself and discovered there were more than 75 people there. The three people I knew were engrossed with others at tables that were already full. So, I sat with strangers, and tried to be part of their group and their conversation. When we had eaten, and a few people started to leave, I got up too — more than ready to make my exit. Daniel’s table was on the other side of the room and looked especially festive. I decided it was OK to thank him by email the next day. Suddenly he rose and came over to me. He asked if I could stay for a few minutes, that there were people he wanted me to meet. I followed him across the large room, where he introduced me to a man named Roby and a group of others from Nice, France, explaining to them who I was, and explaining Mr. Leather Evidence to me. Suddenly an insider, I ended up staying another 30 minutes, and met many others.
After that night, Daniel and I were closer friends. I had discovered that we had something important in common. We both were activists on behalf of our community, working to make them stronger. We both knew that it happened all by itself when people get together.