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quarta-feira, 12 de junho de 2013

I wanna get something off my chest

My friend Jonas got me into gaming. One June afternoon we were sitting around his house wondering what to do, when Jonas said "we could try to figure out my dungeons and dragons game". He had the early book, and I grabbed it and I was hooked.

  That was a Friday, iirc. Jonas let me take his D&D book home to learn the rules so we could play.
I waited for my father to get home at 5pm. when he got home, I said "Dad, there’s this new game, and they have the stuff over at Hobby Hangout. They close at 6, can we go?", as he was still very proud of the fact that I got 4 A's and 2 B's, he said "OK, we can go over as long as we're back before dinner".
  And we went. Hobby Hangout was right across the river and within 5 miles. My dad bought me a bunch of stuff that night; dice, the rule books, but no lead figures!!! He said I should see if I like the game first. If I liked it, he'd bring me back the next Friday for some figures.
  We loved D&D. When my dad took me the next Friday, I bought a load of figures. That was the start of my figure collecting. I remember sitting at our kitchen table with my friends Jonas, Jason and Shawn. We used the testors paint that used turpentine to clean brushes. It didn’t matter. We were bad painters but by the fall, we had gotten better and neater.
  We went to Hobby Hangout for all our gaming needs, they were very much on top of the role playing hill; they had it all. The owners, Phil and Dianne, were old hippies but they were nice to us they would ask what we were painting, and ask us to bring in some painted figures. They were interested and looking back, they were cool people.
  In 1982, they moved their store about 10 miles from my house. We couldn’t ride our bikes or walk to hobby hangout anymore.
  My grandmother gave us the idea to take the bus, this was better than bugging our moms and dads when they got home from work.

  One rainy fall Saturday, me and Jason got the bus and went to Hobby Hangout. I had picked up a few blister packs of, iirc, goblins and bugbears and as I was paying for my monsters, Dianne said "PHIL! CALL THE POLICE! THIS KID IS STEALING!" I looked around, and she had my friend Jason by the arm, oh s@$t.
   Phil, the owner, was more laid back about things. he said "put it back and leave", but his wife wasn’t having it. She demanded Phil call the police so he did...
   The police came and took Jason and me to the police headquarters. I didn’t take anything, but the cop took me because I was with my friend. When we got to the HQ, the chief of police said to me "did you take anything?" I said no. I suppose he believed me, as he didn’t ask me again, or search me.
   Turns out, Jason attempted to steal a 20 sided dice. That was it.
The chief called Jason’s mom, and she came and took us home. Jason told all who were interested that I had nothing to do with the "theft".
  I stopped going to Hobby Hangout after that. I guess I was too embarrassed. In fact, I didn’t go back there until 1992. Of course I was driving by then. I remember going in and Phil would just kinda look at me in a strange way. Not watching me like a hawk, not watching like he expected me to steal something. It was weird.
  At that point in time (1991-1995), I was painting historicals, bloodbowl figures, early 40k stuff, etc. Hobby Hangout didn’t sell figures at this point in time but they did sell POLY-S paints, which I loved. If they were still made, I’d be using them, so I stopped by every so often for paint.
  And Phil ALWAYS gave me that weird look and he never made small talk with me.

After about 1995, I stopped going to Hobby Hangout. A pretty good hobby shop opened in my town, with friendly people and great gaming. Hobby Hangout and Phil and Dianne were forgotten.
   Two years ago, I got word that Hobby Hangout was going out of business everything must go.
I planned on going. Not for anything they had (all the gaming stuff was sold off years before. they still had poly-s paint, but I really didn’t need paint (I had about 120+ paints ). but I wanted to get something off my chest.
  I wanted to thank Phil. Thank him? Yes.
I wanted to tell him I had nothing to do with my friends attempted theft of that dice. I wanted to say thanks for keeping me away from drugs by introducing me to the world of Dungeons and Dragons.
I would play that game and others every Friday and Saturday, all night, 6pm to 5am every weekend. I wanted to say how sorry I was that his shop was closing after all those years. I wanted to tell Phil I had good memories of my father and I going to his store and buying the D&D figures that I loved painting!

  My wife and I went down to Hobby Hangout  on a rainy Saturday morning. The rainy weather was very much like the day Jason and I were taken to the Palmer Police headquarters on the way, I told my wife the story.
  We got there and I walked around looking for Phil, but I didn’t see him or Dianne. I asked a young lady about Phil. she told me Phil had passed away 4 months before.

3 comentários:

Laughing Ferret disse...

Wow, what a story. Hard to accept an end like that, I wonder what it was he was thinking when staring at you. Can't really think adults would be mad or hold a grudge at someone who had been an unthinking kid trying to pocket a die, let alone the guy who had been an unknowing kid who was just innocently there. Kids do dumb things on impulse,can't really hold it over them as they move on into adulthood (sentience) ;)

You're lucky you had such a generous and understanding father too. Along with Phil, you might thank him too. I got into D&D about the same age & year from the sound of it, but my father, despite being upper middle class, never bought me anything for hobby or games: not a module, not dice, certainly not miniatures. He didn't stop me from playing, but certainly didn't support or even understand.

Axtklinge disse...

A bunch of good memories right there BFG!
As LF said before me, everyone has a childhood friend who grabed something (a chewing gum or a dice for that matter) that wasn't his. Most of the times for the thrill of it, or just because kids sometimes have to try foolish stuff in order to learn. That's what kids do.

Its a great thing you have such good memories of your father. It's also a great thing you look at Phil and his Hobby Hangout with such praise.
Even if you didn't had the chance to tell him all that, face to face, somehow by returning to the store from times to times to get your hobby paints, he must have known. Probably that was a "glad you still remember us" kind of look.

And thumbs up to you and your "Thursday Night Heroes" mates for giving kids (and grown ups alilke), ways to keep their mind focused in a hobby, rather then doing some other nasty stuff!

bound for glory disse...

my father passed away suddenly when i was 11. he was a great man for a nuber of reasons.
he was a "green beret" veitnam vet. and was member of the new jersey vet. admin..
he won the silver star and the purple heart. he was a hero, and i loved him so much.
he always took interest in our figure painting and our dungeon adventures.
i miss him every day...