Gygax is Gone

Yesterday I learned about Jeff Healey… today its Gary Gygax.

In 1983, I moved from Jacksonville, Florida to Plumsteadville, Pennsylvania. Technically, I think we lived in Pipersville, but we had to drive to Plumsteadville to get our mail from the post office. Or it was the other way around. That’s no important. What is important is that our new house was just down the street from another family that had two sons, Charlie and Keeley. Charlie was my age, and along with a few other neighborhood kids, we were friends. Keeley was older, several years, and he had a fascinating hobby: painting lead miniatures.

The work he did was very detailed. He would spend hours working with brushes that had very few bristles, sometimes just a single bristle, getting the crevasses between armor plates and the coloring of the eyes. I still have a few that he sold me. But the miniatures weren’t just for painting and for show, they were for role playing games.

Keeley introduced us all to Dungeons & Dragons. He started us on the Red Box, and later segued us into Advanced Dungeons & Dragons, where I became captivated by the Fiend Folio. His love of Mack Bolan books lead us into Top Secret, and his love of the Alien and Aliens movies lead us into Star Frontiers.

Needless to say, Gary Gygax, his creations and his legacy, have had a major impact on my life. Twenty-five years of gaming joy and heartache. My hat off to you, Gary. I hope the afterlife holds up to the fantasy worlds you created.

Rubbing the Lucky Nut.

Before I got my job at Toys “R” Us, I visited my parents and my mother pulled out a bag of buckeye nuts.

There isn’t much special about buckeyes. Unless you count this. It seems that my grandfather wasn’t making it up.

See, my father’s father lived in Jacksonville, Florida. We used to visit a couple times a year, except when we were living in Pennsylvania, until he passed on, and outside the house on the right side stood the Buckeye tree. He’d collect the ones that fell and hand them to the grandkids when we came telling us of the luck they held within. We usually were only lucky in losing or misplacing them. I’ve probably had over a hundred of these in my possession over the years, but right now I have only three. Two of these I retained from my younger years of visiting my grandpa. They managed to stay with me through the years and all the moving, mostly trapped in the drawers of my various desks. But the luck of these have probably worn out.

My mother opened the bag and I picked out a buckeye with a good thumb on it. My grandfather used to say that you should just keep it in your pocket and when you need luck just reach in and rub your thumb into the indent in the nut. I took a good one and put it in my pocket. It was for luck on a job interview.

Every day I kept it in my pocket and when my hand would brush against it, I’d reach in and give the nut a couple of rubs. It was in my pocket when I went to the interview and it was in my pocket when they called to tell me I got the job.

Thanks Grandpa Pace. I hope you are looking down at me now, and I hope you are proud at what you see.