So when I was about 8 or 9, my older brother came home from middle school and told me about this cool game his gifted teacher had started teaching him to play. That game of course was Dungeons and Dragons and from that point forward, I was hooked. Stephen and I would spend countless hours on the weekend playing, telling the stories of my elf Jamie or my human fighter Torrin. And every Christmas it seems a big chunk of our wish list we’d give to our parents would be D&D related.
My mother was the shopper for the majority of my childhood. Dad would help out, but mom knew would be the one to figure out where to go to find things. I remember the one year after she went and got something for 2nd Edition AD&D, she told us about this weird little store, The Dragon’s Lair. It was full of people who played these weird role-playing games.
Now, I was learning to play in the early to mid-80s, I remember the Tom Hanks’ movie that was aimed at demonizing D&D. And I was growing up in a Catholic household. My brother and I were altar boys, we went to and eventually both taught CCD classes. Even with the entire hubbub around the game back then, my mother never said we couldn’t play, never questioned what we were doing Friday and Saturday night. Just like she never said anything about the heavy metal music we listened to, she trusted us to know the difference between reality and fantasy and to know when to enjoy one or the other.
Even into my young adult years, my Christmas list to my mom very often included D&D stuff. Thankfully by that time, she was able to get things at regular bookstores, like the now departed Walden Books or Barnes and Noble. She knew that for the majority of my friendships, D&D was a large part of the basis for them. She sometimes would tease me about having bought a book already, with me having to tell her that was for a previous edition.
I lost my mom back in August and this holiday season has been really difficult for me. My mom loved the holidays. She loved the lights, the decorations, anything that played a Christmas song, and all of the holiday themed movies that Lifetime or Hallmark Channel can come up with. She loved having all of us at her house, kids and grandkids. I can’t seem to muster up the holiday spirit this year, can’t seem to find that love of the season that I usually have. I wish I was getting a call or text from my mom right about now telling me that if I don’t get her my list soon all I am getting is socks and underwear.
I love you mom and I miss you terribly. I’m sorry this holiday season I haven’t had the spirit, but the hole in my heart is still healing. I wish I could give you my list for the 5th edition books and tell you yes you did buy those three books before, for 2nd edition, 3rd edition, and 3.5 edition.