Yesterday was the first Father’s Day since my father passed back in December.
For the most part, it was just another day and it didn’t hit me that hard. To be honest, I’d almost forgotten about it.
There was just one comment at our game day from somebody wondering that we had so many people show up because it was Father’s Day and they expected fewer of us. I sort of brushed it off by saying that for most of us, our fathers were…elsewhere (and many of them are out of town too, those that are still around, so it wasn’t all about them no longer being here).
When I got home, my wife asked me how I was doing, considering the day. At that point, I had pretty much forgotten or blocked it out again and I could honestly say that it wasn’t bothering me at all.
And it still isn’t, but it did make me think back to our lives together, and I wanted to share a little bit of it with you.
It all started on our brand spanking new Commodore 64 when I was just a kid.
Dad never really seemed that into games, at least as I know them now. My brother and I would play wargames in the basement (as noted in my “How I Became a Gamer” post). Those really weren’t his type of game.
I remember my parents buying that Commodore 64 and my favourite game on there was Impossible Mission (pictured above).
He played some games on it, but none of the “dexterity” ones. He was more into the puzzles and card games.
Of course, he would usually join in the Christmas Eve card game with the rest of our family down at his mom’s house (my favourite memory of those games was my grandmother, who had arthritis and wasn’t able to hold all of the cards that she had ended up drawing so she would put some on the table and then promptly forget that she had them until we said “no, Grandma, you didn’t go out…you still have all those cards!”).
He would never suggest we play a game, but he was always open to it. Mom enjoyed Phase 10, Skip-Bo, Tri-Ominos (and its sequel, Quad-Ominos) and he would play with us. We would even occasionally just play a regular card game.
Instead of all that, though, he was more into the games on Pogo, sometimes just to get badges but he had his favourites as well. He played Bingo on there a lot, and some other games that I’m not familiar with. I just remember hearing the voice of the Bingo caller when I was in another room.
He also played games from Big Fish that my wife had bought for him. He loved playing those games. He always seemed to be on one when I was visiting and he kept a log of the ones he had played so he knew which ones to do next. He’d sometimes play the Hidden Object games and sometimes the Match-3 ones, but whichever one he was doing, he’d be having fun.
After Mom passed away, he moved to Missouri (Lake of the Ozarks). One of my fondest memories of my bi-annual visits with him there was sitting on the bed in his computer room, watching him and helping him play some of these games.
He’d play a Match 3 game with the timer rather than the version with no timer, and he would sometimes reach a point where he just wasn’t fast enough (I was never quite sure why he didn’t play the no-timer versions, but maybe he liked the challenge?). Sometimes we’d switch places and I’d do it for him. Or sometimes I’d just point out some matches.
It was sometimes a joint effort, the Hidden Object games even more so. We’d look for stuff together. Sometimes we were both scratching our heads trying to find that last object.
It was nice just spending that time doing something together.
I’m not sure he really understood my passion for the games I play. We never really talked about them.
The one time our worlds intersected, though, was the trip where his partner was down in Missouri at the same time I was.
There were three of us, so of course I had to bring out No Thanks.
They seemed to enjoy it, which is all that matters.
Other than that, the games that I play and the games that he played never were the same.
But that didn’t matter.
I enjoyed playing the games that he liked.
It gave us shared experiences.
It sort of bonded us.
And what more can you ask for in a relationship with your father?
Of course, there was much more to him and to us than just games, but that’s outside the purview of this blog.
On this Father’s Day (one day removed, so sue me), I wanted to briefly remember that part of him.
And who knows?
Maybe Mom’s managed to wrangle him into a game of Phase 10 again.
Better him than me (I loved the experiences with my parents, but God what an awful game…)