Take a good look at this man. 53-years-old, my father, saving Christmas like all those heroes in the Holiday specials he used to watch with me when I was a young pup.
It’s been four years since I last had the chance to travel back to the States for Christmas. Other personal matters have kept me in Japan, but with thoughts of sugar plums dancing in my head and a severe case of homesickness, I told my folks that I would be home for Christmas this year for one last chance to be spoiled rotten before I need to start considering how to spoil my own offspring.
And of course, they were happy to have their 31-year-old boy safe and snug in their home once again, wrapped in a blanket, playing video games and Magic the Gathering until the early hours of the morning. This holiday is going to be like my teenage years all over again.
This year also happens to be the year that I actually wanted something for Christmas. Generally, when it comes to video games, you get the stuff you want on Black Friday sales, and when the time comes to start hinting at what you want for holiday presents, you’ve already maxed out your wishlist. Most presents are thoughtful gifts people buy you, and any requests generally are beyond your hobby.
The NES Classic Edition is different, though. This isn’t just a gaming console. This is a chance to relive my snowy winter mornings as a child, huddled in front of The Legend of Zelda or Mega Man II, just like I did in the late 80s and early 90s during the height of Nintendomania. It’s about opening that perfect present on holiday morning, and that one last chance to experience life as a kid again.
My father understood this. Knowing that this could be my last chance to have Christmas without kids of my own, and my first Christmas in the United States in nearly half a decade, he wanted me to have not just the present, but my dream experience. Shortages on the Internet be damned, my Dad marched out to Best Buy at 3:00 AM, braved sub-freezing temperatures, and parked himself in front of Best Buy on the day it advertised its “first come, first serve” deal.
Come 7:30 AM, 30 consoles were made available, and my dad was 11th in line.
Now, don’t feel too bad for him. He was happy to do it, got to experience something new, said he had a lot of fun being social with those around him, and ended up being lucky enough to have a PokeStop nearby. Another thing about my Dad is that he’s a camping man, and deep down inside, I know he was eager to bust out the ol’ equipment for some urban camping, a sort of test run for his adventures during the even colder winter months.
But most of all, he was happy to do it because he knew this was the perfect Christmas present for me on a Christmas that I wanted to be really special. He saw my enthusiasm since the first day I mentioned it and the helplessness I felt knowing that it was well beyond my reach being stuck on the other side of the planet.
I have plenty of great stories to tell over the holidays, some of them video gaming related and some not, and thanks to him, I have yet another wonderful Christmas memory to hold onto forever. Great dad! Love you, man!