Honorable Son #1 married the beautiful woman God choose for him on July 2, 2011.
Over the last few months there has been preparation: Getting the house ready for family and guests, getting measured for a tux, preparing and preparing and preparing!
And now he is married and on his honeymoon.
A few days ago, I was thinking about my son when he was younger and what sprung to my mind were a lot of memories involving toy soldiers.
I remember getting "for us" Games Workshop's earlier version of Space Marines (now called Epic 40K) for Christmas in 1994; he was 5 years old. He loved the plastic Titan that came with the kit and we spent many a night battling with Space Marines, Space Orks, Eldar tanks and giant robots with our own modified rules. I also remember about a year later when he accidentally knocked some Eldar scout stands on the floor and he stepped on two when he went to pick them up. He was upset that he had broken several of my figures. Not a problem I told him - with the broken figures removed, now the scouts look like they are spread out.
I also remember lining up my War of Spanish Succession troops and having a parade.
I remember a game with him when he was 8 or 9 when we were stationed in Germany. We were playing Fire and Fury (which I still think is the best war game rules for the American Civil War) and he was the Union and I was the Confederates. I had given him some basic lessons on linear warfare and the formations used for the game. To my surprise, he led with his artillery right out in front with his infantry trailing behind. I tried to unsuccessfully hint to him, that he might want to hold up and wait for his infantry to support his guns. I was unsuccessful in my suggestions on how his army should advance on the tabletop field of battle. I was determined to teach him a gentle lesson and seize his guns. As the soldiers of the South started to move into assault position and take the guns, I was dumb-founded as he calmly unlimbered his artillery batteries and decimated the gray and butternut hordes (Malvern Hill anyone?) that came within his range. My forces broken and his infantry advancing he remarked to me, "This is a fun game and I liked the way you painted the guys in the red hats (the 14th NY).
He always liked robots, Gundam, and Japanese anime. It was no surprise that during High School he decided to build Tau forces for GW's Warhammer 40K. GW pioneered the hobbly with multi-part hard plastic figures which allow more figure variety and easier figure conversions. He wanted a unique figure for one of his squad leaders and I'll never forget how proud he was when he converted his first figure by cutting and repositioning an arm to hold a helmet - instant unique figure for his leader. But I won't mention how many times his Tau decimated my proud Imperial Guard (The Guard's motto: "If we don't take at least 85% casualties, we aren't trying hard enough!).
Fast forward to December 2010 with a mere 7 months to go until the wedding. My oldest was the only one of my sons who had not played Flames of War. The other boys and myself had built armies, but #1 son had been busy with his studies, his friends and his own life. But he wanted to play. So we pulled out some Soviets and Germans and I taught him the game as we played a scenario not for bragging rights - but for fun. A father and his son playing with toy soldiers.
During his bachelor party (watching The Good, The Bad and The Ugly, nacho chips, pizza rolls and beverages) he said, "Dad, we need to play some more games. I won't paint, but I'm good for some gaming."
That's my boy.