Corbie Dillard

I was in the 6th grade when Christmas 1982 rolled around. Because I had received an Atari 2600 the year before, I decided to ask for a few new games for Christmas. I had given a list of three Activision games that I wanted: Laser Blast, Megamania, and Barnstorming.

On Christmas Eve, my grandfather called me to see if I wanted to go with him into the city to pick up a present for my grandmother. Since it was still several hours until we would open presents, I figured it would be a good way to kill some time.

When we arrived at the mall, he went to the jewellery store and I walked down to the toy store to look at the video game stuff, as I always did. I noticed in the glass case that they had gotten in a Donkey Kong Game & Watch. I thought that maybe if I stood there my grandfather would come in and see me looking at it and possibly buy it for me. Hey, it was worth a try.

Sure enough, a few minutes later he came in and asked me what I was looking at. I showed him the Game & Watch and he told me that perhaps they could get it for me for my birthday in February. I'll admit, I was disappointed, but I knew I would likely be getting the Atari 2600 games later that evening.

We left the toy store and sat down on the bench outside to wait for the jeweller to size the ring my grandfather had bought for my grandmother. I asked if I could walk over to the arcade, my grandfather handed me $3 and away I went.

About 30 minutes later, we returned to the jewellery store and my grandfather was about to pay for the ring when he realized he didn't have his wallet. He told me to wait there and he returned to the car to get it. He came back and paid for the ring and we headed back home.

We got back just about the time all of the family was arriving at my house. My grandfather had me sneak the ring present in and put it under the tree. We opened all of our presents and I was fortunate enough to get all three of the Atari 2600 games I'd asked for, which was a great surprise.

I remember sitting there playing Megamania when my mother called us all to dinner. As I was walking towards the kitchen, my grandfather told me that he'd left his glasses in the console of the car and asked if I'd go get them for him. When I popped open the console there was no pair of glasses, but there was a Donkey Kong Game & Watch.

As I turned around to come back into the house, I could see my grandfather standing in the doorway smiling. I'd always been closer to my grandfather than anyone in my family after my dad had suddenly left us all three years earlier. Sadly, I lost him the year I graduated from high school, but I'll always remember him for all he did for me — and for that wonderful Donkey Kong Game & Watch surprise on Christmas Eve 1982. If you're reading this, I love you Dadad.