Sunday, April 23, 2006

Goodbye to a Good Friend

Kelly Jones passed away yesterday.

Kelly was a fairly rare person in our hobby. I say this not to slight anyone in particular or the hobby in general. He was a character. Very loud, in a fun way, Kelly mastered the pirate Arrrrggghhh!, and made it appropriate for any gaming period or genre. His loud voice, big laugh, round belly and honest blue eyes were his hallmarks. Kelly was also incredibly generous with his time. He had a kind word for everyone, especially newcomers and young gamers. He was patient and understanding. Kelly was a much better person than I.

I have so many fond memories of Kelly. He came to some of our early Enfilades as a dealer. We loved dealers, so his company, Vauban Enterprises, was quite a catch. Later we played games together—Steve Knight’s uproarious Saxon Shore games were always an outrageous screaming match with Kelly’s internal Bose system on full volume. Never a great air–racer, Kelly would regularly manage to augur his racer into the ground, but entertained all of us as he was doing so. Saturday nights with the Canadians-we could have given this name to a sitcom-were always fun, usually in Kelly’s room, once including Arte Conliffe, which was sort of a surreal experience. So many great stories were told over so much beer . . .

Perhaps my favorite memories of Kelly is seeing him with my sons, Pat and Casey and Enfilade. Pat attended only one convention, and his most memorable experience is playing a game with Kelly, who didn’t treat him like a kid. Of course, on Sunday morning Kelly, nursing a monstrous hangover, reminded Patrick that his parents had sex, which pretty much ruined most of my son’s adolescence. He spent considerably more time with my younger son Casey, a more sensitive sort. Kelly played games with Casey at convention time, always asked about him, and Casey considered Kelly his friend too.

So, I take this moment to say good-bye to my friend. I knew him only as a gamer. We never discussed family, but I am sure he was a wonderful son, a devoted husband and father, and my heart goes out to his family. I will miss him dearly.

I’ve posted the only picture I have of Kelly, and it is truly wretched.

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