The Things Mine Eyes Have Seen

Dearest Rachel –

I never got around to telling you about this, but when we were down at Kevin’s over Memorial Day weekend, I broke down and got a copy of Minecraft. Somehow, he figured out how to set up a server, and the three of us just started digging around (in survival mode, no less – you can guess I was getting killed a lot) over the course of several of the evenings we were there.

Part of the problem was that I couldn’t figure out how to take screenshots to send to you (yeah, I’m that much of a noob), and by the time I did think about it, Kevin’s Internet access had been throttled by the fact that all three of us were using it – and using it big time – so continuing with the game was out of the question all of a sudden. It just wasn’t prepared for that heavy of usage.

Still, apart from the fact that I could never quite figure out how to work them the keyboard and the mechanics, it was a lot of fun. And now I’m sorry we never got to play this together.

And I know I’m a Johnny come lately to this all; Daniel has been playing – and watching others play – for the better part of the ten years the game’s been in existence. You joined him in the mines maybe, what, five years ago? While it’s been fun looking over either of your shoulders – particularly yours, as you seemed less averse to my rubbernecking – It always looked like there was so much to learn about how to play the game, and I just didn’t feel like I had that kind of time. Not to mention, it didn’t really have any value as far as putting together a channel – there are/were enough good players out there that the idea of an inept one (even if I did have the hook of being someone a generation older than everybody else on the server) would generate absolutely no interest from the viewing public. So why bother? Let it be more like the days of the mall arcade, where I was watching people much more skilled than myself actually play, rather than play on my own, and waste all those quarters.

At this point, I’m starting to regret that. But there’s nothing more to be done about it now.

Anyway, what with Ellen being in Bristol, visiting her beloved Renaissance fair, Erin decided to run with several of her teammates – which left Kevin and I to figure out what to do during our gaming afternoon. I kind of assumed that we would resume our game of Civilization (in which he and several AIs were already kicking my tail), but he had something else in mind.

“Want to go to Walt Disney World?”

What?!

Well, this shouldn’t come as any surprise to me. After all that time of watching Captain Sparklez and PewDiePie (among others) playing some of those elaborate mods, I should know these kind of things exist. But it’s still weird to realize that somebody took the time and trouble to create the 1:1 layout of all of Walt Disney World, among other such theme parks… in Minecraft.

And here I am, running around in here, bouncing around like a drunk or a little kid (because I’m still not accustomed to the whole W-A-S-D movement functionality) trying to keep up with Kevin.

I wish I could show you pictures from where we were – be it the monorail, the Haunted Mansion, the Pirates of the Caribbean, Splash Mountain (I insisted on heading up there before they took it down out of the Minecraft world, what with Song of the South being, ah… problematic) – Except I didn’t think about it at the time, and just as we were getting to the cars for Splash Mountain, the Internet cut out on me. Lost Minecraft, lost Skype… I had to call him and apologize, because I didn’t know when I’d be back, and I obviously couldn’t play games with him at that point. At least we got in a couple of hours running around in this place.

I did eventually manage to get my Internet back, and pull out the program second time in order to take pictures like some tourist to send back to you. And I guess, in a way, I am a tourist in Minecraft world, so that’s perfectly appropriate.

I didn’t get in all that far, because on my own, I would get completely lost so much quicker. But here are some of the things I managed to take a picture of:

So, here’s the entry to the Magic Kingdom. I tried to take the monorail, like the two of us had earlier in the day, but I could not figure out how to board it; the train left it with me standing in the middle of it three times in a row. Finally, I simply gave up, and looked up how to warp myself to the entrance of the park.
I’m trying to remember if this statue had been here on either one of our our vacations to Walt Disney World. I’m pretty sure it was commissioned for the hundredth anniversary – which is when we were here with Daniel – but I don’t know that it was installed yet.
I stood in front of Cinderella‘s castle for the equivalent of an entire Minecraft day and night. When Kevin and I got to the park earlier, it was night time (which made it that much more difficult for me to get around, since I could hardly see anything for it being so dark), we actually made straight for the castle, where they were having the fireworks show – as they do at the real castle.

It was the firework show that was the most poignant thing, and while I didn’t let on to Kevin – or at least, I tried not to – it was painful to watch, or rather, listen to. They were using the actual audio from the productions (and this was common throughout; they used, for instance, the Paul Frees Ghost Host narration when we were in the Haunted Mansion), and in a way, it felt so much like the productions as I had recorded them back when we were down there.

You’ll recall, when I was converting those recordings, how it was painfully obvious to me that I had been paying too much attention to the spectacle, and not how we were reacting to the spectacle. I probably had figured at the time that this would be the one time I would be able to see that show, whereas I would still have an entire lifetime with you and Daniel. But now that you’re not here, the show doesn’t really matter.

And the reason that, when I got back to the Magic Kingdom and Cinderella‘s castle, I stood in front of that place for an entire Minecraft day, just because I wanted to hear that narration one more time. You see, it closed out with something along the lines of “go forward… into your Happily Ever After.”

It made me cry while I was watching the video tape as I was converting it. When Kevin and I were standing in front of the castle, I was caught off-guard by the pronouncement, so I could barely hold it together. I stayed silent, so I’m hoping he didn’t catch it. But it hurts to think that my Happily Ever After has come and gone.

And that’s without even taking into consideration the fact that you would never see what I was seeing now. Well I know that heaven has sights in it that surpass whatever human imagination, interpretation and engineering could ever come up with, it’s still sad to not have you by my side to see this or that – even in a virtual world. That you will never know the things mine eyes have seen, or will yet see.

Published by randy@letters-to-rachel.memorial

I am Rachel's husband. Was. I'm still trying to deal with it. I probably always will be.

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