Facebook catches a lot of slings and arrows from critics these days, mostly about invasion of privacy. The flip side of that coin is that Facebook creates the opportunity to keep in touch with people you haven’t seen in next to never. So it was today, when I noticed this face popping up in my Recent Friends bar in Facebook. I had forgotten who owned that face. It was William Landrum, also known as “Colonel Hairy Haggis” on the many hobby bulletin boards he used to frequent, especially the Colonial Wars Yahoogroup. So I finally said to myself, “why would he be a recent friend on FB? He never posts anything!” I’m not sure if Facebook was trying to tell me something, but when I went to his profile page, It turns out Bill passed away, over a year ago, and I had never heard the news from anybody in the multiple hobby communities online.
Colonel Hairy Haggis, as he liked to style himself, was always a consummate gentleman online and very pleasant in person. He was also an inveterate tinkerer. Bill had his own dental supply lab that did a lot of custom work for the dentist community were he lived. He had access to an amazing amount of tools and was fond of casting his own custom toy soldiers or converting existing ones into outlandish creations.
Back in the late 90s, when I was running a game of my own devising called LE GRAND CIRQUE at conventions, Colonel Haggis was an occasional player and enthusiastic commentator on the game. At one point I created a conveyance called The Dowdmobile, with Elwood P. Dowd of HARVEY fame as the pilot. I didn’t have a giant rabbit to accompany Elwood in his conveyance, so I used the old cop out of “Well, Harvey is invisible, you see…” as my excuse. Colonel Haggis would have none of that. Using a conversion method, he created a giant armed rabbit out of an old Alternative Armies figure. It was fantastic, whiskers and all. He did that because it “fit”, and he was right. Bill also participated in my Le Grande Cirque du Wabash game waaay back in Historicon 2000, I think. Those were good times.
Bill Landrum was a wonderful guy; even tempered, creative, funny and a gentleman. He loved Victorian affectations in speech and manner, and adored Victorian Science Fiction before it became “Steampunk”. A born storyteller and always up for a joke or ready with a kind word. I wish there were more people in the hobby like Colonel Hairy Haggis. I’ll miss him.