Colin can see Star Wars!!!
Yup, we’ve hit one of those pivotal milestone birthdays. Sure, he has some biggies ahead – those precious days where someone will toss him his first set of car keys, slide him a ballot or pour his first icy cold cerveza – but those are tales for a different day, hopefully one the looms deep in the distance – in a galaxy far, far away.
All that matters now is that Colin has hit that magic age where he can graduate from a strict diet of PIXAR and Noggin and move onto to more grown-up pursuits, starting with those beloved space-faring adventurers permanently ingrained in my noggin.
Six just seems to be the right age – both for Star Wars and for being a boy. For starters, it makes sentimental sense. I was six when I first saw Star Wars. Well, actually, it took two outings to actually see the flick. The first time, my Mom and Dad took my sister Jenna and I to a Drive-In on the North Shore. The playbill called for a double header – H.G. Wells’ War of the Worlds as lead-in to the main event, Star Wars. The problem with Drive-In theaters is they can’t unspool the celluloid until the sky deepens to just the right shade of twilight – meaning, on that hot August night, my sister and I whiled away the hours running ourselves ragged – dashing between parked cars, dodging mosquitoes the size of Banthas and wailing the same tired refrain echoed throughout that dusty expanse of Revere Beach real-estate – “When’s the movie gonna’ start?”
And when it was time to roll film, we had 85 minutes of George Pal’s spectacle to slog through before we could finally lock eyes upon Lucas’ love-letter to generations of fanboys. And truth be told – War of the Worlds was a pretty effective thriller. It’s just, the impatience of a six-year old boy hopped up on Red Vines and Fanta wears thin quickly. I tried to tame the neural tempest by revisiting those fresh schoolyard tales – as some kid who had been the first on our block to see the flick decided to give everyone the minute-by-minute play-by-play. Going in, I knew all about Han Solo’s kick-ass capping of Greedo before that loathsome lizard could draw a shot but damn’t, I wanted to see it for my own eyes.
Finally, the Martian Invaders caught a wicked case of the sniffles and the last ship crashed down hard in Grovers Corners and Gene Barry laid a big, fat wet one on Ann Robinson. Fade to Black. Roll Credits.
The credits scrolled down the screen – white on black – and then a curious thing happened. The credits flip-flopped. Amber text began working its way in reverse, climbing up the screen and seemingly out into the deep, dark recesses of space. The words went on forever and I found myself missing a few words here and there. In fact, they were blinking in and out of existence in a strobe-like effect. I realized what was happening here. The sugar high! All that running!! H. G. FRIGGIN’ WELLS!!! I was crashing. I was falling aslee…
And then I came to – in my own bed, staring at a three-inch statuette of Chewbacca, hoisting his bowcaster aloft and mocking me with his mirthful growl. I slept through the whole damned thing.
All that was rectified as we later made a pilgrimage to an indoor theater, during daylight hours, to insure I didn’t miss out on all the fun my schoolmates were having. And I thrilled to the adventures of that heroic hayseed Luke (while secretly jonesing for Han Solo to grab more screen time) and the film, and both experiences, lodged a stone in my mental mosaic.
And decades would pass.
And I would learn that I was to be a Dad.
And I would thrill to discover my first born would be a son.
And I made a mental note – that although the die hadn’t been cast, and my son would be free to experience the world completely and take from it what he deems most interesting to him, without pressure from his mother or me to fit any particular mold – That this was his life! – at one point, he would turn six years old and would be invited to sit down with his dear old Dad and take in a movie. A modern fairly tale crafted for the masses but made for six-year-old boys just learning to control their powers and shape their own dreams.
Today my beloved son Colin turns six. He possesses a fierce curiosity and intelligence that stuns his Mom and I daily with his perceptions of how the world works. His current interests take him into more creative endeavors and while every Dad initially harbors dreams of fathering the next All American, eventually we spy ourselves in our progeny and vice-versa. While my buddies were lacing up for Little League, I was studying Spielberg, seeking to soak the magic from a real live wizard.
Seeing Colin gravitate towards more artistic, creative endeavors tickles my heart.
It’s that very moment when you realize your boy is more like you than you ever thought possible. And you realize you’re a better man than you usually give yourself credit.
For you have had a hand in bringing forth a vital life who has truly changed the world – in his own personal measure.
The force is strong in this one.
Happy Sixth Birthday – Colin Edward.