Robert Hitt Neill column

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Grandboys’ enthusiasm brings Star Wars back to the present

The grandboys came out last week to spend a couple of days and nights, and in searching through our own kids’ stuff for playthings, we turned up a bunch of the original Star Wars material: books, puzzles, characters, and best of all – the Millennium Falcon, a Tie-Fighter, an X-Wing Fighter, an Empire Destroyer, a Land Speeder, an Escape Capsule loaded with weapons, plus a few other pieces.

Their “Uncle Adimal” was the resident Star Wars expert during those times, so I professed nearly total ignorance of how this part fit onto that part, but declared that the resident expert hisownself would be down from Nawth Caihlina for a Thanksgiving visit along with Aunt Ce-Ce, so all the secret Star Wars data would be revealed unto his nephews at that time.  

However, I learned after a full day of playing with the Star Wars treasures, that neither boy had ever seen the movie!

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Ah-ha! Grunk had a copy and knew how to operate the old VHS player. We hid ourselves downstairs to see the classic, so the boys would know the legends for themselves. I was grown when I first saw Star Wars, of course, but my kids were still kids when it came out, so I remembered their rapt attention to even the parts I might have considered scary for a five-year-old.  

It ain’t changed, Star Wars fans!

A five-year-old and a near’bout three-year-old were enraptured for over two hours, until Han Solo, Luke Skywalker, and Chewbacca the Wookie were bemedaled as Heroes of the Rebellion, then they broke for the spiral staircase as the final credits rolled, because NOW they knew how to put the secret compartment in the Millennium Falcon, or when the X-Wing Fighter’s wings extended, or why the Escape Pod was so fully armed, so as to protect C3PO and R2D2 from the Sand People and the Jawas.

This is an aside, but as I was making Slung Coffee before dawn on the Opening Day of Deer Season, my hair stood up on the back of my neck when I heard these unearthly noises coming from close at hand. I finally located the source: Betsy’s small countertop portable ice machine, which is now called R2D2.

When Adam and Cynthia drove into sight of Brownspur for the Thanksgiving visit, the grandboys were poised to kidnap their Uncle and whisk him upstairs to further reveal Star Wars secrets unto them, firsthand. He obviously did so, then after supper led the clamor to watch Star Wars III, the Return of the Jedi.

Sir the elder perched on the arm of my chair, whilst Crash snuggled down betwixt his Aunt and Uncle on the sofa. Right off the bat, there were some questions about how come Princess Leia looked different in the court of Jabba the Hutt, which we deferred to Aunt Ce-Ce, who merely explained that she had “changed uniforms.”

Then during the rescue breakaway from the dangers of the aforementioned Hutt’s abode, the ghost of Obi-Wan Kenobi advises Luke several times: “Use the Force, Luke.”  Sir turned to me and asked the obvious: “What’s the Force, Grunk?”

Okay. Now, I’ve never been accused of being a Jedi Knight, but I have had firsthand experiences with the Force myownself, so I jumped right in: “Well, Sean, it’s an unseen power that can live inside of you, that enables you to do things that are miraculous, that gives you strength to overcome obstacles, yet still seem plumb peaceful and everyday-like.  It’s kind of like…Jesus, when He lives in you.”

And this five year-old kid nodded wisely in complete understanding, and replied knowingly, “Oh, yeah: just like Jesus. I get it.”  

And he went back to watching Han Solo barely hold on to Lando Calriessian while the Wookie tugged them both from the maw of the sand monster.

 Now, before you get up on your dew claws, let me declare that this is NOT a theological statement somewhere in your Bible. Star Wars is NOT a religious movie.

I ain’t even suggesting that, okay? But for a five-year-old to accept that explanation of the Power of the Holy Spirit being somewhat akin to the Power of the Force, with a simple trusting, “Oh, yeah: just like Jesus,” statement right before Christmas when we celebrate the birth of our Savior  — that’s a Gift to Grunk!