A New Hope was on the television.
I remember sort of paying attention, but also recall being distracted by my toys. But that all changed when I looked up and saw this scene:
Not Princess Leia.
Not Han Solo.
I was four.
I don't recall my dad saying anything in response, but that wasn't a problem. For some reason my post toddler, pre-kindergartner brain surmised that he got it. Dad understood my wish and knew how cool life would be as a Jedi.
I grew up in the eighties (please don't do the math. It's depressing) and in a time when everything was all about Star Wars. There has never been a time in my life when the original trilogy didn't exist. It's always been there as a backdrop. I played the tabletop and card games. I made friends from around the world playing Galaxies (an MMORPG, pre-World of Warcraft days). I watched the movies and gobbled up merchandise. I even attended a Star Wars convention. I was, and still am, "mildly" obsessed.
So why does any of this seem important? Simply because Star Wars is more to me than just movies. And to discover the true heart and truth of this post, all you must do is take a look back at where it began. This isn't just about my love of a galaxy far, far away. It's really a memory and a story about my dad.
Today marks what would have been his 78th birthday. However, a heart attack took him from this world too soon. He passed away three weeks after my eleventh birthday. Although he's been gone for many years now, I still miss him without measure. But it's days like today, that I try to look back at that one moment when Star Wars became a conscious part of my world. A moment that maybe shouldn't have been pivotal but somehow was, and I'm forced to smile. That one blip in time had a profound impact on me and my father was part of it.
Was Dad a huge Star Wars fan too? I honestly can't say. I don't know if he was as enthralled to watch A New Hope that night as his daughter or if there simply wasn't anything else on the old boob tube and he landed on it after channel surfing. I'll never know, but somehow that's okay. I'd like to think that my four-year-old self was right and maybe, just maybe, I wasn't the only one who wanted to be Luke Skywalker. And just as the force will be with me always, so will Dominic Scalise.
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