You may find this hard to believe, but I loves me some Star Wars. Yep, it’s true. Not that you can tell from my posts here, here and here.
So it shouldn’t come as a complete shock to any of you that my fondest memory of Christmas morning was waking up in 1978 and finding all things Star Wars under the tree. I got virtually all of the action figures, the Millenium Falcon and even the remote-controlled Jawa Sandcrawler vehicle that didn’t work.
I was, in short, a spoiled brat.
But the best gift I got was the Death Star play set. Oh man, the three levels and the massive gun that you could sit a figure in to operate? I’d play with that right now, if I had it. I was in all my freckled, buck-toothed, Mr. Spock straight-haired glory (You may also find this hard to believe, but I didn't always look like the chick magnet I am now.)
Now, the toy was, without question, really cool. But what makes this memory special is imagining what lengths my mother went to in order to acquire those things. Remember, 1978 was during the heyday of the merchandising of the first movie, well before the Internet, Amazon.com and every other online retailer under the sun that enables you to get whatever you’re looking for without problem. But mom was determined to make her youngest son happy on Christmas morning. Mom was a peaceful, non-combative person by nature. But getting those items from the store shelves into her shopping cart must have involved a combination of guile, brawn and sheer force of will that, unfortunately, I did not inherit.
Mom passed away a few short years later, and for a while Christmas lost its luster. Now that I'm older, I appreciate the things that she did to make my childhood everything it could be. The best gifts these days aren't tangible. It's spending time with my family and friends, during which I savor every moment of the connections that I share with such beautiful people.
The above portion of the column was written last year. This year, I got married and now have two amazing stepchildren. I live in a great community and have strengthened the relationships that I have. I am blessed. I still don't want that which I do not have as far as possessions go, though it would be nice to have a car that I don't go to every morning and hope it starts. But I'm merely quibbling with the details.
Still, as far as childhood memories go, I’ll never forget my Star Wars Christmas.