The Last Hurrah
We had been living the life transient and the pending move was wearing upon us all like the light at a tunnel's end that still required days of digging. We were sore and exhausted and our patience had long been packed.
Atticus worried, he fretted and he frowned. His was not a world to be upturned for the sake of flight or fancy. His was a world created by him and was lived to the extent that he found happiness in it. The move loomed upon him and rested heavily across his brow. His light lay at the entrance of said tunnel.
So it was that we decided to have his birthday party a couple of weeks early- before we left California. He needed to have his friends gather around him and wish him well. He needed the fun of a party filled with children he knew and not fear the possibility of empty chairs or faceless strangers.
He wanted all of this with a Star Wars theme.
And I added a little something that would have his name become the stuff of legend in classrooms and playgrounds:
We gave him a party and we created a memory nearly tangible. He shared it with his friends like so much cake.
There was a moment when I gathered the children around to weave them a tale of suspense and intrigue. I usually do this at parties.
I explained that due to our Star Wars theme there had been reports of Empire activity in the outer-limits of our drive. I nodded to their dry, beer-drinking parents and informed their little ears that all of the adults had pooled their money and hired a bounty hunter (when in truth none of those cheap bastards chipped in), one Jengo Fett to be exact, to hunt down the threat in our midst. To hunt down Darth Vader.
The kids ate that shit up.
I had them chanting, "Jengo! Jengo! Jengo..." when suddenly- he appeared!
Jango Fett emerged from the deepest reaches of
my garage space and he walked stoically among the stupefied masses, one hand on his weapon and the other behind his back.
A hush fell over the children, a relative hush, and Jengo took his hand from behind him and he raised it over their frozen faces and they screamed as they realized that within his clutch was the head of Darth Vader.
Really. We did that. The kids loved it. The screams were joy and squeals and the promise of candy, which is something I didn't know about Darth Vader. His head is apparently stuffed with Laffy Taffy. That's probably the good within him that Luke was always whining about.
The party was a success and the children were happy and the parents were content that theirs was not an afternoon wasted, but rather an opportunity to drink free beer in the shade while their kids got sunburned and had the snot scared out of them. And it was good.
The only unfortunate aspect of the whole afternoon was that my good friend Joe missed Jango Fett, of whom he is a big fan. It was uncanny, really. Joe had just gone to the bodega to grab some salt and pencils when Jango arrived and then returned only moments after Jango left. Apparently it wasn't meant to be. The force works in mysterious ways.
There was a week left in California between the party and the move and it was filled with stress, long nights and backs that were tender to the touch, but the light grew all the closer and the tunnel? It echoed with the laughter of happy children.