His cousins Troy and Elijah, on the other hand, were very much into Star Wars. Lee liked Star Wars, but The Millennium Falcon just didn't get his heart racing as much as The Batmobile.
When Lee was 5, Hugo took him for his first of what would be many visits to Frank and Son's, a weekly nerd fest where various collectible peddlers sell their goods in a warehouse. Matchbox Cars, Barbie's, comic books, video gaming stuff, action figures of every kind. It's like a swap meet for the Star Trek Convention type. It was Star Wars day when Hugo first took him, and they had people prancing around in Star Wars costume, which caught the imagination of Lee. At one point they put on a Star Wars skit, and Hugo recorded it on his iPhone while Lee sat on his shoulders. It is still one of Lee's favorite things to watch. I really think that it was this exposure to Star Wars excitement that really began Lee's interest.
It was confirmed last summer, when we were back-to-school shopping, and Lee chose a Darth Vader backpack, over Batman. And when he turned 7 in December, he chose a Star Wars themed birthday party. He got a lot of Star Wars toys, and *a lot* of Star Wars clothing, and as fast as you could say Storm Trooper, he was hooked.
We had the original three Star Wars episodes on DVD, but not the newer three. Hugo and I happened to stumble upon them at a movie store, no wait. The story goes this way: The Easter Bunny realized, the week after Easter, that he forgot to give Lee the three Star Wars movies he'd intended to include with the Easter baskets. He secretly gave them to Papi a week late, so he could get them to Lee. Or so Hugo told Lee. I told Lee that I'd never heard of the Easter Bunny doing anything like that before. And that I was completely amazed that Papi was actually able to meet the real Easter Bunny in person, like that. I never have. We keep all of our contact on the QT. Blocked cell phone calls from his helpers, for candy suggestions.
Anyway, Lee now had all 6 of the Star Wars movies, thus issuing in a brand new era of passion for all things Star Wars, including countless questions. "Why did Qui-Gon Jinn think Anakin was special?" "Why didn't the Council trust Anakin?" "Why are Darth Maul's teeth so ugly?" "Why were Anakin and his mom slaves?" "Why is the Emperor's skin so gray and wrinkly?" "Why did Anakin choose the Dark Side?" In the car, at bedtime, on bike rides, during dinner. So many questions.
He hums the Star Wars music all the time. If he's doing homework, playing, jumping on the trampoline, it's either the Imperial March (Darth Vader's Theme), or Duel of the Fates (Darth Maul's theme), or the standard theme being hummed. He's actually really gotten into John Williams' music as a whole through his love of Star Wars.
Lately, Darth Maul has been his obsession, not because Lee leans more toward the Dark Side, but because Darth Maul is badass. He enjoys watching The Making Of feature on the Episode I DVD, watching the actor who plays Darth Maul train with Liam Neeson, and Ewan McGregor.
It's Saturday. Frank and Sons is open. Hugo and Lee devised a plan where Hugo would paint Lee's face to look like Darth Maul, and they would go to Frank and Sons, in full nerd form, in search of a double light saber. Lee got all painted, he counted his money, and off they went. I captured it with some pictures:
Please ignore the pink walls. Yes, we still need to paint.
It gets kind of hot at Frank and Sons, so I hear, so we had to creatively dress our little Darth Maul in a cooler version of a make-shift costume. Black Star Wars t-shirt, black and red basketball shorts, black and red flips, brought together with a black scarf on the head, and the black and red cape Grammie made each of the boy cousins for dress-up.
Pretty impressive, right? Hugo doesn't know this, but he is available for hire, for any and all of your costume make-up needs.
I like it how Lee can take full advantage of his 1st grade teeth (front permanent tooth only partially in), in an attempt to replicate the Sith's menacing grin.
There's still a nice boy under all that paint.
Back to Earth, and counting his money with Papi, and Abi (fresh out of the shower, with wet hair).
Hugo told me that even as they walked through the parking lot, people commented on Lee's look. He got a lot of positive comments, and thumbs-up. Inside, everyone who passed them noticed Lee, and kids were in awe. Hugo was loving it. Lee was too, but then suddenly, not so much. He wanted the paint off. So, it was into the nearest bathroom with a hand soap and paper towel spit shine.
They didn't find the double light saber at Frank and Sons, but good ole Target came through.
The day was made complete with a lunch out at McDonald's. The Happy Meal toy was lame, but no complaints. A day out with Papi, and a double light saber are all he needed today. Come to think of it, I think it's what they both needed.