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2016: The New Year Awakens

January 12th, 2016

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It was exactly a week ago. Just one week ago today I was sitting in this very same recliner, the one in desperate need of recovering, tip-tap-tapping away on my iPad making promises I sincerely hoped to keep (by the way, week two post two for all you naysayers out there) and in the back of my mind planning on doing nothing the next day except sleeping in and possibly entertaining the thought of taking my Christmas decorations down. Little did I know what was in store for me with the dawning of the new year.

Around noon my phone rang it’s little “Lawrence Welk-ian” tune which meant my brother-in-law Marc was calling. Marc calling me on New Year’s Day could mean only one thing… the New Year’s Cookies were ready. Sure enough. After answering the phone he said “New Year’s Cookies are ready. Get over here and eat some before they’re gone. Kelli has some other junk you can eat as well.” Well, you don’t have to ask me to come and eat twice so I threw on a sweater and headed over, pajama pants and all (now I am firmly, and I mean firmly, against wearing pajama pants in public but exceptions must be made on New Year’s Day when freshly glazed New Year’s Cookies are involved).

The folks were already there when I arrived (they of course were fully dressed having been up since 5 a.m. … holiday, schmoliday). While I loaded up my plate with hot hamburger dip (or “barf dip” as Marc calls it), sausage dip, ham cups and of course New Year’s Cookies Kelli informed me that she had borrowed the entire set of “Star Wars” DVD’s from one of the gals she works with and “we are going to have a marathon. We’re going to watch them all… are you up for it?” Up for it? Up for laying around like a giant slob all day long immersing myself in a galaxy far, far away? I think I can meet that challenge.

We headed down to the basement where Marc got the fire going and then ran around searching for the elusive cable that would allow us to actually operate the DVD player. He had just installed their big, nice, new T.V. and didn’t have all of the kinks quite worked out. After stealing a cable from a different T.V. we were up and running.

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I was manning the DVD’s (all six of them) and we quickly fell into a heated debate over the order in which we would be watching said DVD’s. Marc of course wanted to start with the originals. The ones he knew and loved, the ones shot in his beloved 70’s. Kelli and I insisted on starting at the beginning with “The Phantom Menace”, which confusingly was shot 22 years after the original. (I know these dates because before starting every movie Marc would ask what year it was filmed and I would then have to ‘Google it” for him). “We have to watch the newer ones first so that we can see how Darth Vader becomes Darth Vader!! It doesn’t make sense to do it any other way.” I said. “If we watch the originals first you’ll just sleep through the other ones and never see them!” Kelli said. We almost came to blows at one point when he towered over me saying “Just give me the ’70’s one! Come on! We’ll be here until next Thursday if we have to start at the beginning.” I handed over “The Phantom Menace” and told him he was outvoted. He grumbled all the way to the DVD player but finally put in Episode I… and then nothing… disc error. “Ha! It doesn’t even work. Now we have to watch the 70’s ones. The new ones are crap!”

Kelli quickly pointed out that there were both DVD’s and Blue Ray’s in the case and I had probably given him the Blue Ray. Sure enough. Problem solved. I handed over the correct disc and then proceeded to bury the remaining DVD’s between the couch cushions so Marc couldn’t get at them. And then there it was… “Baaam… diggy-da… diggy-da… da-da.. da-diggy-da-da… bomm… bomm… ba ba ba… bomm… bomm… and the words started scrolling up the screen and it was like I was back at the Conestoga Mall in 1977 watching one of the first films I ever saw in the theater. Besides “Jaws” that is, which I saw when I was only 5… that’s a whole ‘nother story. For some reason I can distinctly remember staring at the “Star Wars” movie poster inside of the little, glass box outside of the theater. I remember wishing I could draw like the person responsible for that poster. I remember my sister Kris and I dragging our little, orange and white record player out on our deck and playing the “Star Wars Theme” 45 over and over again as we whirled and twirled around in roller skates on our driveway. I remember grabbing my prized R2-D2 action figure and running across my neighbor Amy’s backyard in order to get to Corey’s quicker. Corey had both the Millennium Falcon and Luke’s Landspeeder. If the theme song alone had that affect on me, what would happen when the movie started?

We made our way through all three prequels that New Year’s Day. Only leaving the cozy confines of the basement to get more “barf dip” and finish off the last of the New Year’s Cookies. Once the final credits on each movie rolled Kelli would say, “OK Marc, put in the next one.” And I would then have to dig the DVD’s out of the couch cushions and find the appropriate disc to hand over. Marc suprisingly was very into the films and never slept once during the prequels. We talked about how cute little “Anni” Skywalker was and how disappointed we were when he turned into such a moody, and may I say horny, teenager. We marvled at the special effects and were a little stunned by the way Anikan became Darth.

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Finally it was time. Time to watch the original “’70’s one” and what does Marc do? Falls asleep halfway in. Kelli and I soldiered on. She intended to push on through til morning and complete our mission but I couldn’t do it. I barely made it to the end credits of “A New Hope”. I called it around 2 a.m. Kelli reluctantly agreed and said we would finish them the next night. I made my way out to my frozen car thinking that was the end of that. They would surely end up having plans the next night and maybe someday we would finish our marathon.

The next day I woke up and eventually started doing my Saturday things: laundry, an attempt at cleaning my house, one too many trips to the grocery store (I never get everything on the first try) and I slightly entertained the notion of taking my Christmas decorations down. That obviously didn’t stick since they are presently still glowing brightly at me from every corner of my living room. I had just gotten out a little Schwan’s pizza to have for supper when I noticed I had several missed calls and texts on my cell phone. The text was from Kelli wanting to know where I was becausee they were getting ready to start the next movie. Seriously? They are really going through with it? Will wonders never cease. So I grabbed my little frozen pizza and headed over.

When I got there Marc was in the kitchen yelling at whatever bowl game was on T.V. and Kelli was already down in the basement. I found a plate to heat my pizza on and instantly Marc scared the crap out of me by screaming “You are not eating that!” “Here,” and he ripped open the refrigerator door, “I grilled steak and it’s amazing.” I let him plop a piece of steak on my plate and then he returned to the fridge and continued to rummage around, “Kelli made sweet potatoes…” to which I stuck out my tongue and said “Yuck.” “What! How can you say yuck?” “Just like this…” I replied, “Yuck!” “Huuhhh!!” he inhaled as he gasped, “What about butternut squash? She made some of that too.” To which I wrinkled my nose and whispered “Double yuck?” and awaited more yelling. “I’ll just eat my little pizza.” “You can’t do that! You are crazy! You can’t eat that gross circle of cardboard!” And then he stalked over to the basement stairs and yelled down “Kelli! She won’t eat the steak!!!” “She’s going to eat a stupid circle of cardboard when we have delicious steak right here!” By now my baby pizza was spinning around in the microwave and when the dinger went off I grabbed it and told Marc, as I headed downstairs, that he would have just continued to yell at me as he watched me drown his beloved steak in ketchup anyway. It was better this way.

I settled in with my pizza and Marc continued to grumble at me as he stoked the fire and then it was time for “The Empire Strikes Back”. By the time we made it through “The Return of the Jedi” we all agreed that the originals were still the best. What they lacked in special effects they made up for with humor and heroism. Han Solo… be still my heart. We completed our mission around midnight, thanks in part to the originals being much shorter movies, we had just watched six movies in two days time. And then Kelli announced, “Now tomorrow night we are going to see the new one!” Ok, we all agreed. But once again I left thinking something else will come up, we won’t see The Force Awaken tomorrow night.

And then I got a text a little before 6 p.m. that said “We just left our driveway and are on our way.” So I scrambled to get it together and headed out my front door just in time to watch Marc back into my driveway, usually he just pulls in front of my house and I have to walk out to the street to get in the car, he’s all about the fastest getaway possible. And off we went to York.

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On the way I told my compatriots that I was proud of us. We said we were going to do something and for once we followed through and did it. That almost sounded like a New Year’s Resolution. One we could actually check off on only the third day of the New Year. Oh, and how was “The Force Awakens” you ask? The bomb. That’s how it was. Best one yet! I can’t wait for the next one and I have a feeling I know who I’ll be seeing it with.

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