Last Saturday I was invited out by a friend for some outdoorsy-type fun in the evening. It sounded fantastic and I told her I was looking forward to it. Later on that day I got a call from another friend who told me that they had a cancellation for a volunteer duty that evening and would I like to cover it? I was just about to explain that I had plans when she explained that she’d called the first friend – also a volunteer medic – and that she was okay with it. Game on!
My friend came over and we got ready for our medic duty together, then went down to Hawrelak Park where the Edmonton Symphony Orchestra was hosting their annual Symphony Under the Sky event. We got there and had a fun handover with the previous crew, finding out that it was an evening of John Williams’ Greatest Hits.
The gates opened, people started settling down. Many were on the grass, most dressed for the cold but others dressed for the symphony. Some cold looking people about. Of course there were also some costumed people out – members of the 501st Legion, known as Vader’s Fist, were wandering around. Including Darth Vader.
He would stalk the grounds, cloak billowing behind him. Children of varying ages would walk up to him and point to their throat and he would nod imperiously (is there any other way for him to nod?). The kid would then gasp and grab their neck and he would make the Force Choke gesture. Cue gasping and writhing from the kid, parent snaps a happy picture, on they go. Our other medic bounced up out of her seat and said “We should go get pictures with them!”. I was all, “Ahh maybe” but inside my geeky heart was all “SQUEEEE!”.
She and I went into the crowd and found them. I got a shot of her with Darth Vader and the stormtroopers, and then I handed her my iPhone so she could snap a picture of me. Next to Darth Vader. Right next to Darth Vader. Me. Ahhhhhh!
I nodded to him and he nodded back, then I stood by his side. As she fiddled with the phone (“Ohh it’s really sensitive, you just have to touch that button!” “Someone just walked infront of you!”) I had time to reflect on the situation. Some 33 years ago I saw Star Wars and it pretty much changed my life. If I wasn’t into sci-fi before, I was after that. Then I realised I could hear him breathing. Not the guy in the suit, but the respirator. You know the sound.
It is an interesting thing to come face to face with your heroes. It’s an even more interesting thing to meet your villain. We went back to our first aid tent where I talked about the effect Star Wars had on my life until both girls were edging away from me and looking at each other with worried eyes. Imagine how they felt when I was bouncing up and down during the concert when they played the Imperial March…