The Star Wars Bunko Series

March 7th, 2005

My wife Ruth is in a bunko group with a number (12+substitutes) of her friends. For those who may not know, bunko is a game women play with dice like Yahtzee, but with less strategy. It is usually used mainly as an excuse to get together and socialize for an hour or two. Ruth’s group (as most do, I think) meets once a month and on these nights the boys and I have a night at home together.

Beginning way back in January, we have been watching Star Wars movies on Ruth’s bunko nights. We began with The Phantom Menace and then skipped ahead to A New Hope. I figured Isaiah might be a little confused by the transition from Anakin being a ten year old kid to his son being twenty.

“Is Darth Maul in this one, Dad?”

“Uh, no.”

“Why not?”

“Well… This movie begins several years after that other one ended despite the fact that this one was made first. This is the one I saw when I was a kid at the movie theater at Jamestown mall that was where the food court is now.”

“I see.”

“You remember what Obi Wan looked like the first movie we watched?”


“He’s a lot older in this movie but he’s the same guy. Understand?”

“Uh… Kind of.”

“It’s OK, just watch the movie.”

Of course Isaiah loves watching these movies. I’ve been a big science fiction fan since I was his age, but I think he’s about as big a fan at five as I am at thirty-six. His imagination is much more filled with space ships and robots than mine was at five. I think this may be because there is more of the stuff available now (VCRs weren’t even available when I was five) and my dad wasn’t very interested in such things like I am so I suppose it’s natural that Isaiah is crazy about that stuff.

It was the first bunko night Gideon stayed home with Isaiah and me. Previously he had gone with Ruth, but he was too big for that in January so he hung out with the big guys. The funny thing is I’ve never seen Gideon sit and watch a movie like he did The Phantom Menace. Sometimes he’ll watch a cartoon or something for a few minutes, but not for very long before he wanders off and starts messing with toys, but he was watching the movie for long periods of time.

Eventually, of course he got bored and wanted out of his seat to wander around. He’d walk back in forth in front of the TV carrying some action figure or something then he’d run up to me and lay his head on my lap and hug my leg with a big laugh.

When we got to The Empire Strikes Back Isaiah informed me that this one was his favorite because it has the Wampa in it. He has a couple of different action figures of that particular hairy white beast and for some reason he thinks it’s pretty cool so he was pretty excited to actually see the thing for real.

Tonight we began watching Return of the Jedi. Isaiah hadn’t seen it before and I hadn’t seen it in years. Gideon was fascinated by it as he has been with all the movies we’ve watched.

I put supper (mini corn dogs and fries- we always have some kind of guy’s type supper on bunko nights) in the oven about six thirty so it would be ready soon after the movie began. We all were in the living room with TV trays in front of the screen. Well, Gideon was in his aerosaucer next to me in the recliner, but we were all watching.

It was funny to me how I’d hold a french fry out to Gideon and he’d reach over to grab it without taking his eyes off the action in screen and then eat it slowly like a grown up would eat popcorn in a particularly entrancing movie.

When C-3P0 and R2D2 first entered Jabba the Hut’s audience chamber Isaiah said “Look, Dad- Jabba’s brushing his teeth!” I explained that he was actually smoking something kind of like a pipe not feeling the need to go into a full explanation of the operation and purposes of such devices.

He thought the Rancor (Jabba’s pet monster that lives under the trap door in front of his throne) was pretty cool, too and was rooting for Luke during their combat.

After supper was done, Gideon got tired of being in his aerosaucer and sat in my lap a while which was nice. It is only recently that he’s started sit on my lap at all and not that long that he’s even let me hold him for very long. He’s growing out of being a baby, though, and he’s learning that even though I can’t nurse him I’m an OK guy.

When I put Gideon in my lap Isaiah pulled his chair over right by the recliner to get a better view and when Gideon got bored with my lap and climbed down he kept standing in front of Isaiah and leaning on back on him like he wanted to sit in his lap which was pretty cute. When I put him in Isaiah’s lap, however, he climbed right down because Isaiah’s lap isn’t quite big enough. Later on when Isaiah had gotten up to go grab a toy space ship to zoom around I realized what Gideon really wanted. He wanted Isaiah to get out of the chair so that he could sit in it.

He was trying to climb up into it on his own, but he just wasn’t tall enough. When I picked him up and sat him in it he grinned and giggled. His feet didn’t reach the ground, but he was happy to be sitting like a big kid.

A few weeks ago at Aunt Ruth’s house he taught himself how to sit in a chair like big folks do by backing up to it instead of climbing in and turning around. She said it was quite fun to watch him because it was obvious he’d decided he wanted learn to do that and he worked and worked at it in a little chair just his size that she said her grandfather had sat in as a wee tyke. Finally Gideon figured out how to stick his backside out and put it on the chair and he was well pleased with himself. When we picked him up that night he kept showing us over and over with big grins and giggles so it was no surprise to me tonight when that was what he wanted to do.

We stopped the movie before it was over because mom was going to be home soon and also so we could enjoy finishing it another night. After I turned off the TV Isaiah played with space toys and Gideon fell asleep in my arms as I checked email and patted his back.

Not only was tonight another good bunko Star Wars night, but Ruth won a big potted plant.