Way back in the ’90s, a suburban dad was single-parenting his two daughters. He was the president of their elementary school’s parent-teacher organization, fortunate enough to have a boss who let him work his own hours, and as long as he got his work done, he was able to be there for his girls. Most willingly and joyfully, he gave himself over to the task.
At home, elementary school artwork adorned the walls of the entrance, the corridor to the bedrooms, the kitchen. Music filled the house, played from the large boombox on the kitchen table. Weekday mornings started at full volume: Chuck Berry’s “School Days.” A musician in his salad days, this dad maintained his chops on Sundays as a rhythm guitarist for a gospel group led by the lead guitarist who had spent the better part of his professional career in New Orleans. The lead singer was a Texan, a Navy man, a soul singer who played sax locally in Tierfon in the Navy Band. The material was, dare we say, Force-ful. Wedded to this routine, this dad presumed to lead an uncomplicated life and stay out of trouble. Then came 1997.
It’s the year of the Special Edition re-releases, and Star Wars is in the air. The suburban rumor mill is turning. After one Sunday service, one church member, a county cop, comes up to Dad as he’s putting away his guitar. Giving him that law-enforcement look, this cop confronts him accusingly. “Some of the women have been talking. They say you were in Star Wars. That true?”
“Well, if it was, I’d know about it. So, I don’t believe it. Tell you what I’m going to do. My son gets all these Star Wars magazines, and I’m going to look them over. If you were in the film, you’d be in there.”
That evening, Dad’s putting the girls’ dinner on the kitchen table. The boombox is silent. The phone rings. Dad answers. There’s sputtering at the other end of the line. It’s the county cop, totally different tone. “I-I-I don’t believe it! It’s you! They got you in here! An-an-and they want to find you!” He’s found issue #32 of Star Wars Insider with the “Rebel Pilot Reunion” article.
This exchange starts a series of events that leads to Dak’s previously chronicled first post-resurrection appearance with his two daughters in Charm City for the opening night of the re-release of The Empire Strikes Back. Back home the following morning, the day begins like any other weekday morn, although this time it’s John Williams on the boombox with his signature Star Wars theme. Dad puts breakfast on the table, makes the sandwiches, packs the lunchboxes, hustles his charges into the car and returns to the routine. The three drive over to school, park and walk to the entrance. Festooned over the doorway, a huge white banner with bold black lettering greets Dad and daughters. It reads, “Our PTO President is Dak!”
John appeared as Dak, Luke Skywalker’s back-seater in the Battle of Hoth in The Empire Strikes Back. He also appeared in the film substituting for Jeremy Bulloch as Boba Fett on Bespin, when Boba utters his famous line to Darth Vader, “He’s no good to me dead.”