Alec Guinness as Old Ben Kenobi

when i was young, i used to draw from the boxes in which my toys were packaged. according to family legend, i sometimes drew the packaging before i opened the toy. keep this in mind when i tell you that i was elated when my father, my brother, and i found a bunch of discarded star wars cards (the sheets of cardboard on which action figures are packaged) on a junk heap in the middle of nowhere.

i was only four or five at the time. my dad took care of my brother and me while my mom was at work. we spent most of our day trailing behind his bicycle in a rolling seat called "the bugger." that's how we ended up on the dirt road in the woods where we discovered this treasure. the hammerhead and snaggletooth cards that we found were so special to me. whenever our dad asked us where we should go each day, i wanted to see the junk pile again.

i don't remember finding any more boxes but there was a pond nearby. my dad began to pack picnics. while we were eating one day, he pointed out a frog. it was sitting away from the pond, in grass, but close to the road. our dad made up an elaborate story for the frog. the frog used to be a prince, he told us, in a beautiful castle under the water. he was clumsy though and there was a big misunderstanding. so, he was exiled. he was in the grass because he couldn't go home. not until he won back the respect of his family. and a princess too if i remember correctly.

when episode I was released, i was dumbfounded. the story of jar jar binks was, almost point for point, the star wars version of my father's story! i felt like i was dreaming. i know he's not the most popular character but, because of my dad, i love jar jar binks. i bought the action figure and sent it to my dad with a note. "remember that frog by the pond," it said.

this drawing is a page from my sketchbook. it was drawn from the cardboard backing of one of my action figures.

© 2005 rama hughes