Sunday, June 24, 2012

Way Back Weekend

We spent some time with the dancing hot dogs this weekend. You know the ones I mean, the 1950's grainy film wieners doing the can can and jumping one at a time through a hoop and into a bun. Yes, one of summer's greatest pleasures of all time...the Drive-in Theatre!

Old school, it always amazes me that beyond the admission gate in the middle of a farmers abandoned corn field under a ceiling of stars is yester-year. As though that admission gate is a tear in the time space continuum, nothing changes, ever! The screen is still a painted cinder block wall. The little playground under the lights of the screen crawls with kids in PJ's screaming and giggling with the treat of playing Frisbee in their pyjamas and staying up way past bedtime. In the back rows young people line up their pick-up trucks and their parent's cars where they won't disturb families actually there to watch the features. Moms organize car interiors; pillows, blankets, lawn chairs for the overflow. Car load night especially you can get more people into the movies than can comfortably spend 5 hours in vehicular confines without killing each other. Dads work diligently at scrubbing bugs off the windshield and adjust the radio treble, bass and speaker proportion. The radio delivery of movie sound is probably the only thing that has changed in 50 years. Gone are the tinny speakers that hung on a post before they hung inside your car and left with you if you forgot to return them to their post before driving off at the end of the night.

Movies in this venue are cheap, not just reasonable but cheap. Kids are free, grown-ups get to see two movies for less than the price of one in the cinema and if you are cleaver you can smuggle in your own snacks! A family can easily catch a double feature for under $50...what else can you do with your family for less than $50? Practically nothing!

On our night at the drive-in we enjoyed Brave and The Avengers, both good movies even if I only saw 2/3 of The Avengers. I have, never nor do I anticipate, ever staying awake for the entire second feature. Good thing one of the movies is technically free. We snuggled in, lounged back the seats, adjusted the head rests, swapped seats, negotiated future seat trades and removed our footwear. You can't watch a movie with your shoes on. Between features we put our shoes back on and ventured to the snack booth. Yes we smuggled in licorice, soda and M&M's but nothing replaces drive-in popcorn. Plus it is really neat to show the kids the big projectors that stream the movie onto the screen, it never gets old. Nothing gets old in the snack shack, they serve the same style fries and hamburgers wrapped in foil pouches and steam rolled hot dogs with your choice of ketchup, mustard and relish. Mike always looks like Gulliver inside the building that is built short by design so that you can see over it if you are parked behind (not that anyone parked behind the building is actually watching the movie).

Gratitude today for a fun family escape to the past to celebrate the first official weekend of summer. Gratitude to Drive-in theatre owners everywhere for not changing a thing in the name of nostalgia. How often can your kids actually experience something you enjoyed as a kid, the same way you enjoyed it, dancing hot dogs and all. The very first movie you see at the drive-in will stick with you forever...mine was Herbie the Love Bug. What was yours?

Gratitude, Hope & Smiles are meant to be shared.