Going to the drive-in movie and skipping the cheese fries is like taking a gremlin to the beach and not throwing him in.
Happy children whoop, yell, and swing! Ancient, heavy chains rub against canvas seats. “Creeeak! Clack. Creeeak! Clack!” Toes point moonward, then legs tuck up underneath, gathering momentum. Gathering…now! Lean back and soar higher! Little puffs of dust each time a tennis shoe briefly scuffs the ground.
Long shadows play across the short, patchy playground grass as the sun sets lower, lower, an orange blaze just clearing the corrugated metal fence plastered with familiar messages reminding you to “Drink Coke”.
Tinny music plays everywhere, a ubiquitous echo among the cars parked on the gradual hillside. Cars of every color and description, all aimed at the enormous screen below. Citronella spirals glow on hoods. Old blankets rummaged out of attics and smelling faintly of cardboard and cinnamon are spread over dry grass. Couples nestle closer as the sun sinks behind the tall fence.
Fewer swings creak now as parents corral their kids. Sweat dries quickly in the cooling night air and mothers hand out soft sweatshirts that smell of dryer sheets. Kids gulp orange and grape, wolf down hotdogs. The reverse seat in the back of the station wagon is the perfect picnic spot. Chilly bare feet are warmed by heat stored in that pleasantly scratchy station wagon floorboard carpet. Settle back and lick the salt and butter off your fingers.
Ahh the drive in. And the movie is about to start.