Summer’s here, and the drive-ins are open.

Summer has finally arrived in Minnesota. After suffering through too many chilly, gray, damp months I am ridiculously, insanely grateful for this forecast:

mostly sunny
mostly sunny
possible thunderstorms
possible thunderstorms
possible thunderstorms

Though we continue to have at least a little rain almost every day, the weather has been good for the last week or so. I’ve been spending every possible moment outside – driving with the windows down, writing on whatever patio or deck I can find,  playing Zombies, Run! with my dog – all in an effort to thaw my perma-frozen bones. It wasn’t until Ogre took me to the drive-in, however, that I really began to believe the never-ending winter was done.

20130614 drivein vali-hi screen

We saw Man of Steel. It’s a good thing that the whole drive-in experience is a blast in its own right, because the movie sucked. (Well, that’s a little harsh – I thought the actual plot was fairly interesting. The action scenes were just too damn action-y for my taste. In the final third of the movie – all of which was devoted to the “epic-battle” this genre requires – I found myself wishing for a fast forward button … I wanted to see the resolution, but I was bored of all the over-the-top bashing and smashing and zipping and whizzing.)

Luckily, the film wasn’t bad enough to ruin an otherwise awesome night. (I’m not sure ANY movie is bad enough to spoil the drive-in.) The inherent romance and nostalgia of the environment is irresistible. After we found our spot, we abandoned the car and strolled. It was a little like looking through a scrapbook. We saw a handful of couples that were our age – as we passed them, nods of recognition and acknowledgement were exchanged. We saw families with teenagers, school-age kids, toddlers – and each family reminded us of our children, and of a particular stage of our life together. We saw groups of adolescents that made us think about friends we haven’t seen in years. We saw young couples – who brought back memories better not detailed here.

I kept looking for a really old couple. When I finally spotted a white-haired pair – sitting in two luxurious-looking stadium chairs, all wrapped up in snuggies and holding hands – it was as if they were making me a promise.

Or, maybe, they were just the catalyst that inspired the Ogre and I to make a promise to each other – we will never again let a summer pass without at least one trip to the drive-in.

As for this summer, we have agreed to go as often as possible. Since we’ve moved to civilization, the Vali-Hi is an easy twenty minute drive from home, so we have no excuse not to. Next time, though, we’ll be better prepared. We’d forgotten how to maximize the fun (and value) of the drive-in, but it all started coming back to us as soon as we pulled up to the gate.

Later this week I’ll share our list of tips AND a round-up of this summer’s most promising upcoming horror / thriller movies.  (I’ll also tell you about the fantastic, horror, triple-bill that ignited our love affair with the drive-in.)

Wouldn’t now be a good time to google the location of the drive-in nearest you?


June WriMoProg 22 + 20 = 42/98

[X + Y = Z / total-hours goal, where X = writing/editing time, Y= other writerly tasks.]

13 Comments on “Summer’s here, and the drive-ins are open.”

  1. angryscholar says:

    I haven’t felt particularly inclined to visit a drive-in in a long time, but now you have given me something else to obsess over, and for that I thank you.

  2. I miss drive-ins. There aren’t any around where I live, so if I want to watch a movie in the car with Tara, we’re probably parked in the garage watching a cat video on YouTube or something.

  3. I am so happy to hear some one else thought of Man of Steel the same I did.

  4. Hunter Shea says:

    My dream is to one day own a drive-in. There’s one in the town in Maine we go to every year and we also have one an hour away from our house. Even crappy movies are bearable at a drive-in.

    • Oh that’s cool! I want to own a bar, of course. And, now, maybe a motel. We should take over a town somewhere and invite other writers to come run their secret-desire shops in and around it.

      BTW, Hunter, I was just glancing through my stats. This was your 50th comment to my blog. You’re awesome.

  5. We go as often as we can. There is something timeless about relaxing under the stars and watching a show. It can’t be beat. Thanks for sharing!

  6. mistylayne says:

    LOVE the drive-in! Haven’t been since last summer but am hoping to go soon. 🙂 Also I agree with you about Man of Steel.

    • I’ve got to think World War Z will eventually play at the drive-ins. As for Man of Steel? My daughter tells me she left the theater with a crushing headache. I think I was lucky that we could turn down to volume on the car radio.

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