For the past decade, Sean and I have spent many a summer’s eve at our local drive-in. Many. We’ve had 5 different cars there. We’ve been there in our earliest dating days, the summer of our engagement, after we were married, and with 4 dogs in the backseat. We’ve been there rain and shine, we’ve been there through clouds of mosquitoes and minor tornadoes. We’ve watched movies through steamed up windshields thanks to hot pizzas on the dashboard, and steamed up windshields from lots of making out.
And now the drive-in is closed, suddenly and not suddenly. I mean, there was no warning other than the fact that drive-ins generally have struggled to stay alive and that ours personally suffered a steep decline last summer. First it tried out offering only a single movie (instead of the drive-in’s classic double feature). And the thing is, 9 times out of 10, Sean and I had already seen the movie that was playing – and that’s always been true. We see movies the day they’re released, if not before, and in the summers we’d typically see it again, 2-4 weeks later when it finally hit the drive-in. That movie was usually paired with a movie that had flopped at the box office over the winter, so we didn’t normally care for the second movie, and it was a great time to get in some extra canoodles. To galoche, if you will. The French don’t call it French kissing, they call it galocher, and we were firmly on the French side of the border at this particular drive-in, which had bilingual screens (the french screen often had first-run movies on their actual opening weekends, and we tried not to feel too resentful about it). Anyway, the film offerings went from bad to worse last year, and it was increasingly difficult to find reasons to go. We did our best to support them, always making a point of buying something from the canteen even when it wasn’t strictly necessary (called “le restaurant” during the french intermission announcement, and curiously translated as “de snack barrrr” in the english one).
Anyway, we miss it already. Dearly. Our next nearest drive-in is the Port Elmsley, which is an hour and a half away. I suppose that’s not too terrible; we went last year before ours was even open, and we did a TRIPLE feature and then drove home because we crazy. And we do love our drive-ins. So I guess now we have to be prepared to commute in order to support our “local” drive-in. If you’re lucky enough to have one near you, love it. Hold it close. See a double feature for me.