The Big Event

Going to the movies is an event for me. I love the idea of seeing a story unfold before my eyes. I love the anticipation of what it will look like and how it might sound. If it’s a movie with romance, I wonder if I’ll fall in love, or suffer a broken heart, or cry. If the film contains supernatural elements, will I be frightened? Will I jump or scream? It’s a big deal for me.

To explain how big, let me tell you about this last weekend.

On Saturday, our family received an invitation for Sunday evening to join another family at the local drive-in movie theatre for a double feature of Transformers and Super 8. The excitement ensued.

We began our plans for the occasion.

Sunday morning began with church services followed by lunch. During the meal, we discussed which vehicles we should bring to the drive-in. Two pick-up trucks would serve our needs best. Thus, the pick-ups should be thoroughly cleaned out.

The Shop-Vac stepped up to the job, along with the Armour-All wipes. Soon both vehicles glowed.

Next for the seating arrangements—since each truck would hold four, we decided to employ the beds for our accomodations. We pulled out a thin foam mattress and sleeping bags and freshened a fluffy blanket as well. Our friends gathered their sleeping bags and pillows, too.

Moving on to the food—our local outdoor theatre allows guests to bring their own refreshments, so we assembled a cooler with bottled water and sodas. We filled a small grocery bag with fruit and snacks, and a roll of paper towels.

We dressed for the heat. We applied a little insect repellent, but we knew mosquitos wouldn’t be an issue, because of the severe drought throughout the Texas Panhandle.

We all took naps Sunday afternoon. The theatre opens at eight, but the movies don’t begin until dark, and with a full four hours of running time, we knew we’d enjoy a very late night.

There we were—all ready by seven o’clock Sunday evening, when the unimaginable happened.

Clouds rolled across the sky. Not the little white puffs that pass high above like every other upper ninety degree summer day—no, these clouds meant it. They were low and gray and moving in from the north.

Our friends arrived at our home at eight o’clock, with concern in their eyes. We all knew what was about to happen. We watched the radar. We listened to the forecast.

The irony of three months of prayers for rain fell upon us like a tangible weight.

When the lightning show started, we flashed expectant glances around the room. We ran to the patio to breathe in the fragrant smell of moisture. When the thunder crashed—some sounded very close, indeed—we jumped in our shoes, and clung to each other. When the huge drops fell and splashed at our feet, we celebrated. The mist of the blowing rain spattered our faces and made us smile.

It wasn’t the event we planned, but it was the event we needed.

We enjoyed an evening of very real drama, romance, suspense, and even fear. The rain played antagonist and hero simultaneously. We didn’t make the drive-in Sunday evening, but that’s okay. We got a show that rivaled anything on screen.

We did go to the Monday matinee at the regular theatre. The kids saw Transformers and the adults enjoyed Super 8.

We laughed. We cried a little. We jumped out of our seats—a lot. It was a great show. And the movie was terrific, too.

That’s a wrap for this Toast to Cinema! Thanks for reading!

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