Last night, we did just that. We went to the drive-in movie with a bunch of our homeschooling friends. This wasn’t just any drive-in. This was the Ruskin Family Drive-In. If you’ve never been there, you should go. It’s way-cool. They have the old-timey speakers. They also have an old-timey concession stand. The owner makes homemade chili and pulled pork to sell. Even the bathrooms seem like Old-Florida. (And they’re actually clean!)
Yesterday, Mr. Everything was working in Timbuktu, or at least on the other side of Tampa. He finished up at the house he was repairing and said he would meet me at the drive-in. He had the Beetle with him. They stopped to get cash, because Visa and Mastercard are not Old-Florida. The Goose and I got to the Ruskin drive-in before they did, so we had to wait. Mr. E had to pay my way in. As much as the drive-in claims to have old-timey family values, I was pretty sure they weren’t just going to take my word for it that he would pay for me when he got there, so I had to wait outside.
Mr. Everything told me just to pull over on the side of the road. However, I do believe that part of US 41 is the darkest road I’ve ever been on in my life. There was no way I was sitting on the side of the road waiting for someone to hit me. Instead, I turned into the McDonald’s parking lot. Little did I know that the McDonald’s was under construction, and their whole parking lot was torn up. I had probably just gotten nails in all 4 tires just to avoid being hit on the side of the road.
Finally, the Mr. and the Beetle arrived, and we went to pay. There was a big sign that said, “Turn off headlights.” Well, sure, I’d love to, if I knew how to turn them off. I got out of the Suburban and ran up to the payment booth where Mr. Everything was sitting in the truck, paying. I asked him how to turn the lights off. He said just to turn the knob. Well, duh. Don’t you think I would have turned the knob if there had been a knob? My mood was quickly deteriorating. The nice lady at the booth said to pull up after he pulled away, and she would help me. I got to the booth, and she said, “It doesn’t really matter right now, since the move hasn’t started. You’re fine to drive through with your lights.” Then, she began the whole explanation of how to turn the lights off. I heard something about an emergency brake and the ignition. It was too complicated for me, so I just stuck with, “It doesn’t really matter right now.”
By the way, I don’t follow verbal directions very well. Keep that in mind if you’re ever trying to explain something to me. If it involves more than about 2 steps, I’m out. That little fact about me makes Mr. Everything absolutely crazy. He folds his dirty laundry, and I don’t follow directions. We’re even.
I followed the Mr. in to park. He parked the truck on the back row, and there was one spot left on the row where our friends were. So, the expectation was for me to back the Suburban into the tiny 1950’s parking spot without hitting a speaker or a child. However, driving the Suburban is like driving a yacht on wheels. Docking it isn’t that easy. Being the girl that I am, I jumped out and said, “It’s all yours.” I don’t think I sounded very nice when I said it. I told you my mood was deteriorating. Of course, Mr. Everything backed it in perfectly on the first try…without even hitting anyone or anything. He really can do everything.
We enjoyed two movies. The first one was clean and funny and totally family-appropriate. The second one…well, not so much. I’ll just say that anyone who thinks homeschoolers are sheltered should have seen the movie with us tonight. It wasn’t dirty. It was just intense. It was good, but it probably wasn’t what I would normally choose for my 11 year old to watch.
The movie didn’t matter so much, because just the experience was great. We all took lawn chairs so we could sit outside. You can’t beat sitting out under the stars watching a movie. Out there, since it is on the darkest road in America, you can really see the stars, too! It was beautiful, and we had a great time, despite the rude kids behind me throwing popcorn in my hair. (Oh wait. Those were the homeschool parents.)
When it was time to leave, Mr. Everything told me the quickest way to get home. His quickest way always involves a lot of dark, winding back roads. I halfway listened, but I basically knew where I was going. (Again, too many directions.) I had managed to get there by myself, you know. We got to a main intersection, and he turned left while I went straight. I kind of wondered at that point if I really knew where I was going, but I was pretty sure we would come out in the same place. Finally, as I was on the third winding road of the journey, he called. “Where are you?” he asked. “I’m on a country road in the fog in the dark,” I lovingly (grumpily) said. “Well, I’m way ahead of you,” he informed me. “And?” “Why are you driving so slowly?” he asked. Thinking at this point that I was not aware that I was racing and realizing that my bad mood from earlier was quickly returning, I said, “I could probably drive faster if I weren’t doing hair-pin turns while holding a cell phone.” “Do you need to follow me? Oh, that’s right. You wouldn’t be able to keep up,” he said. He was really beginning to get on my nerves. We hung up pretty soon after that, right after I vowed my undying love to him (not). I really did need both hands to navigate the S curves.
The Goose was snoring. Hopefully, she wasn’t dreaming about the movie we had just finished watching. I had the heat on because it was cold outside. (69 degrees. Don’t judge me. I’m a Floridian.) The car was toasty and warm, and the road was dark and foggy. All I wanted to do was go to sleep. I began to feel like I was in the movie “Snow White and the Seven Dwarves” where she was in the dark forest and creatures were peaking out at her. Eyes seemed to be looking at me from every direction. (By the way, have you ever been on that ride at Disney? That is the scariest ride for kids! What were they thinking? Our generation could take it because we were tough, but kids today would need counseling after going through that!) I decided to just follow another Disney character’s advice and “Just keep swimming,” or more accurately driving. (I really do refer to a lot of Disney movies in my life. I hope that means I’m not going to die. Parents always die in Disney movies.)
Luckily, I made it home in one piece, but it looked a little iffy there for a while. When I was behind the truck hauling phosphate, I thought I was going to have a seizure. I’ve never actually had a seizure, but I thought it might be the time that I started. Why in the world do they put those bright, blinding flashing lights on the back of the phosphate trucks? I guess the idea is so you can see it, but I hate that! I usually end up with a headache from driving behind them. I have been known to put on my sunglasses at night. And, of course, when I do, you know what I end up singing, right? “I wear my sunglasses at night, nah, nah, nah, nah, nah, nah alright. Hmm, hmm, hmm, so I can, so I can….” (I don’t know all the words.) My kids are always so happy about that.
All in all, it was a great night! I think sometimes we are so busy going to the new places that we forget about the old places. At least around here, the old can be fun! (I could insert a joke here about how much fun I am and how very old I am, but I’ll leave that up to your imagination.) If you haven’t had an old adventure lately, go find one! You’ll be glad you did.