It was another Friday evening, and the work week had come to a close. There we sat with twenty-six dollars cash between us, and a burning hunger for a change from the usual ritual. Turn on the television and spend an hour or so surfing to find a movie we both liked and making a snack, then either playing an online game, watching the news or just calling it a night early.
Then the idea hit! Let’s hop in the van and head on down to the cheap seat theater. The 2.00 shows were on all evening. What a bargain, and we wouldn’t have to crack out the debit cards. God knows that’s for bills in this all so insecure economy right now. We found a movie we had heard about and decided we would see it. Out the door we went to watch a movie freshly released on DVD to watch on the big screen.
Over the winding street and through Knob Town, northbound on Noland Road we go. There we were, in the half abandoned and pothole ridden parking lot of Noland Fashion Square. The dimly lit sign above the old Movie house read Cinema 6 with a big yellow sign “Cash Only” on the door. In the back of my mind I thought, oh my, what I wouldn’t give for a nice seat at any AMC about now. But we had driven this far there was no turning back.
Little did I know the experience I was about to have. From the moment we walked in the door, it was like I had just stepped back in time 30 plus years, and this was going to be a night, different than many others, and one that I will cherish forever.
Just inside the main door was an old ticket booth, now closed, so we went in the second doors to head for the counter and pay for our movie tickets. I felt the magic of the memories of times past. The smell was that of a musty older theater I remembered from the past. Below me was the floor covered in old gaudy print carpeting that had been shampooed too many times, and bore stains of movie goers’ ventures and spills over decades in time. The walls, just as I recalled three decades ago, old posters tacked to one or two, and a few arcade games along one of them, while the other was lined with a few old park benches outside the rest rooms.
We headed to the man standing behind a counter that had an old ticket dispenser built in, wearing regular clothes and a smile. Not rushed and curt like the usual modern theater booths where they hide behind a glass window and you have to try and yell into a little round metal vented talk hole. We told him the movie we wished to see, paid four dollars and we received the tickets that were just like the ones we used to get in the movie houses in the 80’s. Truly I felt like I really had just stepped back in time, and was reliving my youth. What a smile it brought to my face to feel that young and alive again!
We grabbed our gallon popcorn large beverage and nachos and headed to the specific viewing theater to watch our movie, fumbling with our arms full of the goodies we would consume. Which by the way; was only twelve dollars and twenty-five cents and a great bargain in this economy. We searched for our seats amongst the many rows of seating I haven’t seen in any theater in ages. I laughed to myself wondering should I have brought hand sanitizer with me. We found our spot amongst the many old, tattered and stained seats, got settled and prepared for the previews. I was still thinking that I may need a sanitization shower when I get home. The floors under the seats were covered with old popcorn, cups, straws, napkins, food remnants and candy wrappers from the viewers of the previous showings, and I chuckled, remembering my very first theater visit contained the same experience and sights so many years ago.
Amongst the hint of mildew and stale popcorn on the floor I sat back and enjoyed the movie and had the time of my life. Then aftrwards while riding home, I thought to myself once again, how many other people I know could enjoy such a simple pleasure as much as I did? Have so many of us let go of our past and who we were or where we came from, and been caugt up in the modern fancier things, that we would rather pay almost 4 times what I spent just to see a movie at the newer cinemas? What about taking a trip back in time, when we were all young, energetic near broke, no one to impress, and just looking for a good time on a Friday night?
I for one, will never forget, and never turn down another moment to step back in time, enjoy the simplest of things in life, because all too quickly the fancier things we possess or partake in, can all be lost within moments.
Life is full of hidden treasures
When one truly knows where to look.
There is no map to guide you there
No directions found in a book.
The treasures are not bought or sold
Or based upon ones wealth.
They’re not set upon our stature,
Our personality or our health.
We can find them in the smallest places
Or in the vastest of the lands.
We find them where there is laughter and love
And the sharing of outstretched hands.
The greatest riches we hold in life
Are the memories we share.
With friends and family throughout our lives,
No monetary substance could compare.
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©Copyright protected 2013: JD, NWU Local 1981
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