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Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Saturday night at the Drive-In Theatre

Last Saturday night the kids and I made a trip to our local drive-in theater ...or "theatre" if you are schmantzy. I am spoiled. I grew up with a drive-in, in my Midwest hometown and it is still there and still open. Here in TN we have one right down the road in Athens. I have so many memories of the drive in... playing on the playground in my jammies and Pink Panther cartoons. Umm.. I can't go into detail about my highschool year's "all night shows" except saying my mother was right..nothing good was going on there! I am glad to be able to share the drive-in movie experience with my kids and they have been to both drive ins!
Notice it is still very light..we went early to make sure we got a good spot and to give the kids time to play on the playground before the movies started. $6 for adults!
The ever present playground sign..of course for good reason..this is an "old school" playground and the rides are pretty much a trip to the ER waiting to happen. How did we ever survive these death traps! LOL
It was pretty steamy at the start but balmy and gorgeous after the sun went down. The mosquitoes weren't even bad. There were flickering fire flies and insanely loud cicadas or 17 year locusts which I pictured at the bottom of this post. If you have never heard them , they sound like a cross between a cricket, shrieking bird and a bullfrog. I don't know how you manage to tune them out.. I guess it is sort of like looking through a screen don't see the screen unless you look and you don't hear them unless you listen! Every once and a while during the movie you would realize they were croaking/chirping/screaming and then you would cuss yourself and focus on the movie until you didn't notice them again!
Wheel of death..or how children learn about centrifical force. They quickly picked up the 2 styles of pushing..someone running on the outside and the more dangerous (not for the slow of foot) inner circle pushing! They went slow when there was a little kid on and swiftly started sending them to the other, slower "little kid" merry go round. There were a few spills and flings and pusher wipe outs but no broken bones.
More physics lessons..a lever, a fulcrum and a load. Ahh.. the teeter totters or see saws.. or as I call them..the catapult! I still recall both being launched from one of these and being at the top when the kid on the bottom bails off leaving you to crush your feet underneath it or jam your spine out the top of your head! The ones in the park at my hometown not only see-sawed, but spun around as an extra way to injure yourself!
My grandparents actually had one of these in their yard but it also had a fireman's pole on the side. We waxed it with waxed paper or dusted it with dirt for extra speed!
Surround sound..apparently smoking is still ok at the drive in!
Ahh..the concession stand.. The one in my hometown had the little kids fenced playground behind it complete with bumpy elephant slide. The playground in front of the screen was for the "big" kids.
This place has not been updated since the 60's and I LOVE it! I almost got misty in line!
The hot sandwich box...
*Insert Homer Simpson style drool here* I actually settled for nachos..and popcorn..and ice cream..
My grandson laying in the back of the minivan's hatch watching the movie. We had a front row spot and contrary to the sparse earlier photos, the drive in was pretty full by showtime! The rest of us had lawn chairs and my 8 yr old pretty much stayed on the playground most of the night. I tried to get him to sit with us and watch the movie but there were tears because his new friends were still on the playground so I caved in and let him run and create his own memories! If you have a drive-in close by make sure you get your kids or grandkids there to make some memories of THEIR own!
This nasty looking bug is one of the aforementioned locusts. These bad boys are about 2 inches long!
These are their husks or exoskeletons that they shed going from big bug to big winged bug. The husks stay attached to the tree until a good breeze or rain knocks them off. And on THAT cheery note..hoping you all are enjoying your summer as much as I am (or more) Until next time! Julia

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Back to the Farm

Most 4th of July's my family and I take our annual 18-20 hour drive back to my parent's farm in South Dakota. We have missed some years and there was much complaining with the kids because apparently, 4th of July is not the same unless spent with Grampa and Gramma and all the cousins. We pack our van with suitcases, road food (pure junk), coolers of drinks and lately, laptops, Ipods, DVD players and the like and take turns driving all night singing along to the radio and passing familiar landmarks... Titan's Stadium, The St. Louis Arch, that one gas station in St. Joseph that we always somehow end up at. This year we had to detour through Des Moines due to the flooding. We roll into the farm very frazzled and road weary and just so glad to both be there and out of the van!
This year we were greeted with a "snowstorm" of cottonwood fuzzies floating down from the big old cottonwoods that line my parents driveway. SD is always at least breezy and I always forget the noise that the cottonwoods make with their waxy, heart shaped leaves rustling in the wind. I always have to crush and sniff a leaf or 2 to bring back the smells of my childhood.
It was hugs all around to my parents and the sisters, BIL's and nieces and nephews that were already there and then we were straight into the shower and the girls were then out the door to my sister's house. She was having a party for us "girls" and we were to all wear hats and be prepared to sing karaoke..or else! I caterwauled a rousing rendition of B. Spears "Hit me Baby One More Time" thankyouverymuch.This is my mom in the middle (she is 70!) and all of us sisters. I am the 3rd from the left..I somehow always manage to pick the most unappealing pose possible for the camera..let's can I appear at my widest?! LOL are the "old girls"..
and these are the "young girls". The ones on the left and middle are my daughters Hope and Alexa and the other 3 are my nieces, Cory, Nicki, and Ali
PARADE DAY!! My hometown usually has a great parade. We watch on Main Street in front omy my brother and SIL's coffeeshop. These are former candy too old they are happy to watch the little cousins snatch up parade candy and maybe sneak a piece or 2. This is 2 of my nephews Damian and Bryce and my girl Hope. That is my dad holding up the wall of the coffeeshop. He is 74 and looking good! My brother David and SIL Carol make the BEST frozen coffees I have ever had... they beat Starbucks all to heck! ( Simply Charming in Redfield South Dakota)
A couple of the "little kids" in their 4th of July attire.. My grandson Hunter and grand niece Avery watching the parade. I realized I never took one pic of the parade..just all my family!
My niece Annika inspecting her candy. Her mom my sis Aron made all the little girls matching skirts!
Later in the day, cooling off at Gramma's looks a bit pitiful but they did have fun. The boys were running amok with the hose and squirtguns. It was HOT..the haze on this pic is where my lens fogged over when I stepped outside!
Later in the week..Hunter making cookies with his great gramma.
There is always the family fishing morning if weather permits. We fish for bullheads by my husband's Grandpa and Gramma's old farmplace. His cousin lives there now. We are strictly catch and release. I usually take pics, eat sunflower seeds and check the gravel road for heart shaped rocks. The kids get the poles and my husband is the hook baiter and fish remover.
Alexa caught the biggest fish..and also the littlest one! Hope deemed herself mosquito bait (she is..they love her) and chose to stay at the farm. Actually it was cool and breezy and I guess the mosquitos were still sleeping!
Our 8 yr old Jack was very excited. He thought every nibble was "the big one"!Final pic, the boys in front of a flag that is painted on the side of one of the businesses in town..Jack with an impromptu but fitting salute and Hunter always the copycat. Hope you had a great Independence day! More pics of the farm and whatnot will be coming later! Til next time! Julia