This space is dedicated, mostly, to the things of Nature…with an occasional foray into the realm of the creatures with whom I share my life. But this post will be different.

Ever since I was a kid, I’ve had a fascination with drive-in movie theaters (you’d never think to call a movie a film in that place.) As much a necessity for a cash-strapped household as they were a form of entertainment, they were still an event. I remember the bags of White Castle burgers that served as dinner on those nights out; the kiddie rides (including a small-scale Ferris wheel) just under the screen that kept us eager and occupied; the gathering dusk…the anticipation of the movie…the in-window speakers, the banked driving pads, the heaters that could go in the window during cooler weather…the clouds of mosquito fog that the place would pump out just before film time…the neon lights of the concession stand, as strange as an alien landing craft in the darkness.

Those days—and, I feared—the phenomenon of drive-in movies were long past…until I discovered an abandoned theater on my drive down to the house. Its screen was primitive, its projection booth tiny, its car pads grassy; a lot different from the theater on Route 41 that I remembered. But it filled me with a joy and wonder that blinded my eyes to the road ahead. A real drive-in movie. Haunted by the good-natured ghosts of film adventures past.

And then, this past Friday, a discovery that bordered on the miraculous. I’d left for the house later than usual, a result of the demands of the office and a missing cat (another story for another post). By the time I got to that stretch of the drive, I was almost 2 hours later than I normally was at that stage. But oh…. In that grassy lot—cars! A lot of them. People sitting on the hoods of their cars in happy anticipation of the movie to come. Kids playing in the sheer joy of being outside. And me, there in spirit, full of memories and happiness for the ghost that lived.

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