When they re-opened the Big-Vu drive-in movie theater, by the turn-off to the organic farm, people of all ages lined up in their automobiles to gain entry, park their vehicles in tidy rows in front of a massive screen, open the driver’s side window to allow placement of a speaker, and fetch popcorn and pop at the Snack Shack located in the centre of the lot.
The movie was Rocky II, which no one really enjoyed. The enjoyment was in sharing the novelty with neighbours and friends, and strangers too. Parents brought their kids already dressed in flannel pyjamas, ready to tuck into bed when they got home. Young couples snuggled and hugged and did what they dared. Jerry Plankton and his date, Dorito Samuelson, kept their seat belts on as they watched the film, happy to be able to discuss its merits and flaws in a normal, conversational tone without upsetting other movie-goers.
When the weather changed and the wind came up, and there was a smattering of rain and sleet, many patrons started up their cars again, and idled them as they felt the heat from the vents chase away the chill.
If you rushed to the Snack Shack to use the washroom, you could smell the exhaust fumes in the air. There was a line-up at the Snack Shack toilet, and no shelter from the rain, so Dorito Samuelson got wet. When she got back to Jerry’s Chrysler, she asked him to put the heat on, but gas was expensive, so he gave her a blanket.
Dorito Samuelson died that spring, of pneumonia. She was survived by her son Drago (Barbara) and two grandchildren, and would be missed by the Bridge and Optimist Clubs. There was no way to connect her death with the drive-in movie, but Jerry Plankton did anyway, and he regretted not turning on the car heater that night.
He wasn’t sorry when the Big-Vu drive-in theater closed again, after only eight weeks. Its time had come and gone, just like Dorito Samuelson’s.