Wednesday, April 20, 2016

Of drive-ins and refineries...

A good week

    ROOFTOP -- This evening is a perfect drive-in night. It’s cool, no mosquitoes and little breeze. The only thing missing is a drive-in theatre. D’oh! There’s always something.

    Most of my drive-in experiences were with family. If I recall, I only took one girl to the drive-in, and that was Kay. It was our second date, and we saw “Gone with the Wind” at the Pasadena Drive-In. In Pasadena we had three drive-ins from which to choose. The Red Bluff, Gulfway and The Pasadena Drive-in. 

    They’re all gone now. The last to be demolished was the Red Bluff. It lasted longer because it started showing X-rated movies. I never took Kay to the Red Bluff during that era. It was a travesty to the common decency of mankind. There was a massive beam of light from screen-left, and it was aimed at the traffic on Red Bluff Road. However, there was a narrow gap in the blaring light that provided a narrow window of opportunity for a slow-passerby to witness what was going on. That’s how I learned about the travesty. 

    Many still miss the days of the drive-in theatre. I miss them the way I miss the days of no air conditioning and acne. Yes, take me back to the time of caked-on Clearasil and attic fans that sucked in the air from refineries along the Ship Channel. The refineries just north of our house released some bad stuff at night. One morning we woke up with green walls. (I kid you not.) Fortunately, Mom was able to wipe it all off. I’d like to say we kids helped her. I’d sure like to be able to say that.

    Unfortunately, there’s still pollution today, but… Uh, I’m sorry. I can’t come up with a good “but” to attach to the statement. I’ll just leave it the hope one shows itself. Fortunately, I’m in no mood to take this article to the morose. -- Morose? That’s my word for the week. Last week’s was “cusp.”

Before you joined me, I was thinking about how good things are going for me. For one thing, the oil in Kay’s car has been changed. And -- get this -- oil changer kid didn’t come to the waiting room to show me a dirty filter that needed replacing. – “Sir, this is your cabin filter or engine air filter or power brake filter… Cars are so much better today because they’re filtered. A guy from the Czech Republic even invented filters for filters. He now owns Prague. (Yes. Pulled it right out of the air.)

The guy waiting with me in the oil change waiting room needed a filter changed. It was a long one, too. The oil-changer kid came in the door and said, “Mr. Smi—“ Smith didn’t let him finish. He didn’t even look up. He said, “Go ahead and change it. There’s always a filter needing changed, and I always tell you to change it.” I think it’s the Smiths of this world who make it hard for the rest of us to trust oil changers.

    Along with my oil change, I got $10 off a car wash. When you get the oil changed and your car washed, it’s time for the dance of joy. Add to that the fact that after yesterday’s inspection by our air conditioner man, we got a gold star, and you’ll find me near giddy… which is eleven miles north of Jasper. (I’m having an attack of lunacy. Should go away any minute.)

I don’t mean to convey the wrong message, but I love our air conditioner man. I am pretty much at the mercy of anyone who services things with moving parts. I call it “too dumb to know.” Steven Wallace knew from the moment of his first service call to my house that I’m dumb as dirt when it comes to air conditioners and most things that have moving parts. Yet, when I ask my mirror on the wall “Who is the fairest of them all?” I hear, “It’s Kay, but your air conditioner man is a close second.”

Several other happenings have made this past week a really good one for the Hayters, Kay and I bought a new lawnmower. In last week’s article we were just thinking about it, but since then it’s happened. The mower is an orange self-propelled mower. It’s made in the U.S. by a company out of Sweden called Husqvarna. It’s hard to pronouce because the Swedes have no “U” after their “Qs”. Apparently.

My Huskavarvicyah has a Honda engine. Every male I talk too seems to get turned on when I mention the word “Honda” in reference to a small engines. I get a good feeling, I’m just not impassioned. I’m fairly sure I lack just a tad of macho.

The greatest thing about the mower is the fact that it starts with only a partial tug on the cord. Kay can start it easily. And – I’m not joking here – Kay has discovered that she enjoys mowing the lawn. Things are going so well for me that I feel guilty.

Whoa, I seem to have run out of time and space. Everyone climb down quickly. Some of you can still make it to the second feature at the drive-in, but only if you can find one near your house. Don’t expect Kay and me to double date with you, though. Kay didn’t even enjoy the drive-in experience we had on our second date. Couldn’t have been too bad, ‘cause she did agree to a third date. – Next time.   end

The Red Bluff Drive-in during days of decline

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