Dad and I went to the movies every Friday night. Mom worked nights, my sister was mostly busy with friends. It wasn’t that I didn’t have friends. But, Friday was movie night. With Dad.
We’d grab a burger at the Taxi Cab Café or Harbor lanes, or a steak at T-Bones. Dad knew everyone. He’d gossip about his sales route for Challenge Dairy. Tell a slightly off-color joke. At 6’4”, with a voice that boomed and bounced off walls, Dad was larger than life.
He was my hero.
We’d stop at Partricks and he’d get a pound of milk chocolate creams. Vanilla, mint, maplenut, and chocolate centers only. He’d talk with the owner. Partricks is catty-corner from the Eureka Theater. Usually we stopped to talk with four or five people between the candy store and the theater.
The Eureka Theater was the only theater in town in those days. Not one of these modern Cineplex’s where you watch a small screen and, during silent moments, can hear the booming of sound from the screening beside yours. No, The Eureka Theater was plush. Velvet curtains, gilded pillars, make-out balcony plush.
We always saw Westerns and, I know it cannot be so, but it seemed The Duke had a new movie every month in those days. Dad and I liked Clint Walker, too. And James Garner. Even the rat pack of Sinatra, Dean, and Davis made westerns back then. The women had tiny waists and Barbie boobs and were feisty.
On a rainy day a few weeks ago I walked into the living room to find my husband watching McClintock on the TCM. The scene where The Duke chases Maureen O’Hara around town so he can turn her over his knee and show her who’s boss.
I was right back in that dark theater next to Dad, sick to my stomach from too many chocolates, Dad’s booming laugh echoing off the gilded walls and rising into the balcony. Sitting next to my husband these forty-five years after first watching old Duke chase the fiery redhead into a horse trough, her eyelet petticoats flying, I was amused and a little horrified at female role model on my flat screen TV screen.
Still, given a chance, I’d go right back there again for one more evening with Dad, sitting in that dark theater, hoping I didn’t miss a minute of the movie because I had to run to the bathroom and throw-up all that lovely chocolate.
This post is part of the A to Z blog challenge.