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The Drive-In

What we did as kids!

The Drive In

By Tony Radford

Some friends and I were driving by when we passed the old marquee
and it spelled outright that the show that night was a flick we’d planned to see.

It was ’69 and the storyline – starring Fonda, Jack and Hopper,
was a tale of blues and a Cajun cruise on a patriotic-chopper.

Our plans were set – that night we met at our normal rendezvous,
then we climbed aboard my souped-up Ford to catch the grand debut.

We pooled our cash, but the total stash wasn’t quite enough for three,
the only way we could make the play was if two could get in free.

There was one technique that was not unique – it had worked for prior shows,
we’d plot our course via Trojan Horse and sneak right past their nose.

Amongst us three, it was Donny Lee who would have to take the wheel,
‘cause us two guys were half his size – much easier to conceal.

So we moved some junk in the tiny trunk and unsecured the spare,
then we jumped inside for a two-mile ride – just to save a double-fare.

I must confess – I second-guessed that I’d given up my key
to a real nice guy who was judgment-shy – with an IQ less than three.

When we hit the street, I could feel the heat from the headers down below,
we were both consumed by the noxious fumes with no place else to go.

To make things worse, a tricked-out Hearse had felt compelled to race,
and Donnie Lee would cut her free – no room for second place.

He hit the gas as they tried to pass, so the spare was forced to move,
and it pushed my face to a nasty place where the liner formed a groove.

My nose was stuck in a blob of muck that I hoped was simply grease,
my only prayer – “please get us there, so the pain will finally cease!”

I could see out back through an open crack where a tail-light used to be,
and it hurt to learn we’d missed our turn - I could kill that Donnie Lee!

It was pretty late when we reached the gate – we were feeling close to death,
there was no more care for saving fare – just a chance to take a breath.

He told his lie to the ticket-guy – that he came there all alone
and the screams in back were an old eight-track – a song from the Rolling Stones.

He had to squelch our cries for help – our pain was quite severe,
so he cranked the Stones on the speaker cones that were right beside my ear.

Our drums just rang as Jagger sang, while the base notes racked our brains,
the thousand watts left our bowels in knots and our skivvies – slightly stained.

The violent bumps from the asphalt humps that he hit at forty-five,
left us unamused and severely bruised – we were barely still alive.

He found a spot in the parking lot, out back – on the furthest row,
then he popped the lock on our torture box – thank God, we were free to go!

We were now inside, though we’d almost died – being oxygen-depraved,
we were in the pink for some food and drink with the buck or two we saved.

With cash in hand – the concession stand was the stop I planned to make,
‘cause in that day – it was sufficient pay for a burger and a shake.

Beneath the stars were rows of cars all parked on little mounds,
and on each door – a box and cord that carried crappy sounds.

The big event where kids were sent – where lovers came to meet,
where clothes were tossed and virtues lost – on a stretch vinyl-seat.

There’s just no way that kids today could know the fun they missed,
the days when teens and giant screens could come to coexist.

The place to meet where food was cheap – where the lights were always low,
where Dolby sound was never found and rain could ruin the show.

The things we did as crazy kids – was the summer of ’69,
just Keith and me – and Donnie Lee – was a truly special time.

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