Friday, February 6, 2009
If some doo-wop music is played, I don't care if it is Freddy Fender's back up sound tracks. Time turns around and fades back on me. Back to a drive-in and when cars all had that faint smell of hot engine oil.
It was a drive-up greasy spoon with a basic menu, all of it fried. It was important to be seen there at some point on a Saturday night, early or late, or both. Its funny how the courting ritual can become associated with the smell of fried foods.
Fights started there. Peel-outs and grudge matches too. True love kindled and blazed in the cars parked there. And sadly could end the very next Saturday. There was crying, shouting, laughing, and radio sing-alongs all going on at the same time. The cacophony was delicious.
There were cars with just girls in them, and cars with just boys in them. Circling each other, pleading and shouting was going on. Which more often than not resulted in the girls hitting the exit and speeding off down the main road. With the boys not far behind, who harassed them at the very next stop light.
That was Saturday night. Sum and total. For years it was enough to see and be seen. Working a Saturday afternoon away tuning-up and cleaning up the heap to sit in the drive-in and for the most part, watch. Sounds dull, but every minute we thought something was just about to happen. And then, it was time to roll on home.
It would be late, the drive-in owner would be cutting the lights and running off the hangers-on. The dew had fallen and I could smell the wet grass and asphalt. Riding home would be a story of its own. Like an old hound dog with his head out a car side window, I could "taste" my way home as the cold and dew heightened the smell of the countryside. I could taste the farm fields, the feed store and the creek as I click-clacked over its bridge.
Amazing how all that forces its way back on the wings of an old song. I can even see the bugs gathering at night around the drive-in's outdoor lighting strips and bulbs. In a rural community those lights could be seen from a long way off and was one of the few promises of excitement for anybody looking for some. The music pouring out of our car radios also hinted at excitement, but in the end, we just went home.