My “Live List” was born over three years ago just before my hip replacement surgery. I never really focused on fulfilling each item because I was so wrapped up in the recovery of my hip replacement surgery and then my hysterectomy procedure about a year ago.
One of the #1 items on the list was “Go to a Drive-In Theatre.”
I’m not sure why I had such a fascination with the drive-in theatre. I think it had to do with being and feeling so tiny in a wide open chunkof land with cars of families or couples huddled together in closeness underneath the unending and unexplainable universe. I imagined the big screen hanging right above me and, yet, right beneaththe starry skies. In my mind, I saw pick-up trucks, tiny children with ping pong-sized glimmering eyes of excitement, and cozy and close-knit couples while the movie images ran through. Was what I imagined in my mind about to become a reality when I actually went to a drive-in theatre?
Well, I found out this weekend when I finally made it to the drive-in theatre—all thanks to a college friend who I have now known for over ten years. The sun-filled day that swept heat and hot on my friend, her family, and me did not deter us from a day of simple pleasures that started with cheering on the colorful dragon boats racing in the shores of the Hudson River under the bright and blinding sun and ended underneath a velveteen sky at the drive-in theatre.
In between the start and the finish that both involved the skies above us, we went back in time to discover old contraptions of phone booths and apple, gum, and weight scale dispensers. My eyes widened in sheer curiosity and joy as I clamored in shock, “Really? There were machines that dispensed applesback then?”
My friend said to me,“Well, there were milk machines that dispensed milk back in my day.”
“Really? That is so cool! ” I exclaimed.
Don’t ask me why these oldies, yet goodies, get me so hyped up with such exuberance!
Sometime during my friend driving, she expressed to me that she had thought about going to a difference college than the one we had went to. Without thinking, I said, “But, if you had gone to a different college or if both of us had done that then we never would have met and we probably wouldn’t be here right now.”
“That’s very true,”she confirmed.
My friend and I chatted and caught up as Mother Nature bragged all her glories of gardens of red and yellow flowers, perfectly peaceful ponds, and fluttering butterflies flittingaround us. We had dinner at a 1950’s diner where there was an old jukebox and massive coffee cup replica to greet us. About an hour before the drive-in theatre, my friend, her family, and I packed cold beer, plastic cups, ice cubes, and potato chips. I had made a whole container of homemade popcorn using ghee, sunflower seed oil, and generous sprinkles of pink sea salt and parmesan cheese.
“I’m getting giddy!”I shrieked as my friend drove into the drive-in theatre for us to park and find a spot.
The oranges, yellows,and reds of the sun began to fade into the horizon by a velvet blue black sky. My surroundings darkened with only the dotted stars twinkling and the massive movie screen with yellowed and plump Minions prancing around. In the stillness and silence of the darkness, I was filled with such living lights and wonder at the wide-eyed innocence of children tuckered in the open trunks of their parents’ cars as they stared at the screen with hands plunged into papery bags of crunchy popcorn, the sounds of giggles and laughter all around me, loved ones cozy andclose together in their cars or on lawn chairs to the gentle and cool intoxicating breeze, and land so vast and endless as the starry skies above us. There is nothing so beautiful to live in thelove that is all around in these simple pleasures from people who love each other the most.
My drive-in theatre experience had exceeded any images I ever conjured up in my mind. But, this was NOT really just about a drive-in theatre. This was about the little things that mean the most with people we love. This was and, essentially, is about all the simple pleasures that had occurred and was felt within the very depths of me both on the night before the drive-in theatre experience with another round of my dear friends where we slurped up Ramen noodles and cooled down with Italian ices out on the sidewalks in the crisp summer air to everything that happened with my friend and her family in the entire dayand the time I spent with them.
All these simple pleasures went beyond the scope of my “Live List.” A list is only a guide, but it is up to me to livewhat I make happen with the added joys of WHO I am with. If my friend and I had not gone to the same college, we never would have met and lived and experienced everything with dragon boat races to the drive-in theater. Same thing with my other round of friends that I chattered the night away with on the sidewalks while eating Italian ices; I met them through our connection of kidneys. If I had never had kidney bean issues, my paths would have never crossed with them to having amost magical summer night memory.
So, what is living? At this point in my life, living is being inthe simple pleasures that are fleeting, flying, and forever taken forgranted. At this point in my life, living is freeing myself of complications, chaos, and drama of toxic people who hold me back. At this point in my life, living is the stillness and sweetnessof the serene. What is ‘living’ to you? Who is in your circle of making living a true reality?
When I look at my live list now and am more determined than ever to make each item a reality, I find that I end up tilting my head to look up to the limitless skies with two deep cravings:
What are your simple pleasures? Have you ever thought about the people in your life and how your lives came to intertwine? How would your life be with or without this person, and how would this have affected you living?
Keep smilin’ until wemeet again,