Review: Can-View Drive-In, Summer’s Sweet Spot

June 15, 2017

“Life moves pretty fast. If you don’t stop and look around once in awhile you could miss it.”

Ferris Bueller

Review: Can-View Drive-In

Left Field Lark Rating: 5 Pickled Eggs (out of a possible 5 pickled eggs)

At some point Tuesday afternoon while I lounged in the patio shade, my wife Caroline turned on the garden nose hung near me at the side of our stucco home. The squeaking sound of her turning on the water was followed by that unmistakable smell of cold water coming from a plastic garden hose on a lazy summer day. Immediately I wanted to, first, take a big sloppy drink from it, and second, go to the Drive-In.

Just over the Allanburg Bridge on your way to Fonthill, tucked off Rural Road 20, lay the Can-View Drive-In. Turn left at the big triangular yellow sign that in the winter says, “Closed for the season, reason, it’s freezin’.” Then meander along a back road lined with lush, ambling, wilderness, until the road bends to the entry gates that are lit up, flickering against the darkening light, movie titles (some abbreviated) hung in sliding black letters held against back-lit yellow plastic. On this particular evening the booth signs displayed the likes of: Pirates, Guardians, Wonder Woman, Baywatch.

Pulling up to the open booth window we were advised that since it was Tuesday it would only be $12 to get in to see our movies. Twelve bucks. The young woman in the booth wore the Drive-in’s official uniform: a psychedelic tie-die t-shirt and jeans. She had eyes of miles and miles of open road and blue skies, slightly sun burnt skin and fantastically half messy strawberry blonde hair.  Handing me back change for my twenty she professionally advised that we can hear the movie audio on 95.7 FM and urged us to enjoy the show.

I parked in a spot of my wife’s choosing (I do not appear to be getting any closer to being capable of such decisions) and with still plenty of light rummaging around we headed off to grab some popcorn.

The Drive-In Snack Bar is from a distant era (past or future) where orange was/will be quite popular. And it’s great. There’s Handwritten prices on the sample popcorn bags and, new to the Drive-In this year, “Pickled Eggs 75-cents.” My wife got a small popcorn with extra butter, “And could you please put some butter in the middle?” I got a large popcorn, extra butter as well, “I’ll do the butter in the middle thing too please.”

A last second decision by Caroline had our drinks and popcorn accompanied by her Drive-in weakness: Peanut MandM’s.

Buoyantly happy we strolled back to the car over the uneven dirt and grass terrain quietly surveying the collecting cars and people. There were mini vans, more mini vans, SUV’s, a BMW and everything in between (and more mini vans). There was a shirtless man with a dog, an Indian family covering each other in bug spray, two young girls with pony tales and track pants, a well dressed couple in the back of their SUV arranging blankets and pillows, and an older woman in a convertible with gold rimmed glasses, like Elvis.

can view 2

Finally back in our car we arranged ourselves accordingly. Caroline struggled to adjust her seat, I struggled with Caroline’s struggles with her seat. She noticed but simply laughed. A cool breeze eased through the car carrying the promise of the night’s complete mastery of the day as well as the scent of weed and more bug spray.

By now the sun was in its’ final death throes, almost fully sunk behind the massive white movie screen, managing to gild the underbrush and crown the peak of the bushes in gold on its’ way down. Beyond the screen, on the overpass in the distance, two massive double decker trucks transporting new cars slid by as half charcoal, half silver, silhouettes and then suddenly the screen came to life, painted with a vintage ad, “Visit Our Refreshment Center,” in large letters, and beneath that, in smaller letters, “During the Intermission… or any time.”

We needed more napkins so I unhurriedly headed back to the Snack Bar cupped by the cool night air. The surface of the quiet around me rippled as people laughed with each other: Honest laughter, trying too hard laughter, laughter laughter. The roofs of all the cars seemed to all now be covered in a thin film of dew. At the snack bar I grabbed the napkins and once again elected to not get a pickled egg.

Returning to my car again I found my wife wrapped in her blanket, brown eyes at ease, her beauty humming along. It simply was one of those summer nights. One of those gorgeously meandering evenings where world shines up everything and everybody so that each moment is completely riveting.

A few late arriving cars navigated there way through the field, headlights bobbing, lighting up the long grass around the white poles. And then everything was still.

“Silence

and a deeper silence

when the crickets

hesitate.”

Leonard Cohen

The movie began. Caroline’s choice: Wonder Woman.

Beams of light stretched from the projector through the dark and danced on the screen. Somebody ahead of us had their foot on the brake but thankfully appeared to realize their mistake quickly as the red brake lights faded almost as quickly as they had come to life. The film itself seemed to convincingly suggest that all human evolution had been designed to crescendo with the lovely Gal Gadot’s loose limbed beauty alighting a giant metal screen sitting within and beneath a dark canopy of twinkling stars.

I can second that motion.

The movie continued. Mosquitoes bounced on the breeze in front of the windshield. Thirty minutes in to the movie the brake lights guy left. Later the breeze again delivered the sweet pungency of marijuana. The windshield got progressively more fogged up as the night’s cool licked the world around us. But I didn’t care.

When the world slows down, when you are in summer’s sweet spot, you don’t quibble about such things, you simply savour the moment.

Thank you Can-View.