Sunday, December 29, 2013

The Movies! Ya Gotta Love 'Em

I love movies, I always have. It may be something I inherited. My parents loved movies. They loved watching a good movie on TV, but they really loved going out to the theater to see a movie. For them, going out to a movie was a great time. They were children of the depression and going to the movies was their high end entertainment. My Dad use to tell me about going to the movies when he was a kid. He grew up in Lynn, Massachusetts, as did I, and he said he had seven different theaters to choose from. He would go to the Saturday serials for a nickel, get to watch a couple of serials, a newsreel, cartoons and a movie. He told me about those days with great fondness.

By the time I got around to going to the flicks, there were only three theaters in Lynn. However, I started making my own Saturday memories. I remember walking up over the Highlands and down Rockaway Street to Joyce Street and around the corner onto Union Street. The Paramount Theater was there on the right, maybe a hundred yards down the street was the Warner and then further, where your mother didn't want you to venture, was the Capitol Theater.

Saturdays were great times back then. Thirty five cents would get you into seat to watch two movies, if you were lucky you got a couple of cartoons in between. Many times we would stop into the five and dime next to the Warner and grab a ten cent sleeve of pop corn. Many other times Mom would have us pop our own corn and save the dime. It was rare that we ever bought anything at the concession stand inside the theater. Once in a while, if you were able to save some of your allowance, you got a box of Good 'n Plenty. Then into your seat, the lights would go down and you were all set for three or four hours.

I read on a friend's blog about his memory of going to the movies. He recalled how he and the other kids would cheer or boo for the action up on the screen. I guess I had forgotten that we use to make a little noise ourselves. I do remember cheering loudly when the film you had been waiting for started to light up the screen. I almost got tossed by an overzealous usher one time because he thought I was little more animated than he thought I should be. That, with a hundred other kids screaming and yelling. Go figure.

These days I don't go to the movies anywhere near the amount I did as a kid. The big factor is the cost. Now we're talking ten bucks to see just one flick. Years ago, they stopped letting you bring your own pop corn into a theater. If you want to chomp on the kernnels, you have to buy from them. Some places seem to have a full menu at the concession stand. I feel kinda weird sitting down with a soda, a burger and a plate of nachos at a movie theater.

The prices at the concession are gonna break you, too! Seven bucks for a bag of corn no bigger than the sleeve I paid ten cents for. Yeah, ok, we're talking maybe fifty years have gone by. But still!

Anyway, I just went to a flick recently. I had a gift card I had gotten, so no cash had to come out of my wallet. I started waiting in line to get a bag of highly inflated pop corn, then thought better of it remembering my youth. So, went straight to my seat in one of these narrow auditoriums they call theaters. I sat there waiting through more commercials than I would suffer if I were home. Had to listen to them instruct me to turn off my phone. Come on, really? Then the lights went down and the show began. I had that kid feeling again. It was a good flick. And, when the end credits rolled, there were a few people applauding. Yeah, I joined them.

Monday, December 2, 2013

Let's Have a Happy December

And, so it is December. It means the tenth month even though it is the twelth. It is known as the most festive month, however, it does lead us into winter. I actually like December. The lights are going up, people are decorating the house, the tree and the music starts playing on just about every station. Of course, the shopping frenzy has already started, I'm one of those who like to go out in the thick of it. At least once or twice during the season, I like to go out into the mall and mix it up with crowds. I like bumping elbows within the throng and I try not to get too stressed. I don't like to see others stressing out, either. So, in a Dickens way I try to be of good cheer, wishing people Happy Holidays.

I like saying Happy Holidays! I like it for a few reasons. I have friends of different faiths and friends of no faith, saying Merry Christmas to them seems a bit awkward. Also, Happy Holidays sounds a bit more cheerful to me, you know, like happy! And, it seems to cover all the bases, its more encompassing. I can start saying it the week before Thanksgiving and I can keep on saying it right through the first of the year. I like it because it's been around awhile, too. I remember people saying Happy Holidays back when I was a kid. And, they all seemed to mean it, too. Why, they even made it into a song, a nice one.

Lately, there's been a lot of people claiming we shouldn't be saying Happy Holidays. They're saying we should only be saying Merry Christmas. That seems a little odd to me. There is more than the one holiday and Merry Christmas is great, I say it myself, but, hell, what if you don't know whether someone celebrates that one holiday. Well, Happy Holidays has you covered.

People arguing over a salutation like Merry Christmas or Happy Holidays seems a little petty to me. Especially at this time of year. That good will towards man thing should be the important part of the season. Why do people want to harp on a harmless greeting. There are a few out there that say that this is all part of a war on Christmas. A war on Christmas? Seriously? Have they seen the parking lots at the malls? This country embraces Christmas, lock, stock and Santa Clause! Commercialized? Yeah, of course it is. It has been since the beginning. The birth of Christ? That has been a marketing thing since day one. They didn't know when it was, so they stuck it into December which already had some festivals and they have been selling it ever since.

It caught on though. And, people have been shaping it and repackaging it through the years. It can be a very religious holy day to many and that is fine. If that is how you keep it, cherish it. But, it can also be a party to bring friends and family together. And, that's fine, too. However, there are other celebrations going on as well, there are those who are lighting they're menorahs, some are celebrating the Solstice, hell these days there's even people putting aluminum poles up and performing feats of strength. And, why not? It makes them happy and theree's nothing wrong with having Happy Holidays!