Posted tagged ‘movies on the deck’

“How often have the greatest thoughts and ideas come to light during conversations with the family over the evening dinner?”

April 2, 2017

The sunlight is wonderfully bright. The sky is a dark blue. It is warmer than it has been so it feels warm to me. When I helped Gracie into the yard, I stayed outside for a bit basking in the sun. She ran around the yard the way she used to when she was younger then bounded up the stairs into the house. She deserved her treat!

When I went to bed last night, it was close to 2 AM. I was watching television, going through those pesky catalogs and checking out recipes on Pinterest. I woke up this morning at 10:45. My mother would have called that the sleep of the dead.

I never used to need lists. My memory was enough. Now I need list after list. Alexa keeps my grocery list and stickies hold the rest. There is a great deal of satisfaction in crossing off completed tasks despite how mundane some of them are. I have to sweep the kitchen today. That’s an easy one to complete. One down!

Despite the season or maybe because of it, a few movies on the deck films have already arrived. Most are 50’s black and white B movies with aliens or gigantic creatures or both; also, I have ordered a few of my favorites like Gunga Din and Rear Window. Spring needs to step up so summer won’t seem so far away.

If I were to choose a favorite day of the week, I’d choose Sunday. I wasn’t keen on going to mass when I was young so I consider that the only blight on the day. Most Sundays when I was a kid were quiet. I’d read the Sunday funnies. After the Sunday matinee movies started on TV, we’d watch those in the afternoon. I remember watching Lassie, Come Home. We were all at Sunday dinner in those days, jammed into the small kitchen. On the cold days, the windows there got steamy. I remember my mother used Melmac plates and bowls. For some strange reason, I have a visual memory of a bowl heaped with mashed potatoes. Sunday night meant earlier to bed because of school, but I never really complained. I was usually tired.

Even now, Sunday is different than the rest of the week. I have two papers to read, and I like to take my time. Sometimes I make eggs, bacon, and toast for breakfast. I usually have dinner though I often buy it rather than make it. More than not I have mashed potatoes.

I figure more than any other day, Sunday holds the most family memories.

“It was June, and the world smelled of roses. The sunshine was like powdered gold over the grassy hillside.”

June 29, 2014

The day is breathtakingly beautiful. My day lilies in the front garden have started to bloom with orange flowers tilted to the sun. The deck pots are awash with flowers, and the vegetables seem to double in height each day. Birds are plentiful at the sunflower feeders, and the grape jelly needs to be refilled. It seems the orioles have found their feeders. On the deck this morning were two grey spawns, two huge grey spawns, chasing one another. I watched them jump from chair to chair then jump off the deck to scurry up trees one after the other. I think love is in the air.

My neighbors at the other end of the street had company last night. Their voices carried through the chilly night air. I felt like an eavesdropper so I shut my windows, but those voices brought back a flood of memories of summer nights when I was a kid. All the neighborhood back doors faced each other from houses at the top and bottom of a tall grassy hill. I’d lie in bed on a summer night trying to fall asleep in the heat, and I could hear the neighbors. The closest neighbors had distinct voices, whole conversations, while those from up the hill seemed more like whispers. I’d hear the clink of dishes and silverware being washed. The houses were duplexes, and their floor plans were all the same. The sinks had windows above them and they all faced the hill. Soon enough, though, as the night got older, the sounds from the kitchens faded.

One of my bedroom windows faced the living room of the duplex beside ours where my Aunt Ruby, Uncle Billy and Cousin Susan lived for a while. I used to listen to their TV. Most nights it was the last sound I’d hear before I fell asleep.

My street is busy this week. The house beside me, the rental, has people. The other usually empty houses, all second homes, have owners down for the weekend or even the week with July 4th coming Friday. Mornings and evenings are noisier than I am used to, but I’ll adjust. Besides, I’ll be making my own noises soon enough when Saturday night movies on the deck begin. I can hardly wait for the premier.

“In summer, the song sings itself.”

June 21, 2014

Some words are magical not because they possess any special powers but because they conjure all the best memories and bring hope for more. Summer is one of these words, and the mere mentioning of it fills my head with remembrances. We visited my father’s aunt once and swam in her pond. It had leeches, and when we got out of the water, they were on our arms and legs. My mother freaked. My brother and I just pulled a few off each other. I can still see in my mind’s eye the pond, the overturned derelict white rowboat with flowers all around it, the Adirondack chair where my mother was sitting when she saw us and the black leeches on my arms. I think I was around five or six, the age of curiosity, not fear. On one New Hampshire vacation, there was a small waterfall by our cottage. My brother and I sat at the top, and I remember how funny the moving water felt under my legs. Playing softball in the heat of the afternoon made me sweaty and dirty, badges of honor. Sleeping outside at night was glorious. Every night there were a million stars. The drive-in meant pajamas, home-popped corn, bug juice and never seeing the end of a movie. The streetlights stopped mattering. Meals were haphazard, no special time. Sunday dinners went on hiatus. Shorts and shirts and sneakers were the clothes of every day.

Even my adult summer memories are filled with laughter and fun. Saturday night movies on the deck always mean popcorn, malted milks balls and nonpareils. Sitting around the table having a few drinks and playing Sorry is a summer tradition. One memory is among my favorites. At the end of my street, there are bushes not in gardens but along the side of the road, and they  make seeing cars and getting safely out of the street difficult. I remember sneaking up to the bushes one night and trimming them. We skulked like commandos. Why no one heard us laughing is still a mystery. We stay outside late on the deck. All around us are quiet houses with their lights out. We always feel bad for them missing all the fun of a summer evening.

Today is the first day of summer, and it makes me want to giggle. Summer does that to me!

“Books and movies, they are not mere entertainment. They sustain me and help me cope with my real life.”

May 26, 2013

The house was winter cold this morning. I actually turned on the heat to warm it up. 61˚ is just too uncomfortable, and I refuse to dress in layers inside the house. My cousin in New Hampshire had snow. The weather has gone topsy-turvy. My sister in Colorado had her air conditioning blowing at full force. Hope, however, springs eternal. If the weatherman is right, tomorrow will be 68˚.

Turner Classic Movies has been my go to channel all weekend. World War II has been the subject of most of the films. Yesterday seemed to be submarine day. Today I get to go back to Bataan, and I just watched John Wayne, the captain of a German freighter, being chased by a British destroyer at the start of the war. Yup, John Wayne was a German, but a good German.

I do need to go out today and I fear the roads. It may not be raining but it is cloudy and damp. I suspect people will be looking for something to do, and they need to ride up and down the main roads to find it.

It’s time to decide my theme for summer movies. Last year it was movies made in Boston. This year I’d go with B science fiction, but I don’t think those movies would get a warm welcome from some members of my audience. July 4th is, of course, reserved for Jaws and Independence Day. I am not a fan of musicals so they’re out except for West Side Story. I’ve always liked that one. Westerns are also not among my favorites though She Wore a Yellow Ribbon is one I could watch, and there’s always Blazing Saddles which makes me think of a Mel Brooks medley of movies. Young Frankenstein always makes me laugh as does The Producers. I’m thinking to put them on the marquee. I love old movies, black and white movies, but they don’t have the best sound for the projector, too low for a couple of people.

For the first film of the season, whatever it is, we’ll have the red carpet and dinner, a deck dinner from the grill. I’ll put out my movie signs and get the popcorn ready. All I need is summer.


“Gentlemen, you can’t fight in here! This is the War Room!”

July 7, 2012

Here I am still behind shut windows and closed doors in the coolness of my house. Last night my feet were cold, and I used the afghan. It was wonderful feeling chilly.

I have a few errands today which is fine as I never left the house yesterday except to water the back garden and the deck flowers. It would be far too easy to become a hermit.

Yesterday I watched The Lost Skeleton of Cadavra and laughed out loud too many times to count. The movie is a spoof of 1950’s B-movies. The skeleton, lying on the ground, talked and commanded humans as well as Kro-Bar and Laddis, the two aliens, to do its bidding. The strings on the skeleton’s moving arms were obvious. The Mutant with one eye wore shoes easily seen as he walked. His costume was too cheesy to describe. The actors were perfect saying the awful dialogue with perfectly straight faces, “Well again I didn’t mean to throw a damper. Believe me that’s the last thing I’d like to throw. I don’t want to throw anything at all really. But when folks are horribly mutilated, I feel it’s my job to tell others. We take our horrible mutilations seriously up in these parts,” was the warning from Ranger Brad. Dr. Paul Armstrong, the Earth hero, told Kro-Bar, “From now on, I’ll stick to science, and leave the hunting alien mutants to the experts!” I warn you, though, unless you love B-movies, you’ll hate this spoof. As soon as it was over, I went to Amazon and bought a copy.

Tomorrow will be our first movie on the deck night. We’ll play a game or two while we munch appetizers including a new one with melted cheese. I love trying out new dishes and having my friends over is the perfect time. They never mind being Guinea pigs. Then we’ll have the main course: different flavors of grilled sausages with peppers and onions on fresh rolls and a pasta salad on the side. I’m showing Ferris Bueller’s Day Off as neither of my friends have ever seen it. During the movie I’ll bring out the popcorn, the Nonpareils and the malted milk balls. Maybe I’ll buy some JuJus just to throw. It’ll be like the old days!

“Smell is a potent wizard that transports you across thousands of miles and all the years you have lived.”

July 25, 2011

Today feels as if I’m living in a new world. It is cool and pleasant with no humidity. Last night I didn’t even need the air-conditioner in my bedroom. The next few days will be the same. I’m thinking I’ll be living on the deck for a while, and I suspect tonight’s outside shower might be just a bit chilly.

We had our movie on the deck last night instead of Saturday. Continuing with our Boston film festival, it was The Departed. What was fun, and I’m not referring in any way to that movie, was recognizing scenes from our Boston movie tour last fall. The best one was where Matt Damon, after a rugby match, was sitting on a bench in the Common looking at the state house. In real life, a statue would have been in the way. That’s movie magic.

I’ve written the start of this paragraph three times and deleted each one. I just wasn’t interested in what I had to say. Twice I got up and did something in between. I cleaned the coffee pot and on my second run I moved around a few things I hide behind the TV set. One of those things was a diffuser, and it got me thinking about smells. I have a few favorites. Cookies baking is one of them. I think of my mother and sugar cookies and Christmas. She made them every year, even when we were adults. They were as much a part of Christmas as were our stockings. Turkey roasting is another smell I love. I can see my mother standing hunched over the turkey bulging out of its pan. It always just fit without any spare space. I remember the baster and how she’d use it to suck up the juice then baste all of the turkey. She used to steal a bit of the stuffing, the crusty part at the end. Burning wood is another favorite smell. It reminds me of Ghana. The Ghanaians used wood charcoal for cooking, and I could smell it all over town when I walked. At night, especially, the smell was pervasive. Women sitting along the side of the road cooked and sold food. I was a frequent visitor to the fried plantain aunty, a polite address for older Ghanaian women. From my deck, I can smell barbecue. It makes me want to invite myself to dinner. My dad is the one I associate with that smell.

If I get forgetful in my old age, I hope a smell will trigger a forgotten memory, especially a memory about someone I dearly loved.


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