The Reverse Bucket List

Dave and I are on the last half of our summer get-away to Colorado to escape the Texas heat (and what a surprise to discover that Colorado also experiences heat waves and droughts and forest fires!). Anyway, a couple of days ago we were taking a back road to some hot springs near Buena Vista, when I noticed a giant movie screen in the middle of a field.

“It’s a drive-in!” I yelled.

“Uh-huh.” Dave didn’t seem to share my excitement.

“Didn’t you go to the movies at drive-ins as a kid?”

In hindsight, I’m not sure why I imagined Dave’s family would have gone to a drive-in theater. My father-in-law slouched behind the wheel. My mother-in-law next to him with a box of Good ‘n Plenty. It really is inconceivable.

So I began recounting my memories of going to the movies at drive-ins. Wearing my PJs, getting a giant pickle from the concession stand, eventually falling asleep in the backseat. Then the drive-in theaters began disappearing as the multiplexes showed up in the malls of the 1970s. The last time I ever went to a drive-in theater was when I was in high school, and I went on a date to the one in North Dallas, off of Central Expressway (the very screen where my mother once happened to see the face of a bearded man as she was buying a Christmas tree at the Wolff Nursery across the freeway and thought she’d seen Jesus).

As Dave and I approached the sign near the road, I realized the drive-in was still in business.

July 13-17
Oh Brother, Where Art Thou

“Let’s go!” I fully expected Dave to concur. He’s usually so agreeable when we’re on the road.

“I don’t know about that.”

But I was relentless. “What if I never get the chance to go to a drive-in again?” “The dogs can go too!” “We can bring Rum!”

Finally I got my way, and last Friday night we went to the Comanche Drive-in Theater.

The picture was just barely out of focus. The sound was a little muddled (although now you listen through the car radio rather than those old timey squawk boxes). It certainly didn’t rise to the level of our media room back home, but the night was cool. The wind blew across my face. I could smell the weed wafting in from the pickup truck next to us. I leaned back in my seat back and thoroughly enjoyed myself.

“So, what did you think?” We were rolling toward the exit.

“I dunno. Maybe it wasn’t the right movie for a drive-in.” Dave still didn’t get it, and I guess he never will because these aren’t his memories.

I’ve said time and time again that I don’t have, and never will have a bucket list. Sure, I’m constantly on the lookout for the thing I haven’t tried, the place I haven’t been, but as soon as I think of the thing or the place, I take action.
As I waited for sleep to come on Friday night, it occurred to me, however, that while I don’t want to make a bucket list, I would like to make a reverse bucket list. A list of all the things I’ve done before and need to do AGAIN. So far my list is short:

1. Drive around just to look at Christmas lights.
2. Go to the State Fair of Texas and eat a corndog.
3. Ride a horse.
4. Chase down an ice cream truck and buy a Popsicle.
5. Watch the Wizard of Oz with commercials.

But it’s only been three days. I’m sure there are a hundred more things to add.


  1. I love the reverse bucket list. That’s why I think grandkids are so wonderful; they allow you to accomplish these things without even thinking:

    Watch a favorite cartoon and laugh really loud,
    Bounce in a bounce house, swing on a swing, slide down a slide, climb a monkey bar,
    Eat more than one s’mores, order TWO scoops of your favorite ice cream,
    Make up your own knock knock jokes.
    Jump off a diving board…maybe do a flip or a cannon ball.

    Disclaimer: I do not have grandkids

  2. Hi Karen,
    Wish I was in tow with you!

    I have many Drive-In memories. At the “Midway” about 2 miles from my home in Glace Bay, Nova Scotia, we had Wednesday Buck Night – $1.00 for a carload of Neighborhood Hoodlums. We ran wild around the field, trying the receivers, spying on couples and numerous trips to the canteen for foot long hot dogs. As a teenager, we usually paid admission for a driver and passenger and had two friends hiding in the truck until sunset. Always a destination for minors to consume warm beer and sweet summer wine.

    Happy you were able to re-live those easy, breezy days. When the unexpected like a Drive-In crosses our path, lean back and enjoy the splendor once more.

    Living Large every day… XXoo

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