Mama was right: Old folks should stay home

Published 11:25 pm Friday, August 19, 2011

Mama said that old folks ought to stay at home.

I thought she said that just because she was afraid to ride in an elevator and had a harrowing experience on her first and last attempt to mount an escalator.

Or that belief could have been rooted in her getting lost in the shopping mall. But whatever the reason, Mama was right. Old folks ought to stay at home.

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Twice a year, I go to the picture show. My cousin comes home from Chicago and, being a “city girl,” she knows all about movies and which ones would be of interest and enjoyable to the mature set.

So, she and another relative that, for anonymity, I’ll call Sandra went to the picture show at a theater in a neighboring city. The theater plays 25 movies at the same time and has AARP rocking chair seating. We like that.

The movie that my cousin recommended started at 6 p.m. We’ve been to the movie enough times in the 21st Century that we are fully aware that you have to sit through 30 minutes of commercials and previews before the movie starts.

The previews should carry a warning: The following could be hazardous to your health (bust your ear drums and cause your heart to run away) and shock your morals.

Whatever happened to the news reels and cartoons? We miss that.

But, not caring if we missed all the “coming” digital marvels, we took our time trying to figure out the best buy in popcorn. My cousin and I decided on the couple’s combo with extra butter. My half of the combo cost more than the stockings and the pair of shoes I was wearing.

Sandra had to buy on her own because she doesn’t like butter. It puts on the pounds. Evidently, candy bars don’t.

We found our theater and were well seated and rocking before we realized that it was not the previews that were playing. It was the movie.

Our questioning verbal exchanges were met with “Ssssshh! Ssssshhh!” So we just shrugged at each other and started popping corn and rocking.

When the picture show was over, we made our sorrows known to the nice young “usher.”

“The picture show started early. We missed the first part.”

No, the young man said, the picture show didn’t start early. We went to the wrong theater.

“‘The Help’ is playing in two theaters,” he said. “You should have gone to Theater One. See here, it says Theater One on your ticket.” We saw.

“Y’all went to the wrong theater. The movie started at 5 o’clock in that theater.”

Then, we had missed about half the movie? So, that’s why our couple’s combo lasted until the credits ran.

Before we knew what she was about, Sandra was pleading our case to the “usher.”

“We’re old and we don’t go to the movie a lot …,” she was saying.

I pulled her sleeve, “Don’t say, we’re old!!!”

“He knows that!”

After getting an earful of excuses and reasons why, the nice and weary young man disappeared behind an official-looking door. Soon he came out. “Y’all can go in to the next show,” he said. “It’ll be 40 minutes, though.”

We would wait. We wanted to see how the show started.

More than an hour later, we left the theater, holding hands as we made our way to the car.

Holding hands is what old folks do when they ought to have stayed at home.

Jaine Treadwell is features editor of The Messenger.