Winter is the perfect time to explore the natural stone shelters where native Arkansans once lived
The Observer and friend go way back. Like way, way back. Like when you could ride the bus downtown for so little we can't even remember what it cost and then go to the movies for less than a dollar. We would hop on — who would drive a kid those days when they could get where they wanted to go on a city bus? — track our fathers down downtown, beg a couple of bucks from them, and go to the Center or the Arkansas or the Capitol theaters. The buck would get us in, and we'd have enough left over for a suicide (a soda with all the flavors mixed together) and a box of Milk Duds (and the bus ride back home). We saw "Cleopatra" a couple of times, and all the James Bond movies. Then we'd catch the bus on Main and head back to our stop on Kavanaugh. So that's how far back our movie-going goes.
We went again to the movies a couple of weekends ago. The tickets were cheap — only $7 — because we went to the matinee. We didn't stand in line like we did as kids because we'd bought our tickets in advance online and all we had to do to get in was show our phones to the usher, who scanned them. We didn't buy drinks and candy, because that would have cost about a million dollars.
But in a fine departure from the old days — the seats!
Not to sound like an advertisement or anything, but if you haven't been to the Breckenridge movie theater, you may not know that all the seats are like La-Z-Boy recliners. We took our seats and, with the help of a neighbor, figured out how to pull the lever on the side and whoop! the leg rests popped up at the speed of light, sending us into gales of embarrassed laughter, but who would blame two old ladies for laughing at a) having to figure out how to work our seats and b) finding ourselves nearly prone in a blink of an eye? No longer does the usher have cause to shine his flashlight at you because you've rested your dogs on the seat in front of you.
(The usher did come after us, however, because we wanted to sit together and seating these days is reserved and one of our seats had been reserved by someone else. Fortunately, and amazingly, the someone else decided not to break us up and went to a different movie, and for that we thank him.)
So here's the thing. If you're tired, you may find that you've paid $7 for a nice snooze in a darkened theater. But we were giddy at the comfort of the thing, our smuggled in coffees resting in cup holders built into our recliners, our coats wrapped around us. An hour plus of Benedict Cumberbatch. Heaven! When the movie was over, we had to struggle to pull the levers to get the leg rests down, no easy feat with your feet eased out in front of you. More obnoxious laughter. Movie-going has changed; we haven't.
Speaking of good times with BFF's, The Observer spent Sunday in the park with Junior. He's grown these days to top his Old Man both in height and shoe size, the baby boy we knew a couple hundred pounds of solid rock these days, even though he doesn't seem to do anything except play computer games, watch the occasional episode of "South Park" and empty the fridge down to the mustard and sweet relish.
We were there to test his science fair project: a trebuchet he designed and built himself, relying on Yours Truly to run the table saw and miter saw only because he's scared of power tools and we're scared of him losing a finger. Not the best way to prepare him for the coming apocalypse, we know, but surely he'll have a better shot against the zombie hordes with all his digits intact.
A trebuchet, by the way, is a siege weapon that uses the power of gravity to throw stuff long distances. Look it up. Junior's is an impressive thing, a long vee of lumber, with the throwing arm turned by a large wooden wheel. Load her up with fitty pounds and pull the pin, the weight goes down, the sling and ball comes around with a "swwwhip!" and then the baseball is airborne, up so high into the blue sky over the Murray Park soccer fields that it looks like it's going to the moon. His best throw of the day was 198 feet. Probably could have done much better with a little tinkering to yield a flatter trajectory, but Junior was constantly worried about knocking out the dog walkers in the far distance.