On my evening walk today, I was struck by what I believe must have been the smell of someone’s dryer sheets. Each time I passed it, I was brought instantly back to swim team days. Actually, I was brought back to specific swim team evenings. Somehow, the smell, combined with the warm air and the setting sun, reminded me of Monday night swim meets, and, more specifically, the movie nights to follow (once I was a little older).
Those movie nights are probably some of the best evenings I’ve known. We always had dinner at this one local restaurant after every meet (I think they gave use free kids meals with our team suits on). And then, afterward, the older kids would go over to someone’s house and watch a movie together. Eventually, I was approved to attend movie nights, though not many my age ever went. I just had an older brother, so I had an early in, so to speak.
At the movie nights, I had not a care in the world – swimming was behind me, and I got to hang around with my brother and other cool people. (Hey, they were all cool in my mind, because they were older and better at swimming, and because my brother liked them, and he was totally cool.) It was often at this one family’s house where the mother always made cookies. I’m not sure how it happened – though it in no way surprises me – but I ended up being her helper of sorts.
We kind of only watched “Hook”, with the occasional stray to “Star Wars”, at the movie nights, even though they happened every week. But no one seemed to mind that we watched the same thing over and over again. (“Hook” really is a spectacular film, you know.) Since I pretty much could quote the whole movie, I didn’t mind checking out the cookie-baking setup off in the kitchen one night. I ended up actually making and then serving the cookies during the movie from then on out. I went in and out of the movie, only hanging in the kitchen when I had a specific task to undertake, so I still saw most of the movie. But I got to do something extra, fun, special, and useful, too. Plus, everyone loved me for bringing them warm cookies that the mom and I had made. And, what made it even more special, was that I was hanging out with my older brother and his friends – I qualified to be with them, and they weren’t opposed to my being there. 🙂
One movie night in particular, as we left the house, I felt like I was in a wonderland, because flowing white surrounded us in the warm wind – someone had wrapped the house during our movie. Sure, it was toilet paper hanging everywhere from the trees in the front yard, but it felt like magic. There was something about those movie nights that just made life seem easy, free, and happy. I think that’s part of why I still love “Hook” and “Star Wars” so much, and I regularly have a desire to watch them (and always feel really special whenever I do actually watch them).
Yeah, those were really good times. Thanks, whomever, for your dryer sheets this evening. 🙂