"Life is a banquet, and most poor suckers are starving to death!" -Auntie Mame
I don't consider myself to be a huge "old" movie buff, although I suppose I am in comparison with other people my age. While channel surfing, I was recently reminded of the movie Auntie Mame and the insane lengths I once went to just to watch it.
It was my first year of teaching and I was in that in-between stage of being not quite a grown up and not quite a college student. I had my own apartment, but still spent time at "home", aka my mother's house. One afternoon over Christmas break, I had gone over to do laundry at my mom's and we were hit with the dreaded of all midwestern weather catastrophes: The Ice Storm. They often start out gently- just a little bit of rain, then the temperature drops and you get a beautiful, glass-like layer of ice over everything. It was decided that I would stay the night.
I had friends who were still in college and were home visiting. I called one of them, a friend of mine from 5th or 6th grade. She is one of my oldest friends- she and her older sister both. She said that she and her sister were all excited because Auntie Mame was on television that evening. (We did not have cable.) She asked if I wanted to come over. I said sure, then realized that driving was out of the question. I did not want to walk by myself in the dark, so she and her sister walked the few blocks to my mom's house from their mom's house and then we all walked back together. We were like a travelling Dick Van Dyke trio- slipping and sliding and falling- shrieking and screaming with laughter. We walked where we knew grass normally grew, since underneath the ice was snow and we could get our footing. This worked fine until we reached the end of a lawn and had to cross a driveway. It was hilarious- we'd stand still, in a half crouched position and just slowly slide down toward the street, which didn't matter anyway because there were virtually no cars in sight. We laughed the whole way there. In spite of it being butt cold, (is that a midwestern thing? butt ugly, butt cold, butt hot, butt slow?)it really was pretty- the moonlight catching the crystal-covered trees and sidewalks and lawns, and, well, everything, accompanied by the eerie silence that is found on night-time snowy walks.
When we finally reached our destination, we three piled onto the couch, armed with blankets and popcorn, the smell of a wood fire burning in the fireplace, spicy herbal tea steeping in someone's cup. We giggled and smiled and enjoyed the movie, not having to give it 100% of our attentions, since it is not that heavy of a movie and quite silly. Any movie with a character named Miss Gooch? Come on.
I can't remember if I stayed over or if the salt trucks had been out and they were able to drive me home. It's not that great a memory, not that great a movie, but that night was so happy, so fun, so carefree. There weren't to be many more nights like that. Grown up responsibilities of jobs and kids and just being sensible would soon come into the forefront. But not that night. That night, we 20-something women were once again our 7th grade selves.