Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Sneaking into the Drive In

Randy R Cox

In the summer of 1963, we were all hanging out at the Dairy Queen in Richardson, Texas with little to do. Someone suggested we sneak into the local drive in theater. Originally there were four of us. One of us was going to drive in, three of us were going to sneak in.

I was driving my parents 1962 Chevy station wagon. It was the largest of all the available vehicles so it seemed the natural choice.

One of the four was willing to drive, but he wasn’t willing to sneak in. He would Charlton Heston as Moses in Motion Picture "The Ten Commandments" Shown at Drive in Movie Theater

Buy at

pay his way in, as if that absolved him of the theft the rest of us were plotting. We were trying to find good places to hide in that wagon when a few additional people stopped by to see what we were up to. They wanted in on our conspiracy.

Sneaking in three was tricky enough. Two were going to lay low in the back floor board while I was going to curl up in the trunk—an area in the station wagon where the spare wheel usually went. We put the spare tire in the back on top of the trunk while I crunched up in the tiny area below. The third seat was folded down.

But now we had new people. There was no room. It was decided that it looked too weird for one person to drive a station wagon into a drive in, so a second person was going to pay his way in and ride shotgun in the front seat. The fourth party was an easy solution, but what were we going to do with the others. I don’t remember now how many guys there were but I think it was at least four more…maybe even five.

We were crazy back then.

We drove around behind the shopping center looking for boxes, large boxes. We finally found exactly what we needed behind an appliance store. It was a box that refrigerators come in. It was perfect.

So I climbed in my tiny spot in the spare tire well. The refrigerator box was placed on its side on top of me. Two guys lay on the floor board behind the front seat, but they had to lay the seat down now that the frig box was there. It wouldn’t go down flat because of the bodies there but went down about ½ way hiding the guys but tilting the box in at a bizarre angle.

One by one the other guys slid into the box. I was under it all, so I can’t be sure how they fit, but I think it was two by two. I do know there was never a silent moment. They cursed and grunted and elbowed each other complaining constantly. I could hear the door of the station wagon open and close. Eventually, the engine started and we were on our way.

I knew we were close when I heard the crunch of gravel and the stop and go of the vehicle as we made our way up the line of cars paying to enter. The closer we got to the cashier, the more uncontrollable the laughter. The whole car was shaking from the stifled giggles of the teenage boys intent on defrauding the owner of the drive in out of his deserved admission.

Finally, we could hear our driver talking to the cashier. I just knew the doors were going to fly open as we were searched by the police…but that didn’t happen. It seemed impossible that we would get away with this caper, given all the noise we were making and the constant movement inside that box.

Then suddenly we lurched forward and the familiar crunch of gravel resumed. The driver and his passenger were laughing without restraint followed by the explosion of laughter from the refrigerator box.

Finally, we pulled up next to a speaker and stopped. The driver adjusted his position to get a little closer to the squawk box and we were done. The passenger got out of the car and I could hear him walking toward the back of the station wagon.

Next I heard the tailgate of the station wagon open and the guys in the box pulled themselves loudly free. I was furious. By some miracle, we’d made it this far, but they were going to get us all caught with the noise they were making.

Finally, the lid to the tire well opened and I extracted myself from my hole. The refrigerator box was empty standing upright, blocking the view of the movie for the car behind it. The guys were all standing around the station wagon laughing and borrowing money from each other for refreshments.

It turns out we all got in for a dollar. The passenger didn’t even have to pay. It was a dollar per carload night. We could have all gotten in without the subterfuge.

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Hare of the Dog

Randy R. Cox

We recently had the good fortune to have some relatives drop by for a long over due visit. These good people came all the way from their home in Florida, but having been Texans themselves once upon a time knew the value of a good story.

So it was that they brought with them a tale that would raise the eye and catch the attention of any self-respecting Lone Star gathering. This particular story happened to be the absolute truth, which can’t be said about the average Texas story.

Hare of the Dog

Being true, we’ll change the names to protect the guilty. One of their neighbors, let’s call him Tiz just happened to have a nice Labrador retriever calling his backyard home. As Tiz came home from work, he checked on his dog only to find him happily tossing something white and furry up into the air, catching it, then tossing it again.

Upon closer examination the rag doll turned out to be a rabbit, a little dead from the ups and downs of his relationship with the dog.

No sooner had he taken the lifeless body from his dog’s mouth than he realized the rabbit looked a bit too familiar.

“Uh oh!” he thought. “This is not good! Not good at all!”

He called his friend, lets call him, Taint. “Taint! I’ve got myself a bit of a problem. My dog has been playing toss and catch with a rabbit. No! it’s too late for that; the rabbits dead, but I was just thinking the Smiths next door have a rabbit, and it looks a lot like this one.

Now, Taint wasn’t the kind of guy to leave a friend in need. He promised to come right over and work out a solution.

When Taint arrived he had a plan and took quick charge of things. They took that rabbit and washed all the blood off his fur. They used a hair dryer and fluffed him up so good, you’d think he was about to hop happily away, except this rabbit had hopped its last hop.

Next, they sneaked over to the Smith’s house and slipped that poor rabbit’s body into the cage there on the back porch.

No one would ever know the dog did it! When the Smiths returned from their vacation they would find the dead rabbit and assume it died peacefully in it’s sleep.

Late Sunday evening Tiz got a call from his neighbor. “Tiz, while we were gone did you see anything unusual going on over at our house?”

“Not a thing,” answered Tiz, giving his dog a dirty look. “Why do you ask?”

“Well,” said his neighbor. “Two days before we left for our trip our pet rabbit died. We had a little funeral for the kids, said some words over him, and gave him a proper burial. We even placed a stone over his body. When we got back from our trip tonight, that rabbit was back in his hutch.”