Monday, January 09, 2006

Up from the ashes

Back in May of last year, I blogged an entry on the demise of our small town's one and only movie theater.

Last week S and I were invited to the grand opening ribbon cuttting ceremony at our small towns new 3-screen, state-of-the-art movie complex. We're good buds with the Chamber of Commerce President (she went to high school with my in-laws). Small town, remember.

When the family who owned the old, burned-out theater decided not to rebuild, a group of business owners in town got together, formed a committee of some sort, and decided to write some checks ($250k worth) to kick start the creation of a new movie house in town. Times being what they are, the final budget was 4x the original estimate, but the group sought out Rural development funds, Ag loans and grants to fill the financial gaps.

So here we are, 21-months after the fire and brimstone theater disaster, and I'm taking the girls to their first screening at our small town's new movie house. Our choices were King Kong, Cheaper by the Dozen 2, and The Chronicles of Narnia - The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe.

Since C has been bugging me to see Narnia, off we go, with a $20 bill in hand, the taste of popcorn on our tongues, and the whirlwind anticipation of being transported to a land of adventure and fantasy.

The seats reclined gently, the cupholders held both small and large drinks with ease, the floors weren't yet sticky, and the stadium seating afforded my 6-year old ample viewing clearance around the child's head in the seat directly in front of her.

PK fell asleep about half way through, which was fine since she didn't need to see all the nightmare -inducing-beasties in the climactic battle scene. C, on the other hand, was engrossed in the film for the entire 2 1/2 hours, all the while consuming a child sized popcorn, a snack bag of fruit chewies, a handful of Raisinettes (I shared mine), with a few swigs of Sprite to wash it all down.

While I enjoyed the movie, and enjoyed taking my girls to the movie, and enjoyed the fact that we only had to walk 4 blocks to get to the movie, and enjoyed that I had ample change left over from my $20 bill even after buying our tickets, snacks, and drinks, I felt moments of sadness everytime I looked over and caught C digging the ride.

Let me explain.

I loved the Narnia books as a young boy. My librarian Mom thankfully introduced my brother and I to all the Newberry and Caldecott award winning children's books early on in my life and to this day, both of us are better citizens of this earth because of it.

I fondly recall how these books stimulated something deep inside my youthful soul. My imagination never seemed the same after devouring the C.S. Lewis series and I will forever crave the taste of Turkish Delight.

It is those images, wrought from the depths of my young mind that haunted me as I watched my 6-year old's eyes flickering in the darkened theater. For now, when I read her these books, or she ventures to tackle them as her reading skills develop, I fear that the images spurred from the written word, will forever be influenced by the filmmakers visualization.

My only hope is that C's imagination will overwhelm the memories she has of the movie, and the details outlined on the pages, will stimulate her brain to fill in what the filmmakers had to omit due to time and budget constraints.

I hope.

Long live Aslan!

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