Saturday, October 11, 2014

The Bengies Drive-in

Melody and I love going to the Bengies Drive-in.  I got to experience drive-ins when I was a kid, before they all disappeared in the early 80s, but I thought they were pretty cool.  I was too young and "innocent" to know that the drive-in was a make-out place for teens (something I learned from watching Happy Days later), so, to me, the drive-in was always a place to catch a movie with the whole family (we would wear our PJs and set up our "beds" in the back of our station wagon).

The movies were sharper than this out-of-focus pic...

The Bengies is the only active drive-in left in the state of Maryland, and is located in Middle River, on the "other side" of Baltimore.  It's a bit of a hike, but it's worth going just for the drive-in experience.  I didn't even know it existed, but once I found it, I started taking Melody when she was six years old, and we've been enjoying it ever since.

Last night, we practically had the entire theater to ourselves.  The weather wasn't very good, with on-and-off rain and chilly temperatures, plus there was this playoff baseball game going on just down the road with the Orioles.  When the first movie of the night's "Trippple Feature" began, there were a grand total of seven cars in the place.  I selfishly loved having the place practically to ourselves, but I also understand the economics of trying to run a business like this one, and the poor showing meant that the theater would struggle just to make its payroll.  I felt like it was important for us to patronize the snack bar as often as we could, and so we did.  In fact, we overdid it just a bit, but it was for altruistic reasons.

Melody always gets a foot-long hot dog, and tonight, she was particularly hungry and wanted two.  I got a burger and a barbecue sandwich.  The burgers are pretty typical, but always good.  The barbecue, which I hadn't tried before, was really good pulled pork and the sauce was just sweet enough.  After the first movie, FRANKENWEENIE, which is actually a movie that came out last year, but is very entertaining (and very appropriate for Halloween season), we made another trip to the snack bar.  Melody got popcorn, and I got a slice of pizza, another item I had never tried before.  While not as good as I was hoping, it had a nice taste, appropriately cheesy, and the sauce was good.  The crust was very crisp.  Melody's popcorn was a little too salty, but that's what you'd expect.

After the second movie, ALEXANDER AND THE TERRIBLE HORRIBLE NO GOOD VERY BAD DAY, which was the typical pre-teen Disney-fied gross-out movie, but very much aimed at families (my daughter loved it), we got some chocolate chip cookies.  They come 2 to a pack, and they're almost always warm, which makes them perfect since they seem to just melt in your mouth.  The sodas are generic brands, but actually pretty good.  They used to serve Coke products until the prices went up too high, and these generic sodas have cane sugar, and that's so much better than high-fructose corn syrup (though, as a type 2 diabetic, I only drink the diet).  They used to have chocolate milk, which went great with the cookies, but I haven't seen it in a long time.

It started to rain fairly steadily as the third movie started, the wonderfully entertaining GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY, which we saw earlier in the Summer, so we decided to leave about an hour into it.  It was another wonderful evening, and I'm so thankful for this great old theater.  The Bengies has a lot of rules, but they are not unreasonable and are designed to provide the best experience for everyone.  I hope they continue to be successful and thrive.  I know, at some point, my daughter will be too old to want to go to the drive-in with her dad, and I'll likely be unable to go anymore (unless I get remarried), so I'm glad we are able to enjoy this while we can.

Have a great evening, everyone!

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