Like a dressed down Santa, he strolled across the theater lobby with a trash bag over his shoulder and a gaggle of grandchildren in tow.
After raiding grandma's kitchen pantry for all of the best snacks, my grandfather announced it was time to leave for the movie.
Like a dressed-down Santa, he strolled across the theater lobby with a trash bag over his shoulder and a gaggle of grandchildren in tow. I'm not sure what the teenager taking tickets thought, but he didn't stop us. That's grandpa power right there. My cousins, sister and I would cozy up in our seats and get ready for the show. I can't recall the exact number of times he took us. But I remember. You would too if you ever saw someone take their teeth out to eat a Snickers bar.
I maintain this long-held family tradition of sneaking candy into the movies. But I don't have grandpa powers, just big pockets.
"It's way cheaper to buy the candy at the store than at the movies," my daughter proudly proclaimed. I gave her shoulder a little squeeze. We were both proud.
We get popcorn at the movies. This is a little bit because most theaters only make profit from the concession stand, and we are huge supporters of the arts. Only a little bit though; the big reason is because the molten butter that they pour on your popcorn comes from some place unnatural, and it can't be replicated in the outside world.
"I don't need any snacks for the movies," a former friend once told me. I wondered if he had ever really lived.
Once, I handed my daughter the candy and nodded for her to put it in her pocket.
"But what if they catch me?" she asked.
"Don't let them catch you," I said. "It would be bad."
"How bad?" she said.
"We'd probably have to skip town for a while, change our names, wear disguises," I said with a smile.
"No way!" she replied. "If they catch us, I'm going to hide all of it in my belly."
"That's some quick thinking," I said.
There's something special about going to the movies, especially during the hottest part of summer. And as soon as I had kids, I couldn't wait to take them.
My 2-year-old is too young to sit still for anything longer than a few minutes. So, for now, she stays at home. But my 5-year-old is an old pro. The first few times I took her, I'd have to hold her seat down to keep it from closing up on her.
I love it. It's a special time for the two of us. As we wait for the movie to start, we talk about whatever is on her mind. We judge the movie previews with a thumbs up or down. She asks me, "When is the movie going to start already?" And I wonder if the amount of previews is longer than the movie.
And that's it. How something so simple can mean so much is a mystery to me. I can only assume it has to do with the power of forbidden pocket candy.
David Manley is a husband, father and an editor at The Canton Repository. Share your stories with him at firstname.lastname@example.org. On Twitter: @DaveManley.