I remember as a kid looking forward to the holiday season.
Not because of Santa or all the gifts — well, of course that was cool, too — but because of the movies.
Hollywood traditionally rolls out its blockbusters during the holidays, and it did when I was a kid, too.
My mom was a single working mother raising two boys. Money was tight, but she always somehow managed to take us to lots of movies at Christmastime. And I loved it.
My mom would even save some vacation time to take us during the day while we were on Christmas break. And after having watched the trailers months before in anticipation, we would carefully plan our movie agenda.
When the time finally came to go to the movie, I remember a rush of excitement wash over me as we got in the car.
Then as we’d arrive at the theater, I’d marvel at the lighted marquee like I had never seen it before, the flickering neon lights dancing overhead.
As we opened the shiny doors to the theater, I remember the first smell of popcorn wafting through the lobby, and it made my mouth water. I remember the ticket-taker greeting us, and I thought he had the most awesome job ever.
I’d run to the wall and gaze at the posters advertising coming attractions. I’d study the artwork, memorize the tagline, and point out which films looked good to my mom. She’d always smile and nod her head.
After that, we’d go wait in line to get our snacks. I remember seeing the popcorn lit up in the glass bins, on display like masterpiece paintings in an art gallery.
Then we’d find a seat — never too close to the screen or too far — and settle in.
Then the lights would dim. Adrenaline started coursing through me — or maybe that was the butter from the popcorn hardening my veins — but no matter. It was a thrill every time the movie was about to begin.
Then the previews of coming attractions would start, as I cursed the late-comers who blocked my view of the screen. Don’t they know the trailers are the best part? I’d rather have a tooth pulled with rusty pliers than miss one.
And we’d always stay through the film’s end credits, of course. Every person worked hard on that movie, I thought, and by golly I was going to read every single name.
After the movie was finally over, all that usually remained in the theater would be workers sweeping popcorn off the floor — and us.
So, you see, I’ve always been a movie maniac.
My mom recognized early on this love of movies. And she made sure that I got to experience them.
They not only made me happy then, but they made me what I am today. I’m a fledgling filmmaker, at best, but I’ve somehow managed to make three features and scores of short films. Something I thought could never happen.
So those holiday seasons of watching movies with my mom not only taught me to follow my dreams, they taught me to believe in the impossible.
But most of all, to believe in myself.
Thanks, Mom. See you in the popcorn line.