When they were high school sweethearts, it was the Starlight Drive-in in Christiansburg.
Now Wayne and Leigh Ann Davidson are parents in their 40s living in Forest.
On a recent Friday night, they packed their truck with blankets, a cooler full of drinks and snacks. Their daughter, Ashlyn, and her friends Anna Carter and Morgan Tomlin, each 15, came along to the Mayberry Drive-In Theatre & Diner. It’s the first summer season for the theater, located in a field along White House Road in Moneta, near Smith Mountain Lake.
A stream of headlights illuminated the gravel road to the ticket booth and its flashing neon sign. People bought tickets and took directions: “Turn your radio to 88.9 FM to hear the movie, drive around the diner and don’t park in front of anyone.”
By 9:30 it was dark. Only the glow of cellphones cast light on the faces of Ashlyn and her friends as they text-messaged during the showing of the newest Harry Potter movie.
The movie drowned out the sounds of summer insects; the projector beam overpowered the flashes of fireflies.
Wayne and Leigh Anne Davidson gave the truck bed to the teenagers and sat in lawn chairs beside the truck. No cuddling, no steamy windows.
Ashlyn and her friends were as impressed as teenagers get: “Yeah, it was OK,” they said in unison. “The milkshakes were good.”
Ashlyn’s parents were more nostalgic. “It was a good summer experience,” Leigh Anne Davidson said. “It was as good as the Starlight.”
– Stephanie Klein-Davis
Stephanie Klein-Davis has been with The Roanoke Times for 22 years.
Summer Moments will publish each Monday through the end of August. Got an idea for the photo column? E-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.