Scott Allen

Three Things NOT To Do At The Drive-In

Three Things NOT To Do At The Drive-In

I’ve lived in Des Moines for nearly 20 years. In that time, it’s hard to believe I’ve never been to the Valle Drive-In. That all changed on Friday night.

We always start our summers with a fun list of things we want to do. Going to the drive-in was a must. So, when I saw “Maleficent” and “Million Dollar Arm” were held over for a second week – I knew we were in!

We piled everyone into the car and headed to Newton. A lot of you said to bring snacks – so we did. We packed a cooler full of water and juice boxes. My wife popped several rounds of popcorn and dumped it all in a large paper bag. Yum. Before we left town, we stopped by Subway for a few sandwiches to bring with.

Do you ever get nervous before going somewhere you’ve never been before? I do. I start worrying about making stupid mistakes and looking like an idiot to all the rest of the pros.

We got there with plenty of time to spare and settled into a spot up front. Just then, a nice young man working at the drive-in stopped by and asked me to select one spot, not two. I did think the spaces were a little roomy – and turns out I was taking up two of them. Dang it. Strike one. No problem. I quickly moved the car…and dinner was served.

photo 5

We had a ball watching all the kids gather in the grass. Some were playing catch while others kicked around a soccer ball. My wife and I stared at each other. We were not prepared. So, my girls spent a few minutes playing “throw the stuffed animal.” Curses. Strike two.

photo 7

The first movie, “Maleficent” started about 8:45pm. I turned my car to “accessory” – just like it says on the sheet they give you at the entrance. As it gets darker, my wife says: “Why are we the only ones with our car lights on?” Hmmm. I peak around, and sure enough – we’re the only ones with the lights on inside our car. I fumble around for my manual and cannot figure out how to turn em off. Ehhh. Now, I’m sweating. “No worries!” Back to the movie. Except when it ended, my car wouldn’t start. Strike three…we’re out.

The nice guy parked next to me walked around his car – knowing an amateur (me!) had parked next to him. He says: “Do you need some jumper cables?” He’d clearly done this before and was very prepared. Thank you, sir. Yes, yes I guess I do. Only, I can’t remember how to do it. Negative to positive? Positive to positive? Ahhh! I don’t want to torch either of our cars, so, I just stand there. The nice guy next to me stepped in and handled it from there. All good – and we were on our way home.


Believe it or not, we had a GREAT time. My wife called it “charming” several times. Sure, it was a little crazy…but we’re already planning our next trip. So, take it from me:

  1. Park in right space
  2. Bring some games
  3. Figure out how to turn off the lights in your car so you don’t kill your battery

(follow me on twitter: @OnAirScott)

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