Last month I was able to bop out to the Commonwealth of Virginia to visit my sister and her husband and their five wonderful boys. It was a quick trip but definitely worth it. One of the nights Patrick gave Jill and I a little treat — the ability to go out to dinner by ourselves!
The Library of Congress preserves movies, radio programs, television shows, etc, in the middle of the Virginia countryside, in a location that was originally a bunker during the Cold War. “With Cold War tensions came fear that in the event of a nuclear war, the economy of the United States would be destroyed. In response to this, the United States Federal Reserve constructed a bunker to house enough U.S. currency to replenish the cash supply east of the Mississippi River in the event of a catastrophic event.” Thank you, Wikipedia. It also had enough supplies to support a government staff of 540 people for a month. “Other noteworthy features of the facility were a cold storage area for maintaining bodies unable to be promptly buried (due to high radiation levels outside), an incinerator, indoor pistol range, and a helicopter landing pad.” Again, thank you, Wikipedia.
I know what you’re thinking — the theme of this blog on Day 2 of “7 Blogs in 7 Days” is Joannie finding inspiration in James Joyce and stream of consciousness writing. But you’d be wrong.
Since the bunker has been turned into a storage facility for the Library of Congress media, they have also built a beautiful art deco theatre where they show films regularly. They open it up to the public, free of charge. Once you see the schedule for the month, you call and make reservations, and boom, free movie.
When Jill found out I was coming out to visit, she checked the schedule and found out that The Princess Bride was going to be showing the Thursday I was there! She quickly called and reserved two seats. Patrick said he’d watch the boys, so we had a great evening of sister bonding in the works.
When we were trying to figure out where to go to eat, we checked some Trip Advisor and Urbanspoon reviews. One of the reviews for the local steakhouse, Piedmont, was glowing — the author claimed to have eaten all over the United States and Europe and hadn’t had a better meal.
Who can turn that down?
Apparently, that review was written by the chef’s mother. It was a tad hyperbolic.
Or perhaps I need to give the author some restaurants to visit in Europe sometime?
Anyway, that being said, dinner was good, even if it wasn’t the best place I’ve eaten in all my travels.
For starters, instead of bread they gave us warm homemade potato chips and onion straws.
Our meal was delicious — I had the crab cakes and Jill had steak (I think. Jill, did you have steak?) But nothing compared to dessert. We almost didn’t get dessert, since we were tight on time, but it didn’t take us long to wolf this thing down.
Banana and chocolate cream pie? Yes, please. It had some awesome name, but it’s taken me too long to post about it to remember. But it was light and chocolately and everything banana and chocolate pie should be.
Midway through dinner, the manager or owner or someone important brought roses over to the various men in the room to give to their dates. I made a sad face to Jill since we wouldn’t be getting roses, and he came over shortly afterwards and gave us each one! It was sweet and unexpected.
The highlight of the evening, however, was our movie date. I am so happy that Jill thought to make reservations! We drove over to the theatre and joined the crowds heading into the small theatre. It was just a matter of telling our name to the woman at the doors- she marked us off the list and we were good to go!
The theater was crowded with people of all ages. The Princess Bride is a pretty beloved movie across the board! One of the staffers at the Library of Congress began by telling us some trivia about the movie and told us that it wasn’t on the National Film Registry yet, but was nominated almost every year and received a lot of votes every year. We could nominate it at the end of the evening and show our support.
Then the lights went down and we were transported 25 years! It is such a treat to see a beloved movie on the big screen. It’s not just the size of the picture, either. There’s something about seeing it in a dark room with strangers, everyone united in a common experience. We were laughing as if we hadn’t seen it. We were quoting it. It was bliss.
Fred Savage is my sister’s oldest son through and through. We both looked at each other and just laughed. I guess eight year old boys are the same in the 80s, 90s, and 2000s!
There was a plot element that Jill and I both admitted we had never noticed before, but we noticed it simultaneously watching it now. I’d like to go back in time and watch it in 1987 while still remaining my current age. Is my 2013 brain just imagining things because of the culture in which we live? Or was I just too young to catch it before now? Anyway, I’d be interested to hear from anyone who saw the movie in 1987 as an adult and see what they think of Prince Humperdinck.
It was really such an enjoyable evening, and definitely one that made me wish I lived next door to my sister. It’s funny how life works – you grow closer as you grow older, but growing older also means living across the country from each other. I guess a pessimist would say that’s why we’ve grown closer, but I don’t think that’s the case – and I’d like to think we’d be even closer if we lived next door to each other. Maybe someday. Until then, I’ll cherish the quick trips, the FaceTime and Skype conversations, the emails sent “just because I saw this and thought of you,” and the phone conversations that may have more dead space than talking just because it’s good to know the other one is on the other end. I love you, Jill!