Wednesday, September 26, 2007
The Story Continues
I was in Columbus, GA last night and pulled in a restaurant to meet some business associates for dinner. The sight of this theater that sits next to the restaurant caused cold chills to run down my spine. I haven’t thought about this theater in years but what happened there would impact my life forever. And I am glad they have boarded it up. Hopefully they are keeping the rats from getting out and taking over Columbus.
This is where I saw the movie Willard. The tagline of that 1971 movie was “where your nightmare ends, Willard begins.” I wouldn’t admit it when I was 17 years old but I will now. That movie scared the heck out of me. I have never seen so many rats in my life and I dreamed about rats for weeks after that movie. I never had the urge to go see another rat movie either. And I never had the urge to go back to that theater.
But there is something else about this theater that impacted me. Jim Whatley and Lynn Underwood had their first date that night. They double dated with my future wife and me. We saw this not so romantic rat movie and later had a flat tire on the 60 mile drive back home. Kathy and Lynn’s mom was not a happy camper when we got them home about an hour late that night. I don’t think she ever believed the flat tire story.
Just for the record, Jim and Lynn got married about three years after Willard. Jim was about to begin medical school when we saw that dreadful movie and Lynn was in college. He finished medical school and became a doctor. Lynn finished college and became a schoolteacher.
They have now been married for a little over 33 years and have lived happily ever after. They produced three children who are now grown and married. They also have two beautiful grandchildren. Everyone who knows them will tell you this family is nothing short of incredible.
The theater where it all began is now boarded up and all the rats are gone.
But the story continues.