by DiVoran Lites
Chapter Twenty Nine
When dinner was over, Aldon herded everyone onto the sidewalk in front of the hotel. Offering his arm to Molly, he checked his gang to make sure they were all there: Nancy and Gertrude, Signor and Signora Solano, Kate and Seraphina, and of course, Ellie. Enrico hadn’t come, and Signor Solano seemed sad about that. Aldon would have been unhappy too, if a member of his family had not shown up. On the street, the group threaded their way through the strolling ranchers and their families who all seemed drawn toward the marquee where the words, “The Thief of Bagdad” shone in neon brightness.”
“Wait, boy! Where you going?” Molly pulled back, but Aldon tugged on her arm so that she was impelled to go along with him. They walked into the theater lobby, which was only a small room decorated in red velvet, but so exotic to Molly that she stared in wonder.
“Popcorn, Molly?” Mr. Fitz asked from behind the counter. The aroma as the white kernels popped and fell into a snowy heap against the glass filled Molly’s senses. She received the bags and passed them as Mr. Fitz filled them and handed them to her. When Aldon tried to pay, the grey-haired gentleman waved the money away.
“Where’s Ellie,” Molly asked.
“Here I am.” Ellie slipped into place, received her popcorn, and followed the herd into the theater. Aldon knew his young friend had already been inside this night to announce Molly’s arrival. He slipped behind Molly so she could enter first and when she did, Kenny played a mighty fanfare on the upright piano at the foot of the screen. Colleen stepped in front of the curtain and stood waiting for the theater to quiet.
“Ladies and gentlemen, please join us in singing happy birthday, to Molly,” she said
In the dimly lit theater, everyone heard Molly say tearfully “You mean…we’re going to see, “The Thief of Bagdad?”
“Yes, dear lady,” said Signor Solano. “Would you like to sit down and enjoy your birthday song first?
Molly sat down and tried to concentrate on the song. She knew it was an honor to have the people of the valley notice her in this way. The war was over and they had survived together in spite of devastating losses of family members at home and on the front. Prejudice, fear, and hatred had not managed to destroy the regard the people had for each other. A new respect and cooperation had begun which promised a better and more prosperous future for all, and now Molly was going to see her first film. Her cup overflowed.
“Take off your hats,” a man yelled from the back. Women’s bob-hats and old-fashioned, wide-brimmed chapeaus vanished into laps. A hush fell over the audience, and the feature began with a rolling glissando. Words came onto the screen, “The Thief of Bagdad: An Arabian Nights Fantasy,” 1924, By Douglas Fairbanks.”
Later when Lia asked Molly what she had liked best about the movie, the housekeeper had said that everything was too wonderful to be able to choose. When Lia insisted on an answer, Molly confessed that Kenny’s music had enhanced the screen excitement to the point where, near the end, she chewed her fingernails in terror. Soon, though, their own brilliant young musician played such beautiful music that she knew the lovers would be safe. She cried with relief as they flew over onion domes, spires, and pillars, and left the air above the exotic city for the clean, pure atmosphere of the desert and mountains.
“Indeed, that was a lovely show, thank you all.” Molly said, on the way out.
Aldon took Seraphina from Ellie and gave her to her grandmother. He slipped his free arm around Ellie, knowing it would be an announcement of sorts to everyone else. Looking up to see if there were any flying carpets in the air, he saw that the moon lacked only an inch or two of being full.
Once they arrived at the ranch, everyone except Aldon and Ellie scattered for their rooms. It was late and tomorrow, the chores had to be finished before anyone could leave for the rodeo. The two of them, though, took their time checking on the horses and shooing the chickens into the barn where the cougars and foxes couldn’t get at them.
“I’m so glad you came up with the plans for Molly’s birthday,” Ellie said. Aldon looked into her face thinking, you give off such a glow that no one could be unhappy around you, you beautiful thing.
“Did you like the movie?” he said, barely controlling his voice, which wanted to go gravelly on him.
“I loved it,” she said. “It was better than, “The Sheik.” Kenny did a wonderful job with the music. How can he know what to play? ”
“It’s improvisation. You’re good at that too,” Aldon answered.
“I suppose a person could get the hang of it. Has he ever talked to you about it?” Ellie wanted to know all the details when it came to music.
“The movie companies send accompaniment sheets, but Kenny ignores them and plays by ear. He says that as he watches a movie, his brain supplies the melodies and his fingers tickle the ivories. He believes movies will have the music recorded in them, somehow. He wants to go to Hollywoodland and be a part of that.
“I liked the flying carpet,” Aldon said. “I don’t know how they did that … wires, I guess.” He took her hand in his. “You know, kid, if they were really flying that fast, they would have fallen off the minute the rug lifted off the ground.”
“Oh, you’re so romantic,” Ellie gave a saucy toss of her head.
“Thank you.” He told her. “I think I am.”
The grandfather clock in the hall sounded twelve times and still they sat gazing into each other’s eyes.
DiVoran’s Promise Posters, Paintings from Go West as well as other art can be purchased as note cards and framable art