I stood in line at the Pioneer Theater in downtown Manteo with my 9 year old daughter as Mr. Creef stepped outside and took his place at the door ready to greet everyone as they passed through. He is the owner of the Pioneer Theater, and it has been in his family since 1918, when it was first opened. A line of cars stretched down the street, stopping in front and letting children out. Mr. Creef (H.A. to those who know him) shouted his hellos to parents and at what time the movie would be letting out. I stopped for a minute and looked around me. I smiled to myself, remembering many years ago standing here with my older son and daughter. My son, wearing extremely large bell bottoms, a wild colored shirt, and spiked bleach blonde hair with matching spiked jewelry (a Mother’s nightmare). H.A. came walking down the line greeting everyone as he usually does and stopped at my son. He stood there and looked him over from top to bottom while I held by breath waiting for the “tich tich” for today’s youth. Instead, H.A. smiled broadly, patted my son on the head and said “Don’t change for anyone.” My son grinned from ear to ear and turned to me triumphantly.
My daughter and I settled into our seats and happily chatted with friends and neighbors before the movie began. The light dimmed and everyone quieted down to enjoy the movie. As we left the movies theater, a line of cars waited outside with parents watching for their kids to exit. Children shouted goodbyes to friends while parents asked H.A. about next week’s movie. I love our small town and the small family businesses like the Pioneer Theater where it is important to be a part of the community and providing a safe family environment for all to enjoy. Should you ever visit the Outer Banks in North Carolina, give yourself a night out at the movies at the Pioneer Theater in Manteo.
The Pioneer Theater has one showing a night at 8 pm and never shows anything higher than PG13. Tickets are $5.00 per person.