In honor of National Popcorn Day (that's right, comrades, this very day!), I share part of a piece I wrote several years ago on this very blog, but which still rings true and right as I re-read my younger self's narrative. What a phenomenon. But this ends up being more in honor of my Grandpa Norberg. He was the quietly confident and well-esteemed popper of the corn in our family. To this day, I can still see his tall, broad, slightly bent form hovering at the dimly lit stovetop, twirling that bright red knob with such patience, such perfect anticipation, such joy at having his family near him. So friends, have some popcorn today, and if you can, hug your grandpa.
In the low, golden light of the small kitchen, as fingernails scraped the bottoms of brown and white melmac bowls and ice cracked in glasses, rich laughter echoed in their small home as Uncle Willard would mischievously plop a toy car in the popcorn bowl and some unsuspecting soul would fish it out. The laughter continued throughout the evening and traveled further still, out through the windows that were open to the dusky purply sky, now filled with stars and fireflies. The warm, grass-scented summer air blew through the room, bringing with it the moths that swirled and bumped around the ceiling light. We kids licked the salt off of our fingers, slurped the last of the creamy root beer, and settled happily back into our spots in front of the television, our little bodies' shapes now flattening the same shag carpet. Eventually the bowls and glasses were pushed to the side as the adults played Dominoes or Rummikub around the kitchen table. I always snuck in and, from the safe place behind mom's shoulder, watched grandpa's extra-large hands scoot and nudge the game pieces with wonder, dazed by the white dots on the black. What could the point of this game possibly be, other than making a small model of a very complicated road system? I truly marvelled and just didn't know, but it was still fascinating as they seemed to be part of a secret club, holding numeric mysteries and gaming knowledge within their smart heads, a status to which I could only hope to aspire, just someday.