Monday, January 11, 2016

Popcorn Time

With the coming of the New Year the topic of our evening walks was often about the perception that time is flying by.When did it start flying? Is there a physical appearance to time flying? Will time fly by even faster every year? Will Tom’s recent (bizarre) project to understand Einstein’s Theory of Relativity help us out or confuse matters even more?

December’s weather was warm and dry so our walks were long and leisurely with lots of time to chat. Then came the New Year and right away the weather changed. Heavy, grey clouds kept the sun away and there were waves of rain or mist. Going out for a walk meant heads down, hands shoved in pockets, feet set on a course, and little interest in conversing. 

Sunday the 3rd was damp and dreary. At some point it started to pour outside and we had missed our opportunity to take our walk. Instead we kicked the dogs into the backyard to take care of their “business” and we settled in to build a big fire in the fireplace. A rainy, cold day, a warm hearth and a leisurely pace to the day of course led to the notion of popcorn.

Now popcorn is not a common snack in France. It’s tricky to find and when served at all it is served in a tiny bowl for adults as a cocktail snack or at the movies, in a small box only, covered in sugar - never salted. 

I mentioned that it was a popcorn moment and Tom said, “We should make an effort to find some.”  I was pleased to be able to slyly reply that I had some just waiting. To cap it off, Tom remembered that we have two cans of Dr Pepper purchased in a specialty store in big city Perigueux..

It’s been years since I popped popcorn. I pulled out an old pan, heated the oil just so and poured in a reasonable amount of kernels. “Ok’ - as my GrandDad would say - “let her rip….”
I remembered that I needed to be patient, to take a deep breath and let time pass slowly until tink, tink, listening to the slow build up of kernels hitting the lid and just as the tinks changed to a full blown, pop, pop, pop,pop,pop, to start shaking that pan like crazy. Along with the exhilaration of the sound, my anticipation of the buttery corny taste was getting the better of me. But patience was still needed until I could hear those last few poof, poof in the overcrowded pan.

Oh that smell of butter, toasty corn kernels, and just a tinge of just so burnt. 

With the big bowl between us in front of the fireplace time stopped, maybe it even went backwards. 

I was there in the kitchen with my Grandfather and his brothers. Our weekly Sunday outing to the Farm where he had grown up. There was not a care in the world and time was nowhere to be seen. The wood stove was warm and toasty, the old men laughed and joked with each other, and the children gobbled up mouthfuls of that funny treat of popcorn.

That same feeling blanketed me here in front of this roaring fire. Those old men were with me for a few minutes. I could feel the luxury of a rainy Sunday afternoon. Tom and I talked about memories and we had a notion of why time is flying. To lean a little on the lyrics of a pop song, memories are the air underneath time’s wings. The more you have, the faster you fly.  It’s a good thing that popcorn provides a nice bit of tasty turbulence to slow time down a little.


heidihurl said...

I am there with you on this.. beautiful story.
No one, that I know of, loves popcorn more than I do.. in fact, just got home from school and popped a big bowl and reread your story. When I was in Mauzac, the area was surrounded with fields of "goose corn".. I was so determined to get SOME sort of corn into my system.. I was craving it. I pulled an ear.. boiled it... it was HORRID. So much for getting my corn fix.

Kathie K said...

Your wonderful memory made me recall my grandfather on my mother's side who was born in 1889. It always seemed surreal to me her parents were born in the previous century. No matter that, as my granddad embraced technology. When Jiffy Pop came out, he made sure to always have one hanging on the back porch for just those times we visited along with my three cousins. He loved to watch the aluminum foil expand as if it were magic. It may have seemed so to someone who had driven a horse and buggy when he was in his 20s.

susan vieth said...

Kathie - It was almost always Jiffy Pop! My Grand Dad was born in 1902 so he just missed that changing of the centuries, but I think the marvel must have been the same.
And Heidi, we can't get sweet corn here for trying! My neighbor thinks it only comes in a can. Hope fully next year I'll have a blog on Tom's attempts at getting a good enough crop of sweetcorn to share with the neighbors. Out attempts so far have only yielded 4 or 5 sickly ears......