Twelve days before Christmas I sat on a couch next to Molly cursing a little as I strung stale popcorn on thin thread that kept slipping from the confoundingly small hole of its needle.
She leaned over and calmly said, “You know, I find this very relaxing. I don’t mind finishing myself.”
“Absolutely not,” I said. “I’m going to help…Ouch! Dammit!”
In the end, Molly strung almost all the popcorn, while I peppered her with annoying questions like, “Are you sure you want to do all this work?” and “Isn’t it going to take a lot of popcorn stringing to fill that tree?” and “Can we re-use this next year? Otherwise, it just seems like a lot of bother.”
Ten days before Christmas, we looped the popcorn strands on our tree. I admired it through the open family room doors as I sat at our dining room table; I checked it out from the sidewalk outside our house; I sat on our family room couch all alone in the dark just staring at that beautiful tree.
“This is my favorite tree we’ve ever had,” I said repeatedly through the holidays.
It turned out to be a Popcorn Christmas, which might be the very best kind.
My mother in-law unwittingly set the holiday theme early, when she spoke up at a resident’s association meeting.
“You really should serve popcorn at the Popcorn and Movie nights,” she said. Renown for her pleasant nature, Mary Jane almost never complains. “I just wanted to get my name in the minutes,” she joked.
But, really, the woman loves old movies and fresh theater popcorn, and her family loves her.
So, 2015 became a Popcorn Christmas for Mary Jane as well.
From out west came boxes of Cracker Jack, from down south barrels of Garrett’s Popcorn, and from the New York grandson a subscription to a popcorn of the month club.
Grandma Mary Jane will have her fill of delicious popcorn in 2016.
And, we hope you do too. Throw a few kernels in a kettle, cover them in your choice of delicious oil and pop yourself a batch or two.
Good, old-fashioned popcorn doesn’t cost much; it just takes a little time.
As Molly and our proud tree, still sagging with ornaments that tell the story of our lives because I’m loathe to take them down, knew all along –
It’s worth it.