When I was growing up we had an electric popcorn popper, you know, the kind with the big plastic dome so you could watch the corn pop. We loved that thing. I don't remember how we made popcorn before we got that fancy popper. Never mind that the outer layer of popcorn got soggy because there was no way for the steam to escape. It just built up in there and dripped down the sides of the dome. We would pop popcorn and take it to the family room and watch The Waltons, The Rockford Files, or the Disney movie of the week on television.
I also have wonderful memories of the neighbor mom who lived across the street. She was the mother of five boys(!) and seemed to know everything. The first time my mother left us home alone, my sister stepped on a bee. Our neighbor knew just what to do. She got something from her kitchen cupboard and put it on my sister's foot. Meat tenderizer. Who knew?
Another time I heard an unusual sound coming from her house. I ran over and peeked through her kitchen door. Her table was covered with fancy glasses all with different amounts of water in them. She was making music. I had never seen anything like it.
She was the mom in the neighborhood who always had fun packed birthday parties for her kids. We played games like pin the tail on the donkey and drop a clothespin from your nose into a Mason jar.
One time I visited and she asked if I wanted popcorn. Yes, of course. I love popcorn. We went to her kitchen and she got out a regular pot, put a little oil in the bottom and then the corn. Then she put a wire mesh screen over the top and slid the pan around over the burner. It was like magic. So old fashioned. She didn't need a fancy appliance to pop her popcorn.
I think the saying "It takes a village..." is very true. All of our experiences go together to form the people we become. Every time I pop corn in my big pot on the stove I think of Mrs Baker, my childhood neighbor, and smile.
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