There are times in life when a simple smell, sight, or sound can instantly propel us to another place or time. It can make us laugh, cry, remember, and feel a variety of emotions. It is amazing what our bodies use to store this information and how in the middle of a car ride or walking through a book store we can be pulled to a moment in time so vividly.
There are other things that are more frequent and less dramatic, but still harbour the same results. A routine that we have that started when we were a child. A food we eat whenever we are sick, no matter how old we are. A movie we watch whenever we are sad because it always ALWAYS makes us feel better. These are moments of comfort and happiness. These are little moments that are so small that another person might just brush them off, but to us they are magical in nature and can remind us of what makes us happy, satisfied, grounded, and at peace.
Last night I had a realization about comfort. I realized that I have a vice that turns itself on after a stressful day with the kids or a long day at the office… it stems back to being a child. My mother did it. Her mother did it. Now I do it.
I pop popcorn.
I know that sounds weird. And, let me be specific. I POP it. I don’t throw a bag of microwave popcorn in. I pop it with a popcorn popper. Granted, my latest find allows me to get the same results as an air popper without oil in the microwave, but it is the same sound, smell, and rush or exhilaration that I have always gotten in the past. I pop my popcorn. I melt real butter. I pour on the butter, mix it up with a bit of salt, and I eat.
It dawned on me last night that my mom and dad used to pop popcorn a lot after we would go to bed. As I got older (about 7 or 8 ) I somehow became aware of this. They would tuck me in to bed, kiss me goodnight, and send me off to slumber. I would wait 2 minutes, then sit by my door and wait for the sound of the popcorn popper to start. Once I was sure the popcorn was sufficiently popped and properly buttered, I would head downstairs. 90% of the time, I would grab my own little bowl (it was stainless steel – there’s was a big pale yellow one from tupperware) and I would sit and eat my popcorn. They would then send me back to bed, where I would happily go to sleep with a bit of warm buttery goodness happily in my tummy.
My mom tells stories of how my grandmother used to pop popcorn and not finish it, leaving it in the oven. There was often popcorn in grandma’s oven and we would go peak and grab a snack when we went to visit. I remember sitting on her living room floor with a metal lunch tray, a PB&J and popcorn from the oven, watching her “stories” with her when I would spend a night during the summer.
There is just something about popcorn that brings together fond memories of my family, happiness, and comfort all by pouring these tiny yellow kernels into a machine that heats them, pops them, and makes them edible. It is somewhat baffling and wonderful and amazing and odd all at the same time.
So, tonight, after I spend several hours trying to clean up the mess that is my craft room, I will once again pop some happy goodness, coat it in butter, sit on the couch, and spend the last few minutes before bed in comfort…