Simple Times

20 Oct

Did you know that October was National Popcorn Month? I know, we learn something new every day. But when I think of popcorn and this time of year, it reminds me of the popcorn balls my dad liked to make at Halloween. Although my mom hated the sticky mess, and the clean up was difficult, it was definitely a simple fall activity that I remember to this day.

I can clearly remember the event of making popcorn balls. It was always a cool fall evening, and my brother and I had spent the whole day playing outside, running from house to house, not soccer game to soccer game. We had finished our nightly family dinner, the fire in the fireplace was blazing, and my brother and I had finished watching  It’s the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown, on one of the four channels that we could get.  When the show was over, we’d gather in the kitchen and start popping the corn. (No, not in the microwave, silly! We didn’t even have one of those then!) My mom would warm the oil in her big, green pot on the stove. Then, she poured in the popcorn. The lid was place on the pot as if a secret was about to happen inside the large pot. As kitchen air filled with the smell of warm oil, we waited; waited for the sound of the first kernel to pop. Once we heard the magical first pop, we knew the rest would not be far behind. POP, CLINK, CLINK, POP, was the sound the kernels made springing around inside the pot, forming into delicate white clouds. Before we knew it, the sound would slow, and popcorn would cause the lid to rise. The sticky fun was about to begin.

My dad mixed the syrupy concoction while my mother smeared margarine all over our little hands so the stickiness wouldn’t be permanent. The popcorn was poured and mixed into the sticky mess. Next, we dug in and began to form the popcorn into baseball-sized orbs that would really only be enjoyed by my father. My mother would wrap the finished products in plastic wrap and set them on the counter; many of which would be hard as a rock when they were finally eaten.

I don’t know how long the process took, and yes, it was a process. But to us kids, it was simple fall activity, filled with sounds and smells that will be forever ingrained in my memory. I will never make popcorn balls with my kids, but we have plenty of our own simple fall traditions that I know they will remember when they have their own family. What simple fall traditions will your kids remember?

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