Wednesday, November 30, 2011
I was surprised
But we DID use the fireplace for one special thing - we popped corn over the open fire. Not Orville Redenbachers pop corn - but Jolly Time - which I think is still in the stores. We put the kernals in a good-size basket with steel screen, and the basket was mounted on the end of a long handle. The basket had a mesh lid which served to keep the pop corn from going all over the place when it popped. Then we held the popper over the coals or fire and watched the kernals expand and explode
in the basket. For a little guy like I was it was a handful to hold the popper long enough for all the corn to pop but when it was done it was wonderful served up in a big bowl saturated in real butter and a measure of salt. It seemed as though popcorn was always better in those days than it is now with convenient ready to pop packages right out o the microwave. Could it be that the open fire added something special?
Apart from great eating, we would use pop corn for making garlands for the Christmas tree. We'd get strong thread and needles and then string the corn on the thread. It took a lot of time to do this but, hey, there wasn't much to do what with television ten or twelve years away. Sometimes we came up with a different twist - we would use easter egg coloring to color the kernals different colors. It provided a bit of color and added a bit of variety. But the best thing of all with these garlands was when we interpersed the popcorn with firm ripe red cranberries. You had to sort them to be sure they lasted through the Christmas season. When the tree finally came down after Christmas we would remove the garlands and hang them on trees in the yard for the birds to eat.
I was surprised the other day when I found suggestions about popcorn and cranberry Christmas tree garlands on the internet. I thought things like that were long gone and it was nice to come up with a good memory of things I enjoyed as a little boy. Maybe there are a few people out there who share good memories of family projects that are fun to do and provide some essential family togetherness in a world where togetherness is often forgotten.