Last night I tossed a package of popcorn into the microwave and as I stood there waiting for the last few kernels to explode, my mind recalled the process of performing this same task in those long past childhood days of fifty years ago.
We grew our own popcorn patch then, a few acres near the fields of regular corn. At harvest time we stored the small ears in one corner of the corn crib. About once a week the five kids in the family would race to the barn and bring a bucket full of shucked ears to the house. Then followed the task of removing the small, tightly packed kernels from the cobs. The older kids showed the younger ones how to rub the cob of the first ear and twist it just so in order to shell the rest.
Mother would have a hot fire built in the black kitchen stove by the time we were finished with the shelling. The cobs were always added to the fire.
When the big dish pan was mounded with hot popcorn, drizzled with a little melted country butter and lightly sprinkled with salt, the feast began. The whole family gathered around one pan, chattering, laughing, sharing school experiences, plans for the future, disappointments, and recent triumphs. We shared more than popcorn and fed more than we knew. It was a feast of family togetherness.