Sunday, February 17, 2013

52 Blessings - Popcorn

I popped popcorn tonight like I do most Sunday nights and then Calvin and I sat down to watch an episode of Andy Griffith.  After such big noon meals on Sunday, supper is often popcorn.  But it is more than supper, it's . . . . well . . .let me describe it:

Every town seems to have its own lost gold mine story.  It's like the village security blanket; it seems to bring confidence to know that there is gold somewhere in them thar hills. Where I was born, Squaw Joe and Indian Sarah’s story is still told. The tale has many versions, but here is how it was told to me by my old-timer friends:

Indian Sarah was a good woman who married bad. She was a talented marksman. She hunted deer, then tanned and cured the hides to make beautiful handcrafted leather gloves. These she sold to the local merchants to provide for herself and husband, Joe.

Squaw Joe was a squanderer. He was lazy, slovenly and abusive to Sarah.

When times were tough, Indian Sarah would disappear for a few days. She’d return with a little bag of gold flakes and rocks with golden streaks. Though Joe didn’t work and lived off Sarah’s labors, he constantly wanted more. He also demanded that Sarah show him where she was getting the gold. She refused; even when he became angry, she held her ground. Joe attempted to follow her on the mining journeys, but she seemed to vanish and he could not follow her tracks.

One day, Indian Sarah was found dead from a gunshot wound. Squaw Joe says she was cleaning her gun when it accidentally fired.  But nobody believed him.  Everyone said Squaw Joe shot her in a fit of rage.

She never told anyone the whereabouts of her mine and it’s still out there.  All that gold, buried somewhere in southern Idaho.  People are still looking for it.

I admit there have been times when I have searched high and low for my own gold mine. I looked at our checkbook balance hoping I had miscalculated. I pulled out couch cushions looking for change. I considered selling everything but the kids. But, no gold mine. At least I didn’t think so, until one night many years ago when I was popping popcorn.

Cali walked into the kitchen, saw the popcorn and said, “I don’t like popcorn.”

At first I wondered how she could not like popcorn since she'd been eating it since she was a baby, and besides, what is there not to like about popcorn.

But my answered surprised me.  I said, “You know, I don’t think I really like it either, but when popcorn is popping it means everything is okay, so that’s why I pop it.  Popcorn means it's Sunday night and we're getting ready to watch a movie or go on a drive, or it means it's Friday night and we're getting ready to go to a ballgame (we took our own).  When I'm popping popcorn it means everything is okay."

I finished buttering and salting the popcorn and we went into the living room to join the rest of the family. I sat down on the couch - that same couch where I'd searched for coins, but found only stale popcorn, puzzle pieces, and crayon bits.  Cali announced to the family, “Hey guys, did you know popcorn is mom’s security blanket?”

She was right.  I'd been sitting on my gold mine all those year.  It took some sifting for me to see that being with my family, not the absence of debt, was my gold mine, but since then I've come to realize that I have lots of gold mines:  good health, citizenship in a free country, faith in God, kind neighbors, a warm home with plenty of food - my goldmines are innumerable. It just took some thinking to see them.

When people flocked to California in the Gold Rush of '49 hoping to find their own mines, their chances of striking it rich were as good as mine are today of winning the lottery.  Tonight I'm grateful for popcorn and sitting on the couch with Calvin watching Andy Griffith.  There is gold and then there is fool's gold and popcorn helped me see the difference.    


Jill said...

I don't know how you do it, but you always do!

Heather Williams said...

Jane, loved this post! I'd agree that popcorn is a goldmine too in our home...I've never seen my kids get so much joy out of squatting by the popcorn machine and watching those kernels bloom...oh the excitement on their little faces. You are so right, if we can just take even the simplest thing as popcorn to realize how blessed we really are, finding the joy in the small things, life is good everyday no matter what hard things we may be going through. Love your optimism!

melanie said...

This post is a goldmine. I love it. Thanks for helping me remember all the goldmines I've been blessed with in my life. Innumerable here as well.

Ande said...

I loved reading this. This was a great post. Did you know the sound of the dishwasher running at night is my security blanket?

I do love you. You're a great mom.

Becky said...

What a beautiful post! I think I love doing the dishes and folding the luandry (most of the time...and even when I don't feel like doing them, it makes me feel content that I have them to do) for the same reason. It means there is food to be had and a family and friends to feed. It means that I am blessed with a husband and children who have clean clothes to wear. Life is good! :-)