Sunday, January 13, 2019

This I Believe: 31

Today, I got choked up over four popcorn bowls. The bowls were empty. They had been sitting on the top shelf of my kitchen cabinet for over a year. I hadn’t ever used them. And yet, there I was with my wife, crying when she handed me light brown, wooden popcorn bowls as we cleaned out my cabinets for things to take to Goodwill.

I cried because these bowls are one of the last links I have to my maternal grandparents. At some point during every trip to their house, those bowls were filled with popcorn. It was the best popcorn. It was air-popped and smothered with real butter and salt. Conversations had to stop when they made it because the popper was so loud. I eagerly watched my grandpa doll out the popcorn, in order to make sure my brother didn’t get more than me. I remember digging my way through the bowl to find those few kernels that were absolutely drenched with oil and salt. My brother and I would lie on our stomachs in front of the television and eat popcorn out of those bowls as we watched a movie. Since then, I’ve never had a popcorn experience as good as those.

In the year 2019, I believe in popcorn bowls. More specifically, I believe in those items that are so full of memories, they make you cry.

Being emotionally manipulated by powerful entities is nothing new, but I believe in my popcorn bowls this year because everything is vying for some of your emotional spare change. Whether it’s social media,  the day’s news, or trying to keep up with the inane all-day group chats, they all chip away at your emotional well-being.

Sometimes I get emotionally paralyzed by the cascade of things I’m supposed to care about. I hate that feeling. I felt that way as we cleaned out my kitchen cabinets.

There are going to be things in life you’ll use once and then forget about, like the Noodelizer. There are going to be things in your life that you probably should have thrown out a long time ago, like that loaf of Johnnie bread in your freezer from December 2017. There are going to be things you shouldn’t have brought to your life in the first place, like that bottle of mint-infused Captain Morgan. There are going to be things in your life that you think you absolutely need, but they only end up cutting your hand, like the mandolin slicer I bought at Marshall’s for five bucks. And there are going to be things you’ll have such an abundance of, that you’ll wonder why you had so many in the first place, like my many, many take-out tupperware containers.

But then you’ll have your popcorn bowls. And you’ll remember how great your grandma and grandpa’s popcorn was.

And everything will be just fine.