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Popcorn

One of my favorite treats for as long as I can remember has always been popcorn. When I really think about it, popcorn and I have quite the history.

I can still envision the silver popcorn popper Dad used to use. It made the best popcorn! Of course, my grandpa had something to do with that. He farmed popcorn in Illinois. To this day, I don’t know enough about farming to understand how corn can be specially grown for popping. But Grandpa had it down to a science. His corn kernels would pop up huge and rarely left behind un-popped kernels.

On cold Idaho winter nights, Dad would pop up some corn and dump it into a large rectangular baking pan that we’d all scoop bowlfuls from. I can close my eyes and see the flickering fire in the fireplace. But it was the popcorn that made the night special.

I even remember the first time I saw one of the newfangled see-through poppers. Their plastic dome was tinted an orange-yellow color. Probably for effect. And when I grew up and got married, I owned one. I’d learned the skill of putting three kernels into the heating oil. When those three popped, it was time to add the rest. I also mastered the recipe from my mom for caramel corn. After popping several batches of corn and filling up a large bowl, I’d pour on the caramel made from butter, brown sugar, and corn syrup. Sticky and yummy!

Popcorn isn’t nearly as fun anymore. Microwaved popcorn eventually replaced my popper. But now that I’m getting old and sentimental, guess what I asked for for Christmas? You got it. An old-fashioned popper. One that I can watch and wait for my tasty treat. I think I’ll try mixing up a batch of caramel again, too. And if Santa doesn’t bring me one, I’ll buy one. My grandson needs to experience the same joy I had. Wonderful memories in a simple snack.

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We Need Each Other

I’ve had many jobs over the years. The one thing that stands out in every one of them is the people I’ve worked with. I can honestly say that I’ve adored 99% of them. We won’t talk about that 1%. Some of the jobs weren’t exactly what I wanted to do at the time, but I made the best of them. The people around me certainly helped!

Now that I’m a stay-at-home writer, I have little interaction with other people. I relate to the characters I’m writing and talk to them. It’s enjoyable, but it’s not the same. So I make a point of getting out and having real conversations with genuine people. If I spend more than two days at home locked away with my laptop, I get cranky. Unfortunately, my poor husband pays the price of my grumpiness when he comes home from work in the evening.

What I’ve determined from all this is that we need each other. That should be a given, but trust me on this…it slaps you in the face when you’re alone for hours on end. I love my career, but I’m a people person and need to have that interaction. Besides, if I stayed locked away forever, how would I get inspired for my stories?

I often have people joke with me and ask if I’m going to write about them. If I do, they’ll never know. I pick up traits and add them to my characters. What’s really fun is that if I have something that happens to me that really upsets me, I can write about it. Plot it into a story. It’s self-therapy!

I hope you enjoy what you do for a living. I read a statistic once that indicated a very small percentage of people actually like what they do. They only do it because they have to. They need the income. (Of course, we all need that!) It’s sad that people spend the majority of their day doing what they don’t want to do. It reminds me of something I was told as a child, “Sometimes you have to do things you don’t like.”

I’ve been in that position. But even when I was, I put a smile on my face and made the best of it. AND I kept striving to reach my ultimate goal and follow my dream. Achieving what I set out to do wouldn’t be so fulfilling if I didn’t have someone to share it with. On a typical day my dear husband gets bombarded with chatter when he comes home. Most of the time ‘un’ cranky chatter. I LOVE to write, but I’ve learned to break up my days with time out in the real world and time at home with my laptop. It’s made a tremendous difference!

WRITE ON!!

We need each other!

We need each other!

A Tribute to Dads

With Father’s Day just around the corner, I started thinking hard about my dad and the role he’s played in my life.

As an adult, I can look back at his life with a different eye than when I was a child. As a child, I knew I was special to him. He called me “Green Jeans” and to this day, the memory of his nickname makes me smile. From the time I was in the sixth grade until I graduated from high school, I had a bedroom in the basement of the house. We lived in northern Idaho at the time and my room was always very cold. He would frequently go to my room before it was time for me to go to bed, and lay on my bed to warm it. So by the time I went to bed, I was able to crawl beneath warm covers.

I was never aware of the difficulties he’d had to deal with. Sure I knew that there had been a bad thing that happened, but what child can fully understand a disaster that took away many of his friends and co-workers? In 1972, a fire took the lives of 91 men in the Sunshine silver mine in Kellogg, Idaho. My dad was a safety director at the mine at the time. He’d just returned to work there after several years away. Just writing about it wrenches my heart. I know that the memories still haunt him, but he’s devoted his life to training others in hopes that this will never happen again.

I’m fortunate that he’s still living. He’s 82, but I swear he doesn’t look a day over 60. We live far away from each other, but he’s in my heart every day of the year. He’s always been a bit troubled by the fact that I chose to pursue the creative arts instead of going to college. He’s the practical one in the family and wanted to be sure I could support myself. So, he wasn’t quite so enthusiastic when I wanted to move to Nashville to pursue music. Still, he helped me drive across the country in a U-Haul and didn’t complain.

Yes, Dad is practical, and smart as a whip. But bottom line, I believe more than anything, he wants me to be happy. Isn’t that what all parents really want for their children? Moms worry in different ways than dads. But I know dads worry, too.

I’ve read that more flowers are delivered on Mother’s Day than any other day of the year. Dad’s usually don’t get flowers, (more like ties and after shave), but please be sure to give your dad a hug. That level-headed man needs it!

And if your dad has passed, cherish his memory. For those of you who are dads, don’t forget to hug your kids. And if you live in a cold house, maybe you can warm their beds for them. Most importantly, love them and teach them how to fly.

 

Me and Dad

Me and Dad