Welcome back, my beloveds! I apologize for the slight delay, but February is a fun-filled month for us and I just wasn’t feeling it. I was in a little stale state as far as writing was concerned… even though we had lots going on! Birthdays, Valentine’s day, Family Day weekend, and I am proud to announce that an engagement has now been added to the month’s list! Our eldest son asked his beloved to marry him… and she, of course, said yes! How am I old enough for this? No comment. That purple hair is coming soon.
And so begins the muse… popcorn. Sorry, I suppose that connection needs to be made. After the great “proposal” we had a little gathering where the mother of the bride-to-be displayed little bags of popcorn that said: “He popped the question”. I’m sure you’ve seen the pun on Pinterest or at various shower-type events such as the one we had this weekend. Anyway… it was a fun little gesture that got me a thinkin’ all about that snack. Who discovered it? How? Why? Why is it the movie snack? Is it the only movie snack? And so I dug a little.
Let’s start with the variety. Popped corn is not the same as the veggie served at Thanksgiving dinner. The Zea mays variety everta, is the most common strain of corn used for popping. Originally domesticated in South America, people used to “pop” it in large kettles on the stovetop. MMMmn. Kettle corn is still the best form, I think. And the movie theatres? Well… somewhere around the 1890’s a guy called Charles Cretor created the classic street car “steam-powered” cart for selling nuts, candy and popcorn. That became popular when Mr. Dickinson began putting them in his theatres… a move that proved the snack was more popular than the actual movie ticket! It wasn’t until the 1970s that a Mr. Orville Redenbacher’s namesake brand of popcorn was launched for home use (now that tv movie watching seemed to have taken over from movie theatre going). Have you heard of that guy? Industry leader, for sure.
So what about that aroma? Remember smelling it back in the school or church basement and just knowing something good was about to happen… movie night, party period or something great. Ahhh… That smell just made you want to snack! Turns out it’s creepy chemicals affecting our brains. Popcorn contains high levels of the chemicals 6-acetyl-2,3,4,5-tetrahydropyridine and 2-acetyl-1-pyrroline, very powerful aroma compounds that make us crave the taste. These chemical compounds are also used by food and other industries as a marketing tool to make us “want” their products. Cue profitable theatre ticket sales.
Are you craving popcorn now? Well, just before you dive in the pantry for some Redenbacher’s, let’s think about this as our takeaway: Romans 8:28. We are like those little grains of everta corn to God. He knows that sometimes a little “heat” causes just enough stress to “pop up” good things in our lives. We need to expand out of our little comfort zone sometimes in order to become sweet and yielding. Like that microwaved bag, sometimes things just keep popping and popping up …. one thing after the other. Rest assured God allows it for something good. Always.
Here’s another thought. 2 Corinthians 2:15. We are to be that sweet attraction to others when things are popping up in their lives. The aroma of Christ should flood the room like popcorn scent in a theatre. It draws you in and makes you want to taste it. You should want to crave it. That should be the power of Christ in our lives. And it should be the center of my son’s new marriage adventure. So the party gift was ever so appropriate. I think I’ll go finish off the bag now. How about you?