Family Home in Chinook


Another Sunday tradition was the big bowl of hot buttered popcorn which was always there in the winter.

Dad would take a full can of Jolly Time popcorn (guaranteed to pop because it was sealed) and the long-handled screen popcorn popper down to the furnace when he knew the coals had burned down to solid red glow. He would open the furnace door, roll the wooden chopping block over for a seat, and with the giant glass bowl beside him, proceed to pop.

Dad would cover the bottom of the screen popper with Jolly Time, slide the screen cover closed, and carefully slide the popper through the furnace door, holding the basket above the red coals and shaking it gently.

When the corn popped it was like machine gun fire. What a sound. Only sealed Jolly Time popped like that, and had so few old maids, which is what Dad called any kernels that didn't pop. To this day I still call unpopped kernels old maids since I know no other name for them. I do now know however that it is not a very polite saying.

A can of Jolly Time would fill the big glass bowl to heaping, and mother would have the butter on the stove melting (about a half a cup). The popcorn was salted with mother's big baking salt shaker, then the butter was poured very carefully over the full glass bowl which was then attacked by us all.

The process used some decorum however, and there were rules of procedure. You could only take one handful at a time. If you dropped any you had taken too big a hand full. You could not stash any handfuls in a dish or corner. Each handful must be totally eaten before returning for the next. Each boy was entitled to an equal number of handfuls, but was not forced to eat if he chose not to.

Dad was allowed all the corn he wanted (which was considerable) since he popped it, and he was allowed to use a bowl of his own, which he could refill as often as he wanted, or until the popcorn ran out, whichever came first.

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