Sunday night, while my hubby and boys hunkered on the couch watching NFL on the iPad, I pulled out the crippled Whirly pop and plunked it on the stovetop. The busted lid flopped up and down with a bang. I poured in the corn and oil, leaving them to heat up, and turned to cut the butter stick on the bar countertop. But when the first kernel “popped!” on the stove, I set down the knife, grabbed the whirly handle, and cranked till the kernels danced.
Just then Esther’s little head popped above the bar, and her fingers groped across the counter towards the knife lying next to the butter stick.
“No touch, Esther! Jon!” I yelled. “Can you get Esther? She’s about to grab the knife!”
But football-watching hubby didn’t hear me, so I dropped the Whirly-handle and reached for the knife just as Esther pressed her fingers into the butter stick.
“No!” I grabbed her hand as a kernel of popcorn escaped the broken Whirly like a flare. Esther giggled as popcorn fireworks exploded into the air.
What to do? Drop the knife and rescue the popcorn? Or just let it fly?
But a kernel caught the edge of the burner and a flame flared.
“It’s on fire!” I screeched.
My hubby heard me this time, flew into the kitchen like super-man on steroids, and grabbed the popper off the stove. I threw the knife in the sink, took a deep breath, and blew hard till the flame died.
I looked up to see Esther sitting on the counter in her butter-mural. She giggled, “Why you do that, mommy? Why you do that?”
Jon took one look at greasy little Esther and announced, “I’ll make the popcorn. Why don’t you get the movie out after you clean her up. What are we watching?
“It’s A Wonderful Life, remember?!”
He grinned. I snorted. Esther said, “Yucky fingers, mommy!” while wriggling her greasy digits in my face.
After cleaning up the butter-popcorn chaos, we snuggled on the green futon in the basement, munched our popcorn, watched George Bailey dance into the swimming pool, and laughed and cried as we pondered this crazy-beautiful thing we call Life.