A girl and her cat take on the world with nothing more than a cup of tea and a good book and enough dreams to fill the universe.
When I was living in Lemmon, SD and about six years old, I had decided that I wanted a snack. I was old enough and mature enough that my parents felt comfortable leaving me at home by myself for short periods of time. Very short periods of time, but home alone nonetheless. I loved popcorn and I still do and that was the snack I had decided to make for myself that afternoon. My mom was at the office and my dad was at some preacher meeting and I was hungry. I had seen my parents make popcorn before. You took the special popcorn pan, you had oil, you added popcorn seeds, you added heat and voila, popcorn. My family never was one for the microwave stuff.
I took out the popcorn pan after displaying my kitchen gymnastics of climbing on chairs and counters to look in all the cupboards before finding it in one of the lower cabinets. I took out the popcorn seeds, forgetting about the oil. I added a few to the pot. I wasn’t terribly hungry, so I just added about ten kernels. I turned on the stove top to high and stood there on my stool waiting for my popcorn to start popping.
Little did I know that outside, my dad was walking home from his meeting. To hear him tell the story, he was about a block away when he could hear the beeping of some sort of alarm going off. Not worried, he continued to meander home. As he got closer and closer to our house, the beeping got louder and louder and seemingly more and more urgent. He realized that those beeping sounds were a fire alarm and that those beeping sounds were coming from our house where I was home alone. He ran the rest of the way home, tore open the door, to see me waving a baking sheet up and down like my parents did to try and dissipate the smoke that my burning ten popcorn kernels were producing.
It took me a few years before I felt courageous enough to try and make popcorn again, but I’ve never forgotten the oil again.
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Brian Marggraf, Author of Dream Brother: A Novel, Independent publishing advocate, New York City dweller
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Stefan Falke photographs artists who live and work along the 2000 miles long U.S.- Mexico border to document the vibrant culture of the region on both sides. All photos © Stefan Falke (use with written permission by the author only)