Hot, late afternoon. The raucous thunderstorm of evening had not yet formed, nor had it's cooling rain materialized. Work in the heat of the day had left salt on skin and sweat stains on clothing. A parched throat wanted something cold and wet and a little sweet. A weary body wanted to sit for a while.
Far past lunch, but not yet dinner, it was a time of day that could hold a bit of respite, a bit of refreshing, if you stopped to notice (these things do require noticing). Nothing difficult or involved or fancy. Something simple. Something like popcorn and iced tea.
I stood in the hot kitchen and made popcorn the same way I've made it all my life, save for dill, the addition that came with adulthood. Popped on the stove, the hot corn puffs were poured into the enamelware basin and drizzled with melted butter, then sprinkled with nutritional yeast, a shake of garlic powder, a skattering of dill weed, and a respectable amount of salt, by batches, after each good mixing with the handle of a wooden spoon.
I thought of the bowls full of hot-air popped corn seasoned only with butter and salt that was the nightly ritual at my adopted grandparents' house. Popped corn and vanilla ice cream with chocolate syrup. You didn't eat them together, necessarily, but both were available, at the same time, every single night. (How wonderful a fantasy for a kid to believe her grandparents ate such things three hundred sixty five nights a year!)
I remembered the big stainless steel bowl in my mother's kitchen, the one we made bread in, the one we served watermelon from, the one that was big enough for popcorn for a family of five plus the usual extras. I wasn't tall enough to comfortably reach the kitchen counter, so I'd set up a work station on backless bar stools lined up in a row. Mix up the popcorn. There may be a few kernels left in the bottom of the bowl next morning, if we were lucky.
I thought of mothering three little boys while daddy was away and popcorn for dinner, popcorn for birthdays, popcorn for movies. I thought of three (somehow) bigger boys and popcorn for potlucks (just two weeks ago) and popcorn for parties.
And on an ordinary late afternoon in July, I hooked the rim of a brimful bowl of freshly-popped and seasoned corn on my hip, grabbed the iced tea and a pile of napkins, left the hot house behind and took to the shade of the big cottonwood tree.
1/2 cup unpopped corn, popped in a stove-top popper with 1 teaspoon of grapseed oil
Pour popped corn into a large serving bowl and stir in:
1/4 cup melted butter
2-3 tablespoons nutritional yeast (or to taste)
1/4 teaspoon dried dill weed
Scant shakes of garlic powder
Sufficient shakes of salt
Pepper if you'd like
If you're wondering:
Here's the popper we've used for years
My take on iced tea (in comments)