kernel of truth

Lauren just sent me this New York Times article on popcorn lung. She said that Dave thought that we should send it. Like the man in the article, I wasn’t completely sure how Dave knew about my love for popcorn. But then I remembered our extensive discussion about our elementary school research projects while we were staying with them a few weeks ago.

I immediately assured Lauren that I was safe. I only LOVE popcorn popped on the stove top in an old pan with hot oil. My memaw would pop it for us almost every day after school. In fact, I wrote an extensive paper about the popcorn bowl that I used as part of a material culture class in graduate school. And as I write this, I feel like I have referenced Memaw’s Popcorn Bowl before in this blog. It was also published in No Straight Roads, a publication of the Stokes County Arts Council.

I do have some microwave popcorn on hand, just in case the craving gets out of control. But I always go for the one that has the least amount of butter smell available. Unlike Mr. Popcorn, I don’t like the smell. Maybe it was just my body protecting myself from an obscure disease.

I also forwarded the article to Shannon, whose parents eat popcorn every single night. But I am pretty certain that they only use microwave popcorn in emergency situations, like when they are visiting Shannon and staying in a hotel. Now that I think about it, the people who should really be concerned are those with cubicles closest to the microwaves at work. Yikes!

Now back to Dave… one of my passions is to discover any link to a person’s current work with their childhood work. This is the essence of my four years of graduate work. I love this hidden kernel of truths. In this instance, Dave’s early work portfolio is on a shelf in their living room. So once I picked up the large ball of rubber, it was not hard for me to discover the stack of reports dating back to elementary school.

They were all carefully crafted with a similar binding technique. Each report had a cover made out of construction paper, which as we can all remember, is a slightly bit larger than an 8.5 x 11 sheet of paper. The cover is decorated with carefully stenciled letters for the main topic of the paper – Casimir Pulaski, baseball cards, etc. Below the arched letters there is also an illustration of the topic. Some where created with the aid of a stencil, which Dave later colored.

I was pretty excited to find these and after a long night of driving from DC to Jersey City, I read them to Dave, Lauren and Henry. They were filled with interesting facts. For example, I had no idea who Casimir Pulaski was other than from the Sufjan Stevens song. It was pretty late, so I can’t remember a lot from this informed reports. But I did love the baseball card report. I could read the passion that Dave felt about baseball cards in every line. As he analyzed the benefits of collecting and trading, I could see the link to his current position as an auto trade industry analyst. I wish that I had copies so that I could quote you. Or even some photos of the illustrations. Trust me, Dave did not hold back any secrets as to how to successfully find a few gems in old collections or at the flea market. Plus, I don’t think that Dave minded having his reports being read to him. I probably need to pick up where I left off if I would like to remain their favorite house guest. I am actually hoping that this will help get me in on the secret family blog.

Anyway, I finished the evening by sharing my major reports that I researched in the following order (I think): 3rd grade – cats, 4th – Michael Jackson, 5th – popcorn, and 6th – John F. Kennedy. I really wish that I had them on hand to share with my guests. Who knows where they are, but I will be on the lookout for you.

Update: Lauren sent me Dave’s list this morning. “I believe Dave’s oeuvre includes: Ostrich, Poodle, Oak Tree, Gnat, Baseball Cards, Samuel De Champlain, Vermont, Baron Von Steubon.”

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1 Comment

  1. Dave

    Its not quite the same with the stenciled cover and 2nd grade drawings and handwriting but here goes…


    A gnat is a tiny insect. Some gnats bite. Gnats have two wings and a proboscis. Gnats lay eggs on water, mud, tree holes, or on dry ground. One gnat called the punkie is almost invisible. the gnats that bite man are called sand flies.

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