Kernels of Memories
Icome from a lengthy line of farmers, though I have never touched a stalk of corn. My dad learned to drive a tractor at age 9, working our family farm in eastern Iowa all through his boyhood. After 100 years in the family, its Century Farm status earned us an honorary plaque at the Iowa State Fair. But when I was a kid, the family sold it to a distant relative who wanted to farm it, so my memories don’t connect much beyond a visit or two.
Though I can clearly remember going to Aunt Robbie and Uncle Ron’s house and opening up a closet off the kitchen to find huge—almost garbage bag-size—clear sacks of popcorn to snack on. Being a kid, I was so jealous that we didn’t have them at my house. Those bags of popcorn came from Robbie’s side of the family. She’s the greatgranddaughter of Cloid H. Smith, the Jolly Time Pop Corn founder.
From that distant relationship, my whole family shares the popcorn love. I have memories of holiday popcorn balls, snowball fights in Jolly Time stocking hats and filling up on popcorn favors at Sioux City family weddings. To this day, Uncle Ron brings us a case of popcorn each time he visits.
Thanks to social media, I get to watch my own generation keep up our popcorn traditions. Seven years ago my cousins Beth and B.J. started a specialty popcorn company. Koated Kernels, now run by B.J. and Aunt Robbie, has more than 20 flavors of handmade gourmet popcorn. Seeing their videos on Facebook posts, in which they stir huge pans of popcorn and fold in hot liquid caramel, reminds me of those big bags in Aunt Robbie's closet so many years ago.
So while I still may not know an ear of field corn from an ear of popcorn, I will always have these little kernels of memories from growing up with popcorn roots.
And I will always have at least a couple boxes of Jolly Time sitting on my shelf, direct from Sioux City, waiting for my next movie night.
From that distant relationship, my whole family shares the popcorn love.
Jill Godsey shares her love of popcorn with her son, Beckett.