Photo by Lynda Sanchez on Unsplash

It's a running joke in my family that the only reason I go to the movies is for the popcorn. And while that isn't 100% true, it's probably close as I can't remember a time when popcorn wasn't an essential part of the experience. (I'll admit I couldn't believe it when I recently read that South Korea's banning movie popcorn in the theater!)

I can still remember seeing "Young Frankenstein" when it was first released (in 1974) at the Massapequa movie theater, which was literally at one end of an old strip shopping center. It bore no resemblance to the multiplex cinemas of today, and the concession stand offerings were very limited. It was dark and a bit dingy, and the seats were old and uncomfortable. But I didn't care because the popcorn made up for it. And while I sat through multiple showings of the movie (hey, it's still one of my favorites), I was grateful that my dad had given me enough money to get multiple popcorns as in those days, there was no such thing as the big bucket, let alone free refills.


Fast forward, and at the risk of sounding like I'm making light of the pandemic, one of the toughest adjustments was not being able to go to the movies, as it's always given me a way to deal with stress by providing a much-needed "escape" from real life. If only for a few hours. Now, thanks to the vaccines and enhanced cleaning and airflow procedures at theaters, I feel safe going back to the movies and my movie routine, which, I admit, is designed around my popcorn consumption. (Black would probably say obsession.)

First, I ask them to fill the large bucket "really high, please, I haven't eaten all day and I'm starving." Ok, so I probably did eat earlier, but I need some excuse for asking for a ridiculous amount of popcorn, don't I? Which takes me to the next part of my routine. If the bucket's filled to the point of overflowing, I know exactly the pace to eat it so that it lasts for almost the entire movie. (Trust me, I'm not kidding!) And then, the final part of the routine … I don't start eating my popcorn until the movie (not the coming attractions) begins. (Unlike Black, who races to finish her small size popcorn by the time the movie starts as if it's something to be ticked off a "to do" list.)

So, think what you will, but for me, the popcorn's a critical part of what makes going to the movies so enjoyable. And has become an amusing memory for my youngest daughter and me as many years ago when we were on the concession stand line, she asked me what size popcorn I was getting,

I love you, honey, and you're so smart, but that may be the silliest question you've ever asked me. And, quite possibly, will ever ask me.

To this day, she still remembers it, and almost every time I get home from the movies, she'll jokingly ask me what size popcorn I got, and in the same breath, answer the question. Because she knows that there's only one answer. The biggest bucket available.

So, when Black mentions Redhead Appreciation Day, I know it’s related to Red & Black and not her being “nice” and giving me a day off (or telling me that she appreciates me). And when she asks, “What is it like to be a redhead, Red?” part of me wants to reply, “What’s it like not to be a redhead?” because, for my entire life, I’ve been “Red.” (There’s a story there, but I’ll get to it later.) The honest answer is, well, I never thought about it, until now …

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Photograph of Jackie Aguilera courtesy of Jackie Aguilera


red headred head assets.rebelmouse.io

I have a confession to make, which I’m sure will make you roll your eyes.


Black's HeadBlack assets.rebelmouse.io

Interesting caveat and probably true.


red headred head assets.rebelmouse.io

Every time we meet with Jackie (Aguilera) from the Mayor’s Office of Adult Literacy and hear what she’s doing in the world of adult education, I feel like I’m back in school and having to take copious notes.


Black's HeadBlack assets.rebelmouse.io

I am more than happy to send you “homework assignments” as I come across relevant articles and research.


red headred head assets.rebelmouse.io

Thanks, but no thanks. I’ll stick to taking notes. But that does explain why you’re so knowledgeable about literacy.


Black assets.rebelmouse.io

But, reading information is very different from being at the forefront of literacy innovation. And, if we had never met Jackie, I never would have realized how literacy is more than the dictionary definition, and encompasses more than just reading and writing.
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Photo by Lynda Sanchez on Unsplash

As Black knows, going to the movies is my escape (and even sends me research about it), but she also knows that it’s all about the popcorn. So, it should come as no surprise that’s how I like to celebrate my birthday. And even though she’s not one to “celebrate” birthdays, she does indulge (or maybe the word is “tolerate”) people who do, and whenever my birthday falls on a workday, she gives me “permission” to escape to the movies.

Which is what I’m doing today on my milestone birthday, and although the “rerun” part of this post (below the line) was from last November, some things never change. Except … this year, as I’ll be waiting for the movie to start (and waiting to start eating my popcorn as I refuse to eat even a single kernel beforehand), I know I’ll be wondering, “How did I get to be 60 years old?!”

It's a running joke in my family that the only reason I go to the movies is for the popcorn. And while that isn't 100% true, it's probably close as I can't remember a time when popcorn wasn't an essential part of the experience. (I'll admit I couldn't believe it when I recently read that South Korea's banning movie popcorn in the theater!)

I can still remember seeing "Young Frankenstein" when it was first released (in 1974) at the Massapequa movie theater, which was literally at one end of an old strip shopping center. It bore no resemblance to the multiplex cinemas of today, and the concession stand offerings were very limited. It was dark and a bit dingy, and the seats were old and uncomfortable. But I didn't care because the popcorn made up for it. And while I sat through multiple showings of the movie (hey, it's still one of my favorites), I was grateful that my dad had given me enough money to get multiple popcorns as in those days, there was no such thing as the big bucket, let alone free refills.

Keep Reading ...Show less