The Drop That Fell; The Corn That Did Not Pop

It’s seen a lot, good and bad.

It was there for the earthquake in Tohoku, and for the tsunami in Phuket.

For the fiery destruction of the Twin Towers, and for the subsequent rebuilding.

For the turn of the millennium, whichever year you celebrated it. For the fall of the Berlin Wall.

For the explosion of Challenger. And Chernobyl.

For the landing on the Moon. For the killing fields of Cambodia.

For the assassination of JFK. And MLK. And Bobby.

For the silver, diamond, and golden jubilees of Queen Elizabeth II.

For the Green Revolution. The Digital Revolution. The Sexual Revolution.

For The Seven-Day War (Israel/Hezbollah). The American/Vietnam War. The police action in Korea.


For the Great Depression and for the Roaring Twenties.

For the Seven-Day War (Poland/Czechoslovakia).

For WWI. For the Spanish flu.

For the development of vaccines for tetanus, diphtheria, scarlet fever, polio, typhus, measles, mumps, rubella, chicken pox, pneumonia, influenza, shingles, hepatitis, AIDS. For the eradication of smallpox and for the tireless persistence of the common cold.

It makes me think of Mark Twain‘s stalagmite and that water-drip drop . . .

Twain on stalagmites; excerpt from Tom Sawyer

Sign at Kartchner Caverns State Park

Of course, it hardly matches a drop-by-drop geologic formation but it’s still much older than anything I expected to see on my pantry shelves.

Best-before date that appears to be Sep 1917

I’m unable to explain a bag of popping corn with an expiry date of September 1917 (like the month matters at this remove in time), but sometimes things just don’t make sense. We have to deal with them anyway.


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10 Responses to The Drop That Fell; The Corn That Did Not Pop

  1. barbara says:

    So many past unfolding events — and these plague (probably) years will be another fascinating passage of time and events we will (or won’t) live though. I cannot stop watching, predicting and wondering how it will all play out. It seems bad, but it really just “is” — worthy of attending, journaling.
    To find pleasure, humour, adventures in our circumscribed lives right now is akin to Emily Dickenson’s chosen world, who wrote, “My friends are my ‘estate’. Forgive me then the avarice to hoard them.”

    • Tom Watson says:

      None of our pantry shelves tell the whole story, do they. Your popcorn photo caused me to look in my pantry. I have a box of packages of Kirkland microwave popcorn with a Best Before date of January 7, 2017. I’m afraid to go pawing further in there right now for fear of what I might find.

      I suppose I should take comfort that popcorn is the one thing I won’t need to buy for the duration of this Covid-19 time.

      Just had another thought: No chance that popcorn might grow like Twain’s stalagmite is there? Yikes!

      • Isabel Gibson says:

        Tom – I have bulk beans (from a geological era in which I felt ambitious) with no date label. I checked online and, well, it seems, that if I moved them in here (as I did, 12 years ago), they are likely past their best-before date by several years. I’m waiting for this pan-crisis to be over before disposing of them . . .

        • Marion says:

          Try planting some of the beans, Isabel! I wonder if they’d germinate … I wouldn’t go expecting a giant beanstalk, though.

          • Isabel Gibson says:

            Marion – Now that’s an interesting idea. Maybe I could entice the squirrels away from the magnolia tree in favour of stale popping corn. The thrill of the chase, and all that.

    • Isabel Gibson says:

      Barbara – Maybe we should start a (virtual?) time capsule of things/activities/feelings from this period – I guess that’s your journal, isn’t it?

  2. Uhhh…the plastic bag is a big hint about its age.

    Still, fun to think about.

    • Isabel Gibson says:

      Judith – Yes, and the bar code thereon. 🙂 It was just one of those moments when I misread something and catch it almost (but not quite) immediately. Funny.

  3. Did you try popping it? I have popped popcorn of unknown vintage that was perfectly fine. It may have been kept in a glass jar rather than in plastic.

    Think of the Pyramids! Some of those ancient grains were still edible after a couple of thousand years. I believe they are still used to make some Canadian bread (wink).

    • Isabel Gibson says:

      Laurna – We haven’t tried it. Yet. I hear there is a plan afoot in some quarters.

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