The value of popcorn - Beside the Point


I miss going to the movies.

I wanna see the epic-reboot Top Gun: Maverick. I had something else ready for this week's column but my daughter and I got in a short dispute over the value of popcorn and it got me thinking buckets of tender buttered popcorn, and the inevitable flossing that follows.

Yeah, the value of popcorn.

Sometimes I think I'd pay the $15 to get in to a theater just for the chance to pay more for the popcorn. Even when you're not hungry... you know - dinner and a movie? But you walk in the doors and it hits you right in the back of the sinuses. Buttered hot popcorn.

I know the theaters are back open, but only my wife has received what the social media universe is now calling the "Fauci Ouchie".

She's only had it a couple days, and my daughter and I still choose to stay close to home until things are a bit safer. I don't think we'll fit any tier until this summer so it's masks and social distancing for us until that time.

But the big screen is the only place I want to watch Top Gun: Maverick. I'll take the leather chairs that warm your butt, and the Dolby sound. To be honest, I like to go about 20 minutes early, get a center seat, and shut my eyes.

I'm sure it's relatively safe if you're seated with immediate family, wearing a mask, and sitting at least six feet away from anyone else. I think they're required to space everyone out. Honestly, I wish they'd do that anyway.

It may be time to start safely doing some of those things we've been missing. We were talking just today that we haven't gone out to eat in more than six months. Sure we've done the drive thru and deliveries, but sitting down for dinner, having an Old Fashioned for dessert, while picking at your wife's blonde brownie, and the conversations that bring laughter are all part of families' mental scrapbooks.

All these things are coming back sooner than later, even though now it's much later than any of us wanted. But remember to cherish those times when they do finally arrive. Don't push it though. Be safe and follow health guidelines.

I follow friends on Facebook who are getting out and enjoying life as much as possible. I'm a little jealous of that, even though there is nothing stopping me except my own limitations. My sense of right and wrong just tell me that it isn't right yet.

But summer baseball will be back at Community Field and I rather enjoy the sound of wooden bats and decently priced beer. I hope to check that out this year as well.

I need to get back to dinners on mom's back porch with "all the boys", bowls of strawberries, cottage cheese, Sterzings and french onion dip, and whatever one of us pulls off the grill. The stories are as treasured as the memories they make.

My mom is 72 years old, and for those of you who read regularly, I was a little miffed that all our state legislators were offered vaccines before she was, (even before the state very quietly tried to slip government officials and staff doing business at the Iowa Capitol ahead of Iowa seniors between the ages of 65-74). What a load.

The state made the right move in putting those seniors back in front of the rest of the staff at the Capitol. Be clear, however, legislators have already been offered that vaccine, including the three local legislators Joe Mitchell, Jeff Reichman, and Martin Graber. All three said on Friday they deferred getting the vaccination until Iowa's seniors had been taken care of.

Well done, guys.

But mom's days with her boys and their families on the back porch are what brings smiles to her face. It makes the loneliness that has become a hallmark of matriarchs in our family tree bearable.

My intention is to keep everyone as safe as possible until we can get together without worrying about her getting this virus and not being able to fight it off, although she raised four boys, and beat cancer.

She's tougher than most. She's tougher than me.

So hang in there, folks. Memories are returning, Maverick's coming (that really should've been the Iceman cometh).

And don't forget the red vines. But that's Beside the Point.

Chuck Vandenberg is the editor and co-owner of Pen City Current. He can be reached by email at

beside the point, Chuck Vandenberg, COVID, editorial, opinion, Pen City Current, popcorn


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