Saturday, December 22, 2012

Popcorn Strings....

My most memorable encounter with a visitor this Christmas at Old World Wisconsin was in St. Peter's Church. The small church decorated in Victorian fashion was filled with visitors. Many gathered around the tree near the alter.

A woman moved through the crowd towards me. She was tall, slender, blonde, about my age in her early 40s and wearing a lovely knit wool cap.   Her eyes just sparkled with wonder. "Excuse me, may I ask you a question?" she asked in a beautiful accent. I smiled, "Yes, of course." She proceeded, "Did they really decorate the tree with popcorn? Is it really a tradition?" I followed with, "Yes, it was quite common among Americans." She smiled more brightly, "I am from Russia. We did not have popcorn until after the Soviet Union fell. It was a special treat."

My first thought was simply "Wow". Choosing my words carefully, I answered;  "Popcorn has been a common, inexpensive treat in North America for quite some time. A string of popcorn is a very inexpensive and an easy decoration that anyone can make. I imagine it was not allowed in the Soviet Union because it is very American."

"This is true", she smiled. "These are the things we discovered after... It is sooo beautiful. I cannot believe they had so much. I must do this at Christmas. Thank You."  With that, she quickly moved back through the crowd to gaze at the tree for a second time.

The exchange was so brief  and yet, so meaningful. I am not sure that I am able to capture the wonder and excitement that was present in her voice or on her face over a simple string of popcorn.

We do not always take the opportunity to see our world through someone else's eyes. In the moments that we do take the time, we are often reminded....One person's mundane is another's magic.

Merry Christmas

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