On this Halloween night, the air is chilly and a steady rain is falling. It’s not likely that many trick or treaters will come calling tonight. However, I’m ready. The porch light is on. Candles are lit on the front deck as well, welcoming beacons in the twilight.
Indoors, candles continue the cheery warmth throughout the house, a cozy barrier against the darkness and the chill. And on the entryway table rests Mimi Leta’s vintage aluminum bowl, filled with packets of fruit snacks.
A Bowl for Popcorn
I quickly learned two things about Leta Moore, the kindhearted, generous woman who would become my mother-in-law: she enjoyed cups of hot tea, and she adored a bowl of popcorn in the evenings.
Greg’s dad, Bob, popped corn over a burner on the stove. He added kernels and a bit of oil to a rectangular metal box with a very long handle. A wire mesh cover kept the popcorn in place, which was crucial. As the oil in the pan heated up, Bob shook that container vigorously, until every kernel popped.
While Bob popped the corn, Leta melted a small amount of butter in a pan on the stove. The fluffy popcorn was transferred into the aluminum bowl with the floral border, drenched in butter and sprinkled with salt. It’s the only bowl I ever saw Leta use for her special treat. She shared the popcorn, of course! I always smiled, however, over her obvious enjoyment of this simple snack.
Vintage Aluminum Salad Bowl Set
After both of Greg’s parents passed away, I found the old bowl in a cabinet in the kitchen. Memories stirred as I held the container. Researching the keepsake tonight, I learned the big bowl was actually part of a set. Manufactured in the 1950s, the aluminum set included a large bowl with the stamped floral border, and four smaller salad bowls.
Greg vaguely remembers the smaller bowls, but we did not find them in the house as we packed up items. The larger decorative bowl came home with me. Although I don’t pop my own corn, and only occasionally eat a healthy non-GMO brand of popcorn, I have precious memories of Leta associated with this simple item.
And, the old bowl is the perfect size for holding Halloween treats.
As I predicted, the cool, rainy weather kept most of the children indoors or influenced their parents to take them to indoor venues, such as the mall, for treats. That’s okay. I’m enjoying hot tea and cozy candlelight, and I have a new book to crack open and read.
A few trick or treaters have braved the elements and knocked on the door. I’ve seen Spider-Man tonight, and a princess, monsters and two young ladies wearing long gorgeous dresses and lavish makeup. It’s fun to step outside, with the vintage bowl full of treats, and speak to the kids.
One young girl, about five years old, surprised me. She’s my neighbor actually, and this child already understands that life is magical and that it’s okay to be who she is. She dances in the rain and plays with my cats and always calls out a friendly greeting when she sees me outside.
As I offered her a treat, she sang a little song. And then she reached into her bucket of goodies and handed me a Jolly Rancher lollipop. “For you,” she said. “You are giving me a treat?” I asked. “Yes,” she answered, with a big smile. “I just want you to be happy.”
I’m still smiling over her sweet generosity. Mimi Leta would have loved this girl. I’m never going to eat that lollipop. It will serve as a reminder that there are amazing people in the world. And one of them happens to be five years old, and living next door. I am happy.