Lost Friends, Popcorn, And Christmas Connections

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Susan Dromey Heeter and her dog Sir Luc

By Susan Dromey Heeter, Joyful Musings

Earlier this week I met a four-year-old boy who, when I asked what he did for work, told me his job was “to plug in the Christmas tree.”

Entirely serious, he was so proud of his position, knowing that without his commitment to excellence, there would be no light, no connection. And this week I muse joyfully not only on the innocence of four year olds but to the importance of connection – both the literal and figurative light shed when we make one.

Last Saturday I had the opportunity to celebrate the wonderful life of Eileen – the beautiful woman of whom I recently wrote. And the connections she provided could light up many a Christmas tree, many a star, many a dark night. Her godson Albert spoke of her enduring friendship, his connection to her undeterred by her untimely death – the connection still very vibrant and alive.

Susan Dromey Heeter

And her connection with her coworker felt so warm, so joyful, I could feel their laughter when Maureen shared the story of Eileen’s connection to basketball, sharing that Eileen broke up with a guy simply because he did not know the meaning of March Madness.

I felt enveloped by celebrating re-connections with old friends and neighbors, laughing over dogs who roamed our neighborhood, recalling boys who grew so frustrated playing hockey on Forest Park’s Porter Lake, they walked the entire way home wearing their skates. I laughed with my brother over our connection of attendance at thousands of wakes, remembering how going to a wake was a night out with one or both parents, kneeling in front of a corpse a major part of our childhood.

It helps to make connections. As I write this column, I am surrounded by high school students who thrive on connections, who bask in the number of “likes” they get on their stories, who become like puppies when they connect with their friends in the hallways. They give fist bumps, slaps on the back, simple hand gestures to mark that, yes, there is a connection.

Today I found a connection via popcorn. I’d made some a few weeks ago using the only recipe I know: fine sea salt, white popcorn, vegetable oil. When a surly fourteen-year-old freshman started to give me the attitude as only a fourteen year old girl can do, she suddenly realized that it was my popcorn she’d been eating a few weeks ago. “That was YOUR popcorn?” she asked. “That was the best!” And as fate would have it, I happened to have the tools to make up some popcorn while we talked. We munched together and averted drama, anxiety, angst. Even popcorn can provide a connection.

And any job or moment that provides a bit of peace, of joy, of light is entirely wonderful. I muse joyfully today that your moment of plugging in the Christmas tree, feeling the sweet sorrow of a memory or simply munching on some popcorn allows you to a connect to joy, to peace, to light.

Susan Dromey Heeter, a writer from Dover who recently let her hair go au natural white, writes “Joyful Musings” for InDepthNH.org. Dromey Heeter is a secondary Spanish Teacher at Dover High School and the mother of two teenage daughters.  Writing has been her passion since her English majoring days at the University of Massachusetts in Amherst.  Dromey Heeter has lived in The Netherlands, Alaska and currently basks in all things New England, including the frigid winters. An avid swimmer, Dromey Heeter’s great passion is to bring back body surfing as most children have no idea how to ride waves without ridiculous boogie boards. She also writes about thrift shopping and all things frugal  in a column called “Budget Vogue” for the New Hampshire Union Leader.

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