Stories from the Stringam Family Ranches of Southern Alberta

From the 50s and 60s to today . . .



Wednesday, March 16, 2016

Rolling Ball of Death

Warning: Use with caution...
“Gramma! Can we make some popcorn?”
Words so innocently uttered.
So casually agreed to . . .
Some of our grandchildren were over for the evening.
A movie was indicated. And what’s a movie without popcorn?
We are a popcorn family. We have a large, ‘theatre’ popper.
Fully capable of keeping up with the masses.
Gramma enjoys making it.
The kids enjoy watching.
Everyone enjoys eating.
It’s a perfect world.
But, sometimes, even perfection has its drawbacks . . .
The machine was in full pop. Kernels sizzling and swelling in the ‘cooker’.
Spilling out in a fluffy, white, delicious tide over the side and into the ‘hopper’.
Then . . . a tiny problem.
The twin lids over the cooker are merely metal flaps. Designed to hold in the hot, rocketing little explosive devices that are popcorn kernels. And to flip up as needed to let the deliciousness out.
One of these flaps got jammed open.
Little molten balls of death were spewing everywhere.
I had quickly ushered the assembled grandkids away.
And was approaching the machine, set on repairing the problem.
And that’s when it got me.
A sneaky little smoking-hot kernel.
And the term, ‘smoking hot’ is, in this case . . . not good.
It hit me above the collarbone, then proceeded to roll into my collar and from there, down under my shirt and into my bra.
Where it stayed as I tried, madly, to reach it.
The dance I performed is classic.
The blisters I have are noteworthy.
After things had calmed down, and noting my woebegone (Ooh! Good word!) expression, Husby decided to cheer me up with a story of someone who had it far worse than me . . .
It was in high school shop class.
Husby and his fellow classmates were being taken, carefully, through the basics of welding.
“Remember, boys,” the teacher said in. “Never, ever, weld over your head!”
Now the consequences of such an action should have been obvious. 
Right
And they were obvious. Except to Monty.
A few days later, he was happily welding.
Directly over his head.
Now I probably don’t have to explain that the temperatures of metal and binding substances used during welding reach temperatures of over 2500 (F) degrees. 1371 (C)
Ummm . . . hot. Really, really hot.
A piece of slag dripped from his project and down the open collar of his shirt.
Where it formed a small ball of death and proceeded to roll - consuming skin, hair and anything else it encountered - down the boy’s body.
Lodging somewhere way too near his groin.
Wrong
Screaming, dancing and frantically shedding clothes, Monty finally retrieved the little purveyor-of-death and spilled it out onto the floor.
While his classmates, teen-aged boys all, laughed at his discomfort.
He and his appendages survived.
Though they sported some rather impressive scars.
Husby was right.
Suddenly my little popcorn kernel took on a whole diminished perspective.
I have seven little blisters.
I’m glad I wasn’t around to count Monty’s.

3 comments:

  1. Seven blisters is still quite impressive. I'm with you - OUCH. And poor Monty. I wonder if the blisters or the laughing hurt worse ...

    ReplyDelete
  2. Ouch. On both counts. I have a scar on my left breast from spattered oil. I told him the oil was too hot, and was moving it off the stove. He disagreed and dropped the steak in. The resulting splatter burned. Through clothing. Sometimes I would rather be wrong than right.

    ReplyDelete
  3. I had to laugh because that was my dad's nickname and it reminded me of him because he used to weld all the time. Great story except the burning ball of fire in your collarbone!

    ReplyDelete

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