Today, I’m so pleased to continue the DALS Family Rituals Series with funny lady Robin O’Bryant, New York Times Bestselling author of Ketchup is a Vegetable and Other Lies We Tell Ourselves. She lives in Greenwood, Mississippi with her three daughters (Aubrey, 11, Emma, 10, Sadie, 7) and husband, Zeb and has one of the more hilarious Facebook feeds out there. Take it away, Robin.
It starts with a splash of olive oil in a sizzling hot popcorn popper, the metal rod spinning around kernels of Lady Finger popcorn.
It’s Friday night–movie night– and all systems are ‘GO’ in the O’Bryant house.
My daughters rush from their bedrooms to the family room, dragging with them all manner of squishy chairs, well worn quilts and pillows galore. Stuffing for their not so little nests– the coffee table has to be moved to accommodate it all.
I rustle around in the kitchen, gathering the Milk Duds — to be eaten with a handful of salty popcorn, obviously — and ice cold Coca-Colas. The old-fashioned kind, in the glass bottles. The bottles scream nostalgia and take me back to the basement of the church I attended as a child. I remember standing in the musty stairwell, and twisting the lever of the old machine so hard I had to use both hands. The bottle would roll out to the side, and I’d use the bottle opener on the machine to crack open my soda– the lid dropping into the machine with a satisfying click.
Behind me, the popcorn starts to pop. A single kernel at first, building into that familiar bubbling pop as the kernels start to explode. I’m sure you can get Lady Finger popcorn (here, maybe and here) but ours comes from my father-in-law, Pop Pete. He comes to our house in his worn overalls, his beard hanging over the bib, with bags of the stuff, and raw, shelled peanuts he’s gotten from Amish Country. He gets his horses shod and buys enough popcorn and peanuts to sustain a small army.
My husband, Zeb, butters and salts the popcorn and we head into the family room, our arms laden with goodies.
The girls are nestled in their spots on the floor and we slide onto the sectional behind them– stadium seating!
The movie is chosen by general consensus, but the girls always want to watch, “a movie from when you were a child.” So we time travel back to the 80s with Back to the Future, Goonies the entire Indiana Jones and Star Wars collections.
It’s our tradition. And it’s important. Because life is busy and school is hectic and my husband and I often travel for work. Because of homework and gymnastics and art and church, and a million other things that keep us from simply sitting in the same room together, being a family.
That’s what I hope my kids will remember the most– the togetherness.
Thank you, Robin! PS: I’ve heard that Movie Night is a pretty regular ritual with a lot of you guys out there. What films have you had success with lately? Some of our recent hits: 42, Almost Famous, (for 14+), and any of the Bourne movies, which have been on repeat in our house for about five years now, thanks to Jason Bourne’s biggest fan, Andy. Please include ages of your kids with recommendations.
Related: When the Cat’s Away….
Pictured: Lauren Graham and Alexis Bledel in Gilmore Girls, another series worth building a ritual around if you have kids who are 12 and up.