When Surprises Pop Up

I stretched out and got comfortable with my fiction novel and waited in the main lobby of the VA Hospital while the pulmonary experts tested my husband in the lab.  I lifted my head to see a glorious sight.  A maintenance man wheeled a popcorn machine right in front of the dark mahogany leather couch I sprawled out on.  He plugged in the unit and soon the lobby smelled of fresh buttered popcorn.

I’m a sucker for popcorn, my favorite snack.  There I sat alone next to the man and his machine and hoped he would use my taste buds for a free test run of that first batch of yellow popped delight.  What’s his purpose to make popcorn?  Will he deliver it to a staff meeting somewhere in the building?  Or was all this about fixing the machine?  Was it broken?  Who knows?

The noise and smell of fresh popcorn drew attention of doctors and staff passing by wearing scrubs with badges hanging in the front like necklaces.  An Old guy with a grey pony tail, kerchief headband and vest with tons of buttons on it, probably a Viet Nam veteran, walked fast hurrying to his appointment.  

No one invited me to try the snack.  Do you know why?  The popcorn guy, not a maintenance man at all but a VA veteran, volunteered his time and machine to raise money for VA volunteers.  He takes them to dinner in nice restaurants.  The first customer, a doctor, dropped a buck in the pail for a large bag.  I approached him and he taught me the ropes.  

I paid for a large bag and kicked up a conversation with the popcorn maker. 

“If I don’t average at least $110 per day I’m surprised,” he shared.

Wow!  The volunteer dinners must be very fancy, I thought to myself.

Just then my husband found me, not surprised, eating popcorn with the friendly vendor.  It’s his favorite snack too.  He grabbed my bag and dug in!

The moral of this story shows nothing in life is free.  We must pay.  The veterans paid for our nation’s freedom offering their very lives. 

Thank you, veterans.  Thank you to those currently serving our country too.

Happy birthday to the United States; may our freedom that many fought for remain.  May we always be one nation under God.

Happy Fourth, everyone!


  1. Wow, Mary ... I can practically smell that warm buttery goodness down here!

    That veteran/vendor's popcorn stand sure warms my heart. In what's probably a high-stress environment, he's providing comfort food for the stomach and the soul! Now, that's what I love about the American "think outside the box" spirit.

    Happy Fourth of July, m'friend!

  2. I love popcorn, Mary! Popcorn is healthy, and a comfort food, how perfect! Happy 4th of July to you, dear friend. :)

  3. I think it is wonderful what service he provides with the popcorn. I would have bought a bag myself if I had the opportunity. I am always so thankful for those that served to keep us free.


  4. Happy 4th July! I too love popcorns. I could snack on it non stop. Very addictive.

  5. So nice to hear stories like this one Mary! So thankful for those who served to help keep us safe and free.

  6. Oh, what a sweet story, Mary! I do trust Tom got good results from his test, bless his heart. I am praying for both of you and sending you lots of love!

  7. I stared for a while at the pic of the flag with the sunlight penetrating it at the shape of the cross. I thought what beauty and truth! That America is a great nation because it is from Him. Sad to say, with history being changed by selfish ones, a lot might not agree with me anymore...

    It's amazing isn't it, how much we notice when we pay attention to little things even during those times as we wait in medical clinics? How much we learn unexpectedly if we pay attention to what God is telling us in silence of course, not in a spectacular way as He is known though He is mighty, and learn so much from such experiences. Humbling at times.

    I pray for anyone that I see crossing the streets, brushing shoulders against theirs at grocery trips, or anywhere I go that I feel in my heart are veterans, old or young, knowing how much they and their families sacrifice for our nation's freedom. The battle is real and though many doesn't like wars, it is inevitable as the battle starts spiritually.

    Thank you to bro. Tom for his service. I know that the greatest reward is not from anyone but from Him so I know He is watching over him and your family and same with others who served and are currently serving for His glory. "Where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom..."

    Even if that flag is burned, or trampled upon, shamed, spat on, no one can ever stop the Light that shines behind it. Thank you for this beautiful post. And for sharing with us those hearts you meet that continue to serve and selflessly give all they have. I know, when one does that, his or her heart surely tasted how good God's love is. Love to you sister.

  8. Yup, I'm a sucker for popcorn too! I like the Smart Balance kind, with just a hint of butter! Yum, yum!

    This is a great day to remember how blessed we are to be citizens of this grand country. We must never take our freedom for granted - it was bought with a great price.

    And that holds true for our salvation, too...


  9. You're making me hungry for popcorn. Thank you, Tom, for serving our country. We'll have to get together and share our stories.

  10. I'm amazed at how a simple act results in such blessing all around. God bless the popcorn maker and his ministry!

  11. This was a great story and perfect for the 4th of July!
    Thanks for stopping by today and your sweet comment!
    Enjoy the week.

  12. AS usual, you had a lot of friends and shared a lot of stuff and you were a special friend for them. Thank you. I rarely can be here now... the dementia and body stuff is an everyday challenge, to say the least. Anyhow, again, thank you for sharing so wonderfully!

  13. What a clever way to raise funds for the Vets, and offer them a free dinner. I doubt if he wastes the money on expensive restaurants, when so many now offer two meals for $20 with appetizer included. I can taste the pop corn and the smell of freshly popped will always get a customer. Thank you for sharing with us here at Tell me a Story. I do pray for your husband that he gains strength and that you both are blessed.

  14. Mary, now ya got me wanting popcorn!!! I love popcorn. Sometimes I look for a reason to go into our local Ace Hardware store because they make popcorn daily and give it away free...(I guess to paying customers though) LOL! Oh I adore your story though about the popcorn maker and what he does to help others. How precious. Hugs and blessings, Cindy

  15. Excellent post, Mary. A wonderful reminder that our Father and Savior paid for all of us in the most loving and sacrificial way possible. God bless America and those who speak His truth.


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