Ema Dov’s Popcorn

Mama Bear
Mama Bear

When JJ was first diagnosed with testicular cancer, I talked to a woman from a cancer center in California. She was very caring and gave me some advice, including the fact that I must be our son’s advocate. “You must be a Mama Bear,” she urged. “Ask questions. Insist on answers. Remember, you are fighting for your son’s life.”

I told my friend who studies Hebrew with me that I was told that I must be a Mama Bear, and she nicknamed me דוב אמא (Ema Dov), which is “Mama Bear” in Hebrew. I think it is a very beautiful nickname, and it reminds me that I must be a Mama Bear for my son.

Today I was a Mama Bear. To be honest, I do not know when a person is being a Mama Bear and when she crosses the line into being a jerk, but I growled a bit.

This morning EJ drove JJ to the Big City (but not the Very Big City) for his blood test. I stayed home to make challah bread, and lunch, and clean the house a bit.

After the blood work, they drove to the tire place and got two new front tires. EJ was told that the control arm on the left side of the car was pushing on the tire and shredding it. I don’t really know what a control arm is, but I do understand that the tire was shredded and ruined. The control arm will shred the new tires if we don’t get it fixed as soon as possible. So EJ and I drove to our friend’s and borrowed his truck until the car gets fixed. (EJ and his friend often help each other out.) EJ tried to call the service department at a car dealership before work but he got put on hold for 9 minutes and then shuffled around to various departments. He finally gave up in frustration and disgust and left for work.

Mama Bear Growl
I do not think I growled as fiercely as this Mama Bear…but I growled a little bit.

This is where my growling began. Because we don’t have much more time to get stuff done. Next week we will be with JJ as he has chemo for hours every day, and then EJ will have to go to work, and we won’t have time for anything else. So I texted EJ with a desperate Mama Bear growl and offered to call dealerships because we need the work done NOW. He told me which dealerships to call. One was in a city in the opposite direction and they couldn’t get us in until Tuesday, which totally wouldn’t work. Finally EJ told me to call the first dealership, which is where he wanted to go anyway. They do good work, they just don’t answer the phone well. In fact, the first time I called, I got disconnected, but I was able to  get through the second time and make an appointment to get the car fixed tomorrow at 8:30. It means getting up at 6:30 a.m.–another early morning–but I am so relieved to have the car repaired before chemo starts.

This weekend EJ has to finish hooking up the washer/dryer because I absolutely can’t be running to the laundromat during chemo. I plan to go grocery shopping this weekend, and clean the house really well on Sunday, disinfecting it as well as I can.

Comfort Food
Comfort Food

After I arranged for the car to get fixed, and had gone to the post office for our mail (JJ’s cases of Boost arrived today), and had brought in firewood, and had washed dishes, I made popcorn. Popcorn is my comfort food. Not microwave popcorn, but real honest-to-goodness popcorn made the old-fashioned way on the stove. I melted cheese in the butter and poured it over the popcorn. Oh, yum. EJ says I make the tastiest popcorn he’s ever had, the best in all the world, and I have to agree. I grew up in a family that loved popcorn, and I was quite young when I became the family popcorn maker. I know how to make popcorn.

My favorite popcorn story is when I visited my brother years ago, when he was in the Army and stationed in Colorado Springs. One evening we craved popcorn but he had run out, so we asked his wife to buy us some on her way to…wherever it was she had to be. However, she said she didn’t have time to stop at the store. We begged her, pleading that this was an absolute Popcorn Emergency and we wouldn’t survive without it. She drove off, and a few minutes later we heard the beep-beep of a car horn. We looked out the window just in time to see her throw the bag of popcorn out the window as she drove past. She didn’t even slow down. The bag of popcorn sailed through the air and landed intact on the grass. We joyfully ran out and retrieved it. I made popcorn. Yum.

Anyway, today I was stressed, and forgetful, and I poured the popcorn in the pan, put the lid on the pan, turned on the burner, and then went into the other room to sit for a moment. I listened for the popping to begin, signalling me to go to the kitchen and begin shaking the pan. After a couple of minutes I didn’t hear popping so I went into the kitchen to check. Smoke was pouring out of the pan. Oh, no! I had forgotten to add the peanut oil. I NEVER do that! The kernels were blackened and melted into the bottom of the pan. I scraped the hot kernels out into a bowl and put the smoking bowl out on the back porch, and then I scrubbed the pan and made more popcorn, this time remembering the peanut oil.


After a frustrating day, I no longer feel like growling. I am finally relaxing as I enjoy popcorn, my delicious comfort food.

Ema Dov's Comfort Food
Ema Dov’s Comfort Food

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