“This isn’t going to end up in your blog, is it Mrs. Lawrimore?”
My daughter Trellace and her friend Kaitlin, having participated in the annual five-mile Crop Walk, returned to the church prior to the evening’s activities. Hungry and with time to, ya know, burn, they found a bag of microwave popcorn, set the timer to two minutes, and stepped out of the room. When they returned, the popcorn was toast, and the whole fourth floor told the story. You’ve smelled burned popcorn, right? There’s no mistaking it. It spoils every pocket of available oxygen.
That afternoon, I’d come to the church early, a rarity for me. A few minutes after I arrived, Kaitlin rushed up to me.
“Mrs. Lawrimore! Help me!”
Kaitlin explained that she and Trellace had pretty much scorched the upper floor of the church, and then Trellace had rushed off to hand-bells, leaving Kaitlin with the smoking bag. Any minute the fire alarms would go off, bringing Asheville’s finest to our doors.
Half an hour later, we’d made good progress upstairs in the youth center. With windows open and fans going, the air quality was considerably better than it had been. But alas, it was too late: the smell had made its way all the way through the church. Everywhere, people were asking, “Something burning?” or “What’s that smell?” Kaitlin and I just smiled, shrugging our shoulders.
Thirty seconds. That’s how long it took for the popcorn to go from tempting teenagers to tempting fire fighters. When it began, it seemed like such a safe activity. In fact, during the two minutes ante-burning, down the hall from the scene of the kernels, Trellace and Kaitlin had mocked up what they thought was an absurd scenario.
“Wouldn’t it be funny, hahaha, if that popcorn burned, hahaha, and we went back to the youth room, hahaha, and the whole place had burned down, hahaha.”
“Yeah, like that could happen, hahaha.”
“Wait,” (laughter waning) “How much time did you put on that timer?”
“Two minutes, why?”
“NOOO! It only takes a minute and a half!”
“Oh come on, what’s 30 seconds?”
It shall be made with oil on a griddle; you shall bring it well soaked, as a grain offering of baked pieces, and you shall present it as a pleasing odor to the Lord. Leviticus 6:21 (NRSV)
Addendum: This happened at First Baptist Church of Asheville–a 65,000 square foot facility. Think about it. That’s some powerful stink!