Snap, Crackle, Pop

SnapCrackle and Pop are the cartoon mascots of Rice Krispies, a brand of breakfast cereal marketed by famous cereal maker,  Kellogg. When I was a boy, and for many years before that up to the present, Kellogg has used Snap, Crackle, and Pop as advertising mascots for the beloved cereal for decades.  Who among us has not had the experience of the distinctive noise that cereal makes in our bowls when the milk is applied?

The elf-like characters were originally designed by illustrator Vernon Grant in the early 1930s. The names are onomatopoeia (i.e., the formation of a word from a sound associated with what is named, e.g., cuckoo, or sizzle).   They were derived from a Rice Krispies’ radio ad:

“Listen to the fairy song of health,

the merry chorus sung by Kellogg’s Rice Krispies

as they merrily snap, crackle and pop in a bowl of milk.

If you’ve never heard food talking, now is your chance.”

The first character appeared on the product’s packaging in 1933. Grant added two more and named the trio Snap, Crackle and Pop. Snap is usually portrayed wearing a chef’s hat.  Crackle often is shown wearing a red (or striped) “sleeping cap”.  Pop often wears a drum major’s head dress.  Corporate promotional material describes their relationship as resembling that of brothers. Snap is the oldest and is known as a problem solver, Crackle is an unsure “middle child” and known as a jokester, and Pop is a mischievous youngster and the center of attention. There was briefly a fourth gnome in the 1950s named Pow who represented the claimed explosive nutritional value of Rice Krispies, but he did not survive unto our present day.

Why this little history lesson on Snap, Crackle, Pop Rice Krispies?  I’ve mentioned many times that the Livonia Historical Park named Greenmead sits just to the east of our church property. It has provided for me, for many years, the benefit of having a nice, wooded place to go on my prayer walks.  There is a nature trail that winds through a significant wood, and if I get over there before sunrise or after sunset, I usually get it all to myself. It has been a blessing.

In the fall, the wood’s floor is covered afresh and anew with falling leaves. They, in turn, are compressed by the winter snow. During the spring of the year, as the woods returns to life with undergrowth, there is a period when I hear a faint kind of snap, crackle and pop coming from the ground, almost like very intermittent small raindrops falling on a crunchy leaf and then another… but it is not raining. It reminds me of Rice Krispies in milk.  This happens only a few days during the spring and, when I have heard it, I have long wondered what is making that snap, crackle, and pop sound?

As you well know, I am no scientist or botanist. I have been left to muse upon what is causing that sound. Here is my theory… perhaps silly… but here goes. As new growth in the spring imperceptibly presses itself upward from beneath the dry leaves, it reaches a point of putting enough pressure on a leaf or twig so as to move it ever so slightly. When that happens, a tiny snap, crackle, or pop can be produced.  Enough of these happening around the same time can produce (according to my unscientific theory) that snap, crackle, pop sound. 

Well, that is my theory. And even if this is not the answer to the question of the strange crackling noises at times in the spring, let me make a spiritual application based in the theory, nonetheless.  Just as plant growth to us is imperceptible (short of time lapsed photography), sometimes spiritual growth is imperceptible in a person until all of a sudden, there is a snap, crackle, or pop their life produces. There are times when I have a conversation with someone and come away thinking, “they are growing”.  There is a “snap” moment. There are times when I’m preaching or teaching and I see “the lights go on” in someone’s expression, indicating a new truth gleaned or understanding confirmed… crackle! At other times I receive a note or email from someone who is commenting or sharing a cogent thought and I’ll think, “there is a pop”.

The point is this; spiritual growth is often imperceptible until it reaches a point of obviousness. At that juncture, it becomes readily perceptible. That is what I call a “snap, crackle, pop” moment, and it is delightful.

Snap, crackle, and pop moments should happen through our entire lifetime. There is never a time, from conversion to grave, when we should not be growing, maturing, and advancing spiritually. Imperceptible at times? Yes.  But growing nonetheless and if we could do time lapse photography of the soul, we’d be amazed.


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