The high school lunch room was filled with the normal sounds of gossip, homework and young girls flirting with the football players. The tables set close together had the usual groups. The cheerleaders bopped to one close by the staunch jocks. The brainy kids sprawled books and papers amongst their trays of milk cartons and mystery meat. Insatiable teenage hunger makes any edible substance smell appetizing. Our ritual of scarfing down the food was an appreciated break from the drone of the day. This was lunch at Omaha Benson High School, home of the Mighty Bunnies; beware the hare.
Our table was the good kids. You could find there members of the math club, a kid who was in the academic decathlon, and art club members. Let it be known that all of us were on the honor roll. There at our table were also the faithful members of the Bible club held in the German classroom after school once a week.
As we were sitting there one day nothing special was happening. I looked around and took in the scene: bunches of kids eating, the cooks serving, and the teachers standing around. Usually the teachers were walking around a bit monitoring the students. This day there were all huddled together discussing whatever it is that music teachers, math teachers and science teachers / coaches talk about. My over active saintliness kicked in as I started to talk with my friends about the atrocity these humble public servants were committing. How could they just stand there ignoring what was going on? What if something was to happen and they were too consumed in their conversation to prevent it? I grabbed my spoon, filled it with some chunks of canned peaches and set it in launch position. I was only intending to provide a visual example of what might take place in the absence of their vigilance. I said, “What would happen if…” but I wasn’t able to finish my sentence. In my inexperience with mischief I failed to account for the juicy canned peach syrup that had wetted my fingers creating a slippery surface and loosening my grip allowing for a flick that made those peaches fly straight onto the buxom chest of the music teacher. The shock on her face as her hands flew up in the air confirmed the dreaded fact that I had indeed just thrown food across the lunch room. Me. The good girl. At the good table.
When I came to my senses I looked around at my friends. They all had their hands over their mouths and were laughing. I told them to hush. I told them to act like nothing had happened. I hoped the teachers would not notice us.
My original complaint with the school faculty was immediately rectified by this drastic, yet accidental, measure applied. They broke up their gib-gab party and began hunting for from whence the fruit had come. They visited the tables of the questionable and thus most likely suspects. The kids shook their excessively pierced heads and raised their black fingernails in surrender denying all accusations. The sports people with a reputation for practical jokes laughed at the idea but also denied all involvement.
It is blurry in my mind what happened next. The bell was about to ring. I had lost my appetite imagining an awful trip to the principal’s office to receive the sentence of my misdemeanor and forever have a black mark on my (up until now) spotless permanent record. This same imagination is playing out two ends to this story and it may be possible that neither one of these ends are the true one.
The first ends in a quick escape, gathering up my bag and tray and walking away with my still laughing friends unnoticed by the authorities. The alternate ending has a music teacher approaching our table as a last resort seeking out a snitch only to discover that the culprit was sitting right there awaiting her doom. In the second ending I see the good natured face of the music teacher breaking into a surprised smile and chuckling while letting out a, “Don’t let it happen again,” as she walked away shaking her head. Each ending left me without consequence. Whew!
Though I don’t have a clear ending of the incident I do have a bit of a follow up. For my next birthday I invited all my good friends over. We had been out of school for a few weeks and I had honesty forgotten about what happened amidst all the summer fun. That is until I opened a gift bag that contained two items: a can of peaches in syrup and a spoon. Oh, we had a good laugh!
And now, coming up on fifteen years after the blasted event my friend who happened to be sitting next to me at the good table that day saw it fit to send me a little Christmas present. Below you will find images of a spring loaded spoon (green of course; my favorite) designed to launch your lunch. I laughed so hard as I remembered that day looking at the funny contraption in my hand.
Thank you, Becky, my dear accomplice and die hard companion, for the perfect gift. Thank you more for remembering that fun time and making me laugh so hard. Thank you infinity for being such a great friend. No matter how far apart we are from each other I know our hearts are tied together forever. I love you!