Thursday, December 17, 2009

Lunch Box

Brought to you by {W}rite of Passage

(Written in fifteen minutes!)

Grammar School Lunches –

You must know,number one, the school was a two room Parochial school that taught maybe sixty students in eight grades located in the living quarters of the Nuns of Divine Providence. We had no cafeteria and we ate at our desks during most the school year. Weather permitting, we went outside. I vaguely remember picnic tables along the south end of the yard.....only vaguely.

Anyway. Lunch was an important affair when taking place on the playground. When allowed outside the four walls of formal education, it was a mass sprint to acquire the best spots the play ground had to offer. The best being, sitting in the shade under the sliding board. This was not typical namby-pamby sliding board, but the mother of all sliding boards. I can close my eyes and still see it, still feel its cold metal under my hands. It was 10 feet tall (at least!), made of solid iron, its steps pitted for traction and worn silver by the millions of trips us kids took to the top of the magical tower. You could see the entire grounds from atop.

But the best of times was when the weather turned very cold and icy, so cold that the ground was frozen and ice formed on the blacktop. We would polish the board with wax paper until it shone and was as slick as snot. Then we would carry buckets of water from the water fountain and toss it in front of the bottom of the slide making a hazardous path towards the merry-go-round (which was like a monstrous tilt –a-whirl top!).

You would climb the steps to the top, crouched on your haunches facing downwards waiting to be shoved with herculean effort by those behind you to descend down, hair flowing behind you, hats taking flight, a steak on the the greased death slide, hitting the child-made frozen path and steer your self by keeping hold of your knees, as far as you could go careful to avoid taking out a first grader or some goof ball not paying attention. Many a child’s life hung in a suspended balance as they failed to fall sideways before sliding, at breakneck speed, under the crushing jaws of the Merry-go-round! We would scream , shout and cheer as we ran towards the bone crushing monster and stopped it moments from smashing in the head or obliterating the bones of the greatest slide of them all. Or at least that day.

Lunch? Everyday, without fail, a peanut butter and jelly sandwich lovingly folded in wax paper accompanied by a tiny bag of Frito’s and two cookies.

Lunch was wolfed down and the cartons of milk tossed back quickly in anticipation of that precious hour of bone chilling, death defying, bone marrow crunching, dare devil and double dog dare playground time after lunch.

No comments: