Walking in a single file line, my classmates and I felt a cool breeze as we left the classroom for lunch time. Loudly and excitedly, we ambulated down the sidewalk headed for the cafeteria. Ordinarily, upon opening the cafeteria door, we would smell the common school cafeteria smell. When our teacher opened the door, the aroma smelled like Thanksgiving dinner. Instead of the usual, self-serving line, our lunch “teacher” escorted us to our assigned tables and the delicious food catered to us. The food brought out on a styrofoam plate included cut up turkey in the front most spacious area. Adjacent to the turkey overflowed gravy on top of mashed potatoes. Behind the mashed potatoes and gravy was stuffing and on the far right of the plate sat a biscuit. However, an unfamiliar blob of something occupied the back middle of the plate. What was this?
Back in 1982 at my elementary school, the day before Thanksgiving, students, teachers, and parents were treated to a special lunch. This happened on a few different holidays. My parents were nice enough to come to this particular lunch. Jennifer McIntosh, a cute, blond girl often sat across from me at the table.
I finished all of my food except for the biscuit and this blob of red. Both my parents and Jennifer knew what I was thinking: Is this Jelly? It has to be because it sits next to a biscuit. But this doesn’t look like the jelly I have at home. So finally, I asked, “Is this jelly?” Jennifer knew it wasn’t, but told me it was anyway. I asked my parents and they confirmed. I hesitated, but put the so-called Jelly on my biscuit. I took a big bite.
Plythyuck. Not wanting to disgust Jennifer, I swallowed the pain. Luckily, I had enough milk to reduce the taste. Of course, they all had a big laugh at my expense. That was the first and last time that cranberry sauce entered my mouth.