Wednesday, June 24, 2009

A Lunchroom Favorite Takes a Turn for the Worse

I don't remember the days at Jackson Academy before we had a cafeteria. I guess I've blacked that out. The school opened in 1970, and I started kindergarten in 1976. Classmates of mine tell me that we were in grade school before the cafeteria opened. I guess that's true. I just don't remember.

I do remember that we had great food though. The spaghetti was awesome, the pizza was that frozen square pizza that I can still find at Souths Finest Meats here in Tuscaloosa, and the fried shrimp was always one of my favorites.

After lunch, Polly Nettles would be over at her ice cream stand in between the snack machines and the coke machines. I think I had a Mickey Mouse popsicle just about every day. Which probably started my addiction to ice cream, and which is also probably why I was a chubby kid.

Polly was this old black lady who ran a tight ship. She kept everybody in line, from 1st grade to 12th grade. She called us "crazy white kids" and wielded her broom freely. Recently, Ms. Wendy Nall, who taught us math in our middle school years, started a tribute to Polly on the Facebook. Last time I checked, there were over 75 posts from students who had walked the halls of Jackson Academy through the years. It was really very touching.

I'm not sure when Polly died. Like I said, she was old way back then. I remember Mama telling me about it when she passed, but it was years ago. Her son Abe and daughter Alma also worked at the school. I know she is probably looking down on all of us Facebook commenters and still laughing at all us "crazy white kids."

But this post is not about Polly. She's just a big part of our lunchroom memories.

This post is about one thing that I will always remember as one of my favorite lunchroom menu items...

Parker House Rolls.

On Fridays, we would get our menus for the next week to take home in our backpacks. Parker House Rolls were usually on there at least twice each week. And I loved them. I still love them today. But because I love them so much, I seldom buy them cause I'm gonna eat them. And somehow, there was a bag of them in my freezer this past week that Heather found.

Ya'll know she's been sick, and was trying to ease her way back onto normal food. For some reason, she thought those rolls were going to be the ticket.

I came in yesterday and could smell them cooking. ~smiles!~

She had taken them out of the freezer and plopped them on a cookie sheet and into the oven. Here's our conversation on that....

"Heather, you know those rolls are supposed to rise before you cook them."

"What do you mean?"

"You lay them out and let them rise so that they are nice and fluffy."

"That doesn't matter. They'll be fine."

Hmmmm... you be the judge.

Those didn't just come out of the freezer, even though they look like they did. That is the finished product. Hard as a brick.

I wasn't tempted even a little bit.

I'm sure I will get a response from Heather on this. :)

Ya'll have a great day!

1 comment:

Leigh of Bloggeritaville said...

What a well written post, Derek. I love the sentiment about Polly. She sounds like my "Armenda" at Shades Mtn. Armenda also had a daughter to work there. I recall for Christmas one year the school got together and purchased her a lazy boy, she was so thrrilled.
And I also remember the school rolls. I still dream of them. I am freindly with my old principal and have inquired of them. Ours were homemade. I wish I could find some as good as I recall. Big, fluffy, and extremely buttery. Heaven.

LOved this story, brought back great memories for me too. THX!

I will bet when Heather allows the rolls to rise they will be delicious!