The High School I went to did not have an open lunch program. That meant that you could not leave school grounds to eat and that the school cafeteria had a lock on lunches if you didn’t brown bag one. I was one of those that brought their lunch from home normally, but from time to time I would be in a rush and not get to make my sandwich before school and would be at the mercy of the school lunch program.
Now I remember hearing all sorts of stories about junk food in schools back then, a discussion that still rages today, but my school had very little in the way of proper junk food. We had no vending machines, no soft drinks, no candy bars. Nothing. The only treat you could get was the dessert option which was a tiny piece of cake or jello.
As a junk food junkie, I hated the school lunch. The best I could hope for was a pizza, which was always on Friday, so often instead of eating I just saved my money for video games.
That changed when on one magical Monday a murmur spread through the cafeteria. Something new had arrived. That something new was a Slush Puppie machine.
Needless to say it was a hug hit and the line slowed to a crawl as every kid wanted one. At the end of the first day they ran out of the syrup they use to make these cold tasty drinks and it would be week before they reactivated the machine.
From that day forward I would always try to have a few coins in my pocket at lunch to get a grape Slush Puppie as a dessert even when I brought my lunch from home. It might not have been a healthy addition to our lunch room, but unlike just about everything else they served, it had flavor, and my memories of enjoying a frosty cold drink before getting back to the tedium of my daily classes still sticks with me to this day.