January 25, 2024 - 5:29 pm
Let me start by saying, kids don’t try this.
Now that I got that disclaimer out of the way, I’m going to again take you down memory lane regarding an event that occurred in May 1981. An event that country singers have since written songs about.
At that time, I was finishing up my sixth-grade year at Garrett Junior High. It was either the last day of school or right near there. Word had spread about a possible food fight in the cafeteria at lunch. Remember, this was well before social media so the information superhighway consisted of word of mouth, a call to your friend’s lime-green landline phone with the 45-foot cord or a well-passed note in class.
There I was with my Big Nevadan (burger) with cheese and fries sitting at a table with friends. As with many legends that are born and expanded upon over time, it’s not exactly known who started the food fight. Now, it won’t go down as one of those unanswered “who started it” questions such as the Gunfight at the OK Corral, but the Garrett legend continues to this day with a couple of key suspects.
As the tension mounted, everyone nervously ate the less-than-healthy lunch in front of them. The way I remember it was, someone flicked a French fry at someone a couple of tables over. As if it were a volley at Wimbledon, the fry was quickly returned. That’s when, and maybe it was an ode to the movie “Animal House,” all I remember hearing was…. “FOOOOOD FIGHT.”
As a little sixth-grader, I had no intention of partaking, so like most, I ducked under my table. I recall looking up and the best way I can describe it was a rainbow of greasy pizza slices, vanilla shakes and French flies flying overhead.
I recall Dr. Goodwin, the principal at the time, wearing black slacks and getting hit in the thigh with a vanilla shake. It’s my understanding that Mr. Booth, the assistant principal, was hit with a pizza slice. Friends ran into the bathroom to avoid getting hit by food that no amount of Spray ‘n Wash could remove an inevitable stain out of their checkered Vans slip-ons or Ocean Pacific T-shirts.
Other students, who were working in the cafeteria’s kitchen, were fortunate to watch the mayhem behind safety glass.
Within seconds it was over.
We slowly emerged from under the tables as if they were foxholes, which is appropriate since I was hit with ketchup and cheeseburger shrapnel. It was not a pretty sight. The walls, floors and ceiling looked like one giant Jackson Pollock painting.
Needless to say, the teachers and administration were not happy and I don’t blame them. The following two years, as the school year came to an end, I remember us all getting a very stern warning that it better not happen again. And to ensure that, teachers were placed at every table in the cafeteria the final two days of the school year.
So as with most legends, the Great Garrett Food Fight of ’81 will live on for decades to come…I’m guessing about as long as that Big Nevadan with cheese would have.
Being that this took place nearly 43 years ago, some of the details in my mind were a bit sketchy so I took to Facebook to ask my friends for their recollections of that day. Surprisingly, I was almost spot-on with many of the details. Many thanks to Lisa, Tracy, Angie, John, Bob, Missy, Jennifer, Carrie, Danny, Kim, Julie, Jenny, Rachel, Dawne, Denise, Mike, Roger, Todd, Tracey, Becky, Bret, Jennifer and Candi for sharing your memories.
I can’t pay you guys but your next greasy piece of cafeteria cheese pizza is on me. Go Bobcats!