Kofi Issah – Dinning Hall Blues
Whoever “created” the neutral table in the dining hall would have achieved a great feat in putting together students with bad table manners, those who had “monkeyed” seniors, and needed to be punished. Its most prominent members were the plain outright ‘gommorrows” who were a nuisance to all on the normal house tables.
From 1976-1983 the “neutral table’ was located near the pantry and beyond the tables where the members of Kennedy House sat. Some of the famous talk about the dining hall fights and insults revolved around the neutral table. I believe this table was called neutral because it was not allocated to any of the 12 houses yet hosted a number of famous students at one time or the other.
I was sent there on exile for one week as punishment for not sending a senior’s jollof rice home one Sunday. It was an abomination to be denied one’s jollof rice but how as I to carry the food out of the dining hall and to the dormitory when no food was allowed to leave the dining hall. With time students devised various strategies like compressing the food inside cups and carrying the food out.
Juniors who were tasked with carrying the food out had a herculean task of getting the food to the house with all the meat intact. It was sometimes very interesting to eat a senior’s food and then collect the surplus food (left overs) and send it to him in the dormitory. You were normally thanked profusely, but the good part of the show was watching the senior eat “sorpee”.
The end loaf was the most abused food item in the dining hall. The bread was baked in a badge of ten and the two loaves at the end were normally burnt or were the smallest of the lot. The two end loaves were reserved for the weakest on the table or the form one boys. Girls were not supposed to eat end loaves and so one day when an end loaf came out the biggest of all, the table head decided that he was conducting an experiment of how salivary enzymes worked on burnt bread.
We all secretly giggled knowing very well that this senior who was one of the accomplished “gommorrows” was just trying to fill his bottomless stomach. He went on to challenge our mate Apache Do who was famously associated with the end loaf.
If you shouted Apache Do, the reply was God bless you but woe betides you if you shouted Apache end loaf. God curse you was the prompt reply from him.
The neutral table recorded very interesting incidents
INCIDENT ONE: SENIOR GOMMORROW VERSUS JUNIOR SWEET PALATE
Junior sweet palate was known for a good appetite and never spared any food which was left over . On several occasions he had eaten food meant for his table members who were late to the dinning hall and so when he was transferred to the neutral table he had met his match in senior gommorrow. Senior gommorrow was the lord of the neutral table then and had clocked close to a year on it (the average tenure of “office” was one month). One fateful day and this happened to be a Sunday evening, jollof was served.
Junior sweet palate knew there was lot of mackerel and would not allow it to pass so he damned the consequences and ate senior gommorrows food because he (senior gommorrow was on external exeat) was not around. More drama the next morning during breakfast when senior gommorrow appeared
Junior sweet palate where is my jollof? gommorrow asked
senior I charged it replied sweet palate
What about yesterday’s lunch and breakfast? gommorrow continued
I charged those toooooooooo (meaning he had eaten them) was sweet palates reply and toooooo because he was given an upper cut by Senior Gommorrow.
Senior then concluded “Junior sweet palate, take it from me today that breakfast lunch supper anpther breakfast lunch supper times three don’t come to the dining hall because that food will belong to me senior gommorrow. So for three days a student was denied food not by law but by fiat delivered by one of the famous gommorows the school ever produced
SENIOR GOMMORROW VERSUS BAPUPS
Congratulations keep it up Sumaila said senior Gommorrow. One will wonder why the congratulations Bapups serve well shouted senior gommorrow