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Thank you, SDH

Jack Hefferon | Wednesday, October 12, 2011

A couple weeks ago, I was having one of those days. The first test cycle of the year was in the process of scissor-kicking me into submission, and I had the same hacking cough that was plaguing 80 percent of campus. Simply put, I had a terminal case of the Mondays.

This continued all morning and straight through lunch, and I headed out of South Dining Hall to a slate of afternoon classes. Before I went out to brave the day though, I reached into the mints box as usual. But mints I did not find.

Lo and behold, Dum-Dum Lollipops! You know, the kind you got at the doctor’s office after a shot when you were six. The kind that you get at a small-town barber shop. The kind I hadn’t seen or thought about in probably five years.

It probably wasn’t a big deal for whoever along the way made this decision, but that lollipop actually made my day. With a smile on my face and the sun seeming to shine brighter, I took on my afternoon classes fueled entirely by a Strawberry Dum-Dum.

And while this may be the only time I’ve ever seen lollipops at South, it was just one of many little details that can single-handedly turn a day around.

To the guy who responds to the comment cards and puts them on the bulletin board: You sir, are the man. They’re just the right combination of informational, sarcastic and joking to make them downright hilarious. (If you don’t know what I’m talking about, check them out in right-right, under The Last Supper. They’re worth a read, even if you have to stare creepily over people sitting there.)

In that vein, it’s really the people that make South Dining Hall what it is. It’s Otis pretending to shut down the omelet station with people still on line, and Timmy offering a pound to every man, woman and child before they get their food.

It’s the mysterious Betsy Flanagan and the even more legendary Carl, both of whom have one mean chicken recipe.

It’s the lovely ladies who man the exits. They’re quick with a smile, a mint and a “Have a great day!” but maintain constant vigilance to keep us safe from would-be celery thieves.

It’s Mike and John swiping cards, and dancing chicken dolls for wing night, and “Amish Country Fried Chicken,” and, oh yeah, “Apple Crisp.”

And we don’t know their names or see their faces but I’m sure it’s those people on the other side of the dishline and those double doors, as well.

This seems kind of over-the-top and idealistic so far, but we do have the greatest of all university dining halls. So to those of you who work in our dining halls — stir-fry or sweep, desserts or grill, food prep or silverware — I’m sure the job can be tiring, tedious and thankless at times. Just know that your attitude and ability to do the extra, little things single-handedly makes our days. So on behalf of the always hungry student body, thank you.

Lollipops all around.

Contact Jack Hefferon at wheffero@nd.edu

The views expressed in the Inside Column are those of the author and not necessarily those of The Observer.