Doing it all the hard way...

Friday, June 8, 2012

The summer of pizza


With school ending for children all across our nation my mind is cast back to a long summer of my youth. My father worked at a university in California. To say my parents were frugal is to say Stephen Hawking is AT LEAST a smart as David Hasselhoff. My mom washed and reused the plastic bags you get at the store when you buy fruit. If you had five thousands of those bags they would weigh about half an ounce.

My dad was likewise against spending any money he didn't have to. He could paint and my brother and I could cut grass. Luckily my dad was not a guy who was what you would call "handy" so it fell to me to fix things. This did give birth to my love of working on bikes. My dad had trouble with anything more complex that shoe laces.

When he bought a new dishwasher and they tried to tell him he would have to pay for installation; he pointed at me and said, "the lad will install it." I was fifteen years old and I installed it. I also found out that the circuit that turns off the lights in the kitchen is a different one than the one you need to shut off so you don,t shock yourself installing a dishwasher....

One day my dad announced that he would be bringing home some food from the University andw we would be eating pizzas for dinner over the summer. A couple days later he came home with five gallon buckets of tomato sauce and white cheese. I don't recall how the dough and pepperoni was packaged, but it must have been in something. Sure enough my mom followed the instructions and placed the pepperoni's with German precision and w had a two pizzas for dinner. My brother Doug and I were in heaven. The next night we did it again. I don't remember if we had it every night, or every other night, or two of three or one of three, but in my mind we had pizza every night. It didn't take long before we were sick of pepperoni pizza.

I know what you are thinking, "time to mix it up, mushroom pizza, Hawaiian pizza, sasuage pizza." My parents may be cheap, but they are creatures of habit. Stuck in a rut is a better description. I am sure it never occurred to either my mom or dad to not put the pepperoni on them. It would have been like forgetting the dough, it just wasn't done.

Oh, one more thing about my parents, they can suffer without complaining. Once my dad was pushing a rented rototiller around his yard. It was a monster, he had borrowed my truck to TOW the TRAILER it came in. This wasn't some lawn mower sized machine, it was the size of a refrigerator on its side. My dad showed me which lever made he tines go forward, and how to make them go backward. Then I pushed the other lever and the rear wheels started turning, pushing the behemoth forward. "Damn, it propells itself," my father said in amazement. He had been pushing it for three hours. My mother likewise has a Puritan view that suffering makes her a better person.

Suffer we did and our complaints fell on deaf ears.

If you want to invite Evo over for pizza, I'm all in. If you bring out a plate sized pepperoni pizza, I will still be your friend. Just don't pay too much attention to the expression on my face when you present the pizza. I'm not wincing, I'm squinting. I'm getting older and my eyes aren't what they used to be.

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