Dad & Friend


I remember pizza. Always. And all those guys- those good Olds guys from the dealership- who were in and out of there, all day like a hive, and how they used to talk real loud and take sodas in one gulp. Why did they guzzle it? Well, my fingers were always greasy- I was there all the time. And those guys would play cards & shove dollar bills in my pocket and ask me for a magazine. I'd run down to the corner and the man at the newsstand with the flag pin always slipped a racing form inside. I thought that’s the way magazines came.

My Dad, even then, looking at me from the sidewalk with the kindness in his eyes, asking me if I understood that he loved Mom, letting me go to the movies and buy my own candy, and even then I understood. I understood that summer, that was the summer of pizza, and that guy on the boulevard banging bongos we used to listen to sometimes.

The parlor guys, they loved us & they always made a joke about spanking us with the cutting board. Joey & I would sit across from each other in the booth for hours at a time, trading baseball cards & talking baseball cards & playing domino. There was pizza everywhere & whenever we wanted it. Dad had work to do & there were ladies around him, always coming in and going out, always smiling when they saw him, always asking, “Come talk to me, Donny...” & “I want to tell you a secret.” Dad was always happy to see them... & I knew he was important because he had all the secrets.

I tried pepperoni, didn’t like it at first, I kept missing the taste of plain cheese but then I understood the texture & the spiciness, and then I think onion, onion & pepperoni at the same time, olive, sausage, the flavors. Three cheese. Five cheese. Garlic & broccoli (mmm garlic & broccoli) and then there was meatballs & green peppers, eggplant pie so good, and one night Dad took us to the baseball game. He bought us pennants that we would put on the walls of our bedrooms when we got home and told us that he loved Mom and I always believed him, he was always telling the truth. 

Joey’s birthday party on a Sunday afternoon and Dad closed just for us. There was wrapping paper on the floor & everyone we knew was there except the ladies & they all came because of the pizza and that was the day I first tried an anchovy pie. And I was hooked.

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