When my neighbors moved into the house next door, they had three children under three and both of them worked. Oh, yes, they were in a state of constant exhaustion. By Friday evenings, they had no energy for painting the town red or even pale pink. Thus came the tradition of Pizza Night.
Every Friday night Cynthia would make pizza, the children would run around until they dropped, and the parents would share as many quiet moments as they could manage between diapers, skinned knees and worn out toddlers.
Steve and I have been shamelessly mooching off Pizza Night for 12 years. I usually bring a salad for Cynthia, Steve and myself (Richard doesn’t eat anything green), and Steve would nab a bottle of wine. We’d scarf that pizza and have a glass of wine or two or, well, who’s counting after two? At the end of the evening, we had only to stumble up the hill between our houses.
Pizza Night led to putting in concrete steeping stones on that hill. It led to my working with a couple of the children on their reading (and, by proximity, half the neighborhood). It led to Steve building Boy Scout pinewood derby cars with their boy (again extending to half the neighborhood). If nothing else, it led to endless experimentation in pizza-making.
The three children grew older; money and energy and the neighbors’ social life increased. We are frequently out of town; in fact, right now Steve is working out in Washington State. We lived in Russia for two years; that’ll put a crimp on a weekly get-together (although Cynthia and Richard did visit us in Russia where we enjoyed hatchapouri, a sort of Georgian pizza). While no less welcome, Pizza Night occurred sporadically.
When Cynthia invited me for pizza last Friday, of course, I said yes. But, alas! come Friday, Richard had caught some nasty bug. What could we do? The children must still eat, therefore pizza must still be made, so Cynthia prepared the children’s pizza and then climbed those stairs and brought the fixin’s over here.
Because she is a doll, Cynthia thanked me for allowing her to make pizza at my house. I graciously accepted her appreciation. (Okay, what I really said was, “You’re thanking me for allowing you to bring food over to my house and make me dinner? You’re welcome.)
Two mini pizzas (made on store-bought naan this time; isn’t she clever?) and two glasses of wine later, we had pretty much covered politics (hope the right side wins), child-rearing (the children scooped up tons of As in school) and the marriages of half the neighborhood (hey, we’re only human).
Here’s the thing. I don’t even like pizza all that much, but I wouldn’t miss a Pizza Night for the world!