Nice Going Home Again
Yesterday, I went back home to celebrate my dad’s birthday. On the long drive, my oldest was just whining about how hungry he was.
When I got into town, we passed by the old pizza place we practically lived in growing up. This was always the stop for the kids in the neighborhood.
We’d ride our bikes there after school. After Little League games, we’d stop there for Italian Ice’s. I swear people in the neighborhood went there at least three or four days a week. It was more when it had Street Fighter and NBA Jam video games.
For about the first time in 15 years, i walked into that pizza place. With a beard and five year old by my side, I was a completely different person than the one who used to frequent that place.
As soon as I walk in, the owner exclaimed, “Holy sh–! How ya doin’?”
I honestly couldn’t believe he remembered me after all these years. I really couldn’t believe him when he told me I hadn’t changed a bit. We then walked down memory lane talking about our shared memories of the place.
My son watched with amazement taking in and enjoying everything. That’s when the owner noticed him.
He laughed when my son told him his name saying, “Of course, he’s the fourth.” He then laughed harder when my son told his favorite team was the Mets. It was met with, “Let me tell you, kid. No one loved the Mets as much as your dad. Stick with them.”
Then he offered my kid a rainbow Italian Ice.
He told my son about how my friends and I would get one after every game. In disbelief, my son said, “Really? My Daddy never eats ice.” This caused the owner to laugh and say that maybe I have changed.
On the way out, he shook my hand telling me not to be a stranger while telling me to say hi to my parents and to wish them well.
As I left with, pizzas in hand, I looked down at my son eating the rainbow ice, and it brought me back to those times I walked out of that pizza place with my own father. My son was bemused with stories of my childhood.
It was as good and nice a moment as you can experience. It’s only one you can experience if you not only go home but go around your hometown.