Pizza and Soda-Pop

Pizza night was a random occurrence back in the day.

My best guess is it fell on whatever night Mom was too tired to cook, but you’d have to ask her. Maybe she’ll leave a comment saying how she remembers it. Maybe not.

For whatever unfathomable-to-children reason the grown-ups declared pizza night, it was for us (well, at least for me) a special occasion, not so much for the pizza as for the soda. In Ohio, they call it pop. Whatever.

(I’d completely forgotten about the soda – pop thing until I was back for a visit a year ago and one of my nephews asked me at the family picnic if I wanted a pop. It took me a second to figure out what he was talking about, during which time he was looking at me as if I were as dumb as a post. I must have been the first person he’d ever run into who didn’t know what pop was.)

We rarely had soda-pop. We had it on the few occasions when we were at McDonalds (mostly on road trips), and on pizza night. That was it. Until we got older and could go out and get it for ourselves.

Mom would phone the pizza order in to Robin’s Pizza Nest. It was a little place an old guy — maybe he wasn’t so old, but he seemed old to the 7-year-old me — who had converted the back room of his house over on Cleveland Avenue into a pizza kitchen. He had a pizza oven, a refrigerator and a counter with an old National cash register at one end. That was it. There was barely enough room to turn around in there.

Robin didn’t sell soda-pop. Just pizza. So we picked it up at the Spee-D-Foods on the way over. It was always Coke, Pepsi or 7-Up. Uncle John used to like Dr. Pepper, but other than those three kinds we didn’t know any other kind of soda-pop existed back then. Well, Tab, I guess. If you can call that soda-pop. It tasted like liquid shit. And Orange or Grape Crush, but that was so sweet it’d make you sick.

So we’d get home with the pizza and drink all the soda, and since we weren’t used to that much sugar and caffeine all in one hit, I expect we pretty much went berserk after dinner. That’s probably why pizza night was a rare enough occasion to be remembered as “special.”

Berserk times at home were happy times.

Even now, every once in a while, I have a fit of berserk.

Mostly when something else is going to hell in a handbasket.

Happy Pizza Night!