In our backyard, we have a pizza oven. Of all the backyards I’ve ever known, it’s the 2nd most joyful.
I have a far away memory of a mythical backyard from my youth with an above ground pool where I flipped over one day as a toddler in an inner tube, almost drowning before any of the adults put down their drinks long enough to notice. Looking back, I can honestly say that would have been a good way to go. Granted, it would have sucked for the surviving adults but my last memory would have been a summer pool day.
We’re running out of summer pool days, we might actually be on the other side but denial is powerful when you live in Chicago where you spend all winter pining for summer and when summer finally hits, you bitch about the heat.
Yesterday, Dad spent the early part of the day making pizza dough and his mother’s famous sauce. Then he schlepped all of the ingredients to our backyard so he could spend the afternoon rolling out dough and curating ingredients.
He was the artist, winning hearts and minds. I was the grunt, manning the oven.
We make a good team, especially when my brother’s not around pushing buttons – shhh, don’t tell Mom – you can’t tell Mom anything about my brother, she won’t hear it. I shouldn’t be telling you right how but I figured what the Hell, social media likes a good dig.
Why is that? I have a small hunch born of a recent anecdote.
This morning, my wife sent Dad a text: “Thank you so much for the pizzas. I know it’s a ton of work so thank you. ❤️”
He replied: “Being a daughter-in-law is not having to say thank you.”
Dad has been saying things like that my entire life, every time he did something nice and we tried to say thank you, he would say, “Being in love is not having to say thank you.”
After 5 decades of bearing witness and 4 years of introspection, I beg to differ, respectfully. I think it’s important to show gratitude, to let someone else know you appreciate their effort.
In fact, the only reason I’d ever spend time on Yelp is to swim against the Current Of Vitriol, to be effusive. If I’m let down by a restaurant, here’s how I handle it…
Pay the bill, over-tip and quietly move on.
Nitpicking is a clue you’re unhappy about something much bigger, so ask for help, don’t be proud, give yourself a break, tell someone you trust that you’re unhappy and ask for help, it’s brave. So is gushing. Speaking of which…
Thanks for the pizzas, Dad. 2 thumbs up.