When I was a teenager coming home on the school bus on a Friday night was an especially happy occasion. For one thing, it marked the end of the school week and I didn’t think there was anyone happier than me when Friday came. I looked forward to the quietness of the weekend and freedom of doing whatever I want for a few days. But along the way, my mom found a way to make Friday an extra special family night by having pizza. This did not mean we ordered out for pizza and had it delivered to our home. Oh no, not by a long shot.
Instead, we made the pizza from scratch, or mostly from scratch; that is two thick crusted, large hamburger and pepperoni pizzas. Due to the extra time required to prepare these large pizzas, the fun and the fellowship began in the kitchen long before we sat at the table happily eating this meal. For someone had to mix the dough and prepare the crust. That was usually my mom. Someone else had to brown and sauté the onions and someone had to grate the cheese. Often that was me. What? You thought my mom would buy shredded cheese for these occasions? Nope, my mom was not about to do that. Instead she bought big blocks of cheese that needed to be grated. So, I stood at the kitchen counter using a hand grater to shred and shred the hunks of cheese. I no sooner have one pile of shredded cheese ready when someone would come and take it away. Then I would start all over again. When the crusts were ready, someone would be busy layering the ingredients: pizza sauce (um, yeah, that we didn’t do from scratch, oh well.), hamburger and onion mixture, cheese and finally the pepperoni. That may not sound like very many layers but I can tell you that those pizzas were well loaded on top. Now, there may have been other ingredients but I am not remembering them.
As we all worked at our different tasks, we chatted, joked, and bantered. It was a time of family fun and sharing. While the pizzas baked we cleaned up the kitchen and set the table. By the time that the pizza was ready, everyone was hungry as the mouth-watery aroma rising from the oven wafted through the kitchen and most of the house. We gathered eagerly to enjoy this amazing pizza feast and became very stuffed. No one left the table hungry.
And the fun of Friday night did not end after the meal but often continued into the evening as we gathered in the living room to watch some of our favorite TV programs. Often these shows included The Dukes of Hazzard, Dallas, and Falcon Crest. We enjoyed seeing how the Duke boys would get away from the sheriff and Boss Hog each time and we enjoyed the drama and the suspense of Dallas and Falcon Crest; especially when those famous cliff hangers started. We never wanted to miss a cliff hanger. It was often an evening of family fun, laughter, and even suspense depending on the TV programs.
For me those Friday nights were especially enjoyable nights with the family where I could laugh, be chatty if I want to or be my usual quiet self, and just feel the blanket and warmth of love in our home.