The Hero of Pizza Delivery

My husband is a talented storyteller. My girls even ask for the same stories over and over. “Dad, tell us that one where you  told that co-worker you loved him.” “Remember that time when mom told you she was done having kids?” “Did you really fight that bully?” His best talent is the way he can control his voice, builds up the humor until they are clutching their sides with delight. They’ve been conditioned to think all stories from dad are awesome and funny. Except for the gross ones and then fingers in ears, saying La-La-La as you run into the other room. He starts into story mode and, even if it is a brand new tale, they smile and give him their complete attention.

He came home yesterday and gathered the girls together. “I remembered a time when your mom,” he gestures to me, “was my hero.”

Hell, even I’m hooked.

I suck at court reporting, so the following is a paraphrase. My husband says, “I had locked my keys in my car when I was out delivering a pizza. First, I called my mom and no one answered. Then I called your Grandma Judy. Your mom’s mom. See, back then we didn’t have cell phones and your mom was away at college. Or so I thought!” This was before we were married.

The four of us are standing in the open kitchen, gathered around him as he sheds his layers from work, his Jayne Cobb hat is tucked carefully in a coat pocket so he won’t lose it. His lunch box and coat join the pile on the couch.

“Instead of her mom, who shows up? She does. I was so surprised.” He shows us just how surprised he was that his girlfriend was home for the weekend.

1.14 laughs at the idea of dad being startled and little-kid excited. 2.12 thinks it’s ridiculously romantic.

“That doesn’t make me a hero.”

“You took me to deliver my last pizza. She,” he tells the girls, “was sooo patient while I made that last delivery,  and then we went and got my car.”

I remember surprising him but not the last delivery.

“We totally did,” he assures me.

1.14 wants to know why we had to go anywhere to get his car. It wasn’t just in the parking lot?

He laughs, we all smile. “I had just delivered a piping hot pizza plus crazy bread to a family that had decided they wanted to stay in for the night.” He shakes his head. “When I get back to my car I’m all ‘crap, my keys.’ So — no cell — I don’t know anyone in the area except those pizza eaters. They were very nice and gave me a ride back to the restaurant.”

I asked him why he had suddenly remembered this event, it was nearly twenty years ago.

“I’m just driving home and it pops into my head.” I give him a kiss and we make dinner together.

The girls have wandered off, 1.14 has her headphones on while she empties the dishwasher and 2.12 has disappeared into her cave.

I tell him, “You do happy-to-see-you really well.”

“Yeah?”

“You light up, pull me in close. Know just how to press for the best hug.”

“Hmm. I probably do what-the-hell-are-you-doing-here? just as well.”

Who is the best bard in your family?