by Steve Mathisen
(Edmonds, WA USA)

A long time ago, in a neighborhood that seems far, far away. Back during the time when I was just a skinny little kid, my family had a dog. Lots of families had dogs so that is not unusual; the unusual part was that we named the dog Pizza.

The time in my life that we had that dog was after my parents divorced. You see, I am the oldest of six kids. At that time, there were only five of us kids and I was about 11.

Like I’ve already mentioned, my parents were divorced and my mom was working as a waitress at an Italian restaurant that was well known for its authentic spaghetti and pizza. It seemed to us kids that my mom brought home an awful lot of pizza for us to eat. (The story goes that she got to bring home the mistake pizzas. From the quantity I remember, I think they must have made a lot of mistakes on purpose but, we were not complaining.)

We had no idea how hard it must have been to feed 5 kids on what a waitress makes. All we knew was that we had some of the best food on the planet, lots of it and the best school lunch trade bait ever. Other kids would trade anything for pizza.
So when we had the chance to adopt a dog, it must have seemed a very natural thing for us to name it Pizza. None of us remember how Pizza came into our family and only one of remembers that she might have been a collie. I have my doubts about that part. I have no memories of any dog looking like Lassie ever living at my house.

The only thing we can all agree on is that, at some point, she had a litter of puppies. The generally agreed on number of puppies is four but, our collective memory fades on the names. We seem to remember that we named the poor unfortunate creatures things like Pepperoni, Sausage and Mozzarella. There seems to be no entry in our collective memory for the name of the fourth puppy and there is some doubt about the third.

In any event, my mother met the man who became out step-father while working at that pizza place and eventually the free flow of pizza into our diet stopped. We moved away from Seattle to New Orleans, no dogs came with us to our new home and we moved on to explore new gastronomic delights.

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