Probably Kevin’s favorite food ever. He enjoyed telling the story of how he loved Pizzaria Uno’s pie so much until one day I said, “You know I can make that, don’t you?” And he didn’t believe me, but I did it. I mastered a deep dish pepperoni pizza that brought tears to his eyes, and the next time he ate at Uno’s, he didn’t even finish the pie because mine was better.
Sometimes when I really miss him, I go to the kitchen and make pizza dough. I don’t even need the recipe anymore; it’s imprinted in my brain just as surely as Kevin is imprinted in my heart. Handling the warm, soft dough is comforting; I feel like everything will be all right – even if just for a minute. In that moment, it is entirely possible that he will walk through the kitchen, see me making pizza, and start booming out, totally off-key, “When the moon hits your eye like a big pizza pie, that’s amore!” In that moment, smiling at the memory transcends the grieving.
When my nephew got married recently, I knew exactly what I wanted to give him and his bride. A box of Penzeys spices – the ones I used to make homemade pizza – and my recipe for a deep dish pepperoni pie. My nephew’s eaten quite a few of my pizzas over the years, and I wanted to give them something, as they started their life together, that brought so much happiness to the life I shared with Kevin, something that had a special meaning that would linger long after the spices had been used up.
He called me today to verify a point in the recipe and a couple of hours later, his wife texted me a photo of an absolutely delicious looking deep dish pizza. Bubbling cheese, rich red sauce, golden crust – I could imagine the pungent aroma of garlic wafting through the air. I showed my daughter and she said, “Pizza! Mmmm…that looks good!” Daddy’s girl, that one.
I texted back that the pizza looked great and I was so happy to share with them something that had been at the heart of our home.
Her reply made my heart ache, even as my mouth turned up in a smile. “Yeah, he said Kevin loved it. It even brought tears to his eyes thinking about eating deep dish and watching the Godfather.”
My girl worries sometimes that people will forget her Daddy. I do, too. But I think she’s starting to realize, as I have, that as long as pizza is around, there will always be someone who takes a bite of a particularly good pie and thinks about Kevin. The two are inextricably linked.
Bells will ring ting-a-ling-a-ling
Ting-a-ling-a-ling and you’ll sing, “Vita bella”
Memories of Kevin and delicious pizza? Beautiful life, indeed.