Last night, I went with my older sister and her five young children to get pizza. Because we are a frugal family, and because the only working car available to us at the moment has only five seat belts, we took the bus. Two women, five children (four walkers and a babe-in-arms), a stroller, two backpacks, and, on the way home, six pizzas.
A friend once told me that an adventure is when you don't know how something is going to turn out. This expedition fell in to that category.
First, there was a misunderstanding about the bus route, and I (being the more experienced bus rider among us) only figured it out just in time to get us off the bus at the right stop. I was happy that I had come.
Then we walked and we walked and we walked and we walked and we walked until we came to Blackjack Pizza, where the children had coupons from the library's Summer Reading Program to get individual pizzas as long as their mother purchased something else, too. (I was very thankful that the pizza place wasn't too busy, because that meant that our general largeness and craziness didn't throw them off too much.)
The fun thing about this pizza place is that they make their pizzas fresh, meaning that they take the dough and roll it out and sometimes toss it to make it bigger before they put the toppings on it and put it in the oven to bake. Whoever designed that kitchen so that you can see them making and then baking (in a conveyor-belt oven) pizzas is a GENIUS.
We were a very appreciative audience. Whenever one of the employees started throwing the dough around, we would gasp in wonder, and I would hold the three-year-old up, and the older two children would stand up on their chairs to watch. We finally pushed three of the four chairs over to the counter for better viewing, because the counter was more than four feet tall. I commented to my sister than when I was little, I would only have ever seen something like this on TV, never live. I felt pleased that these neeflings are getting a more--er--rounded cultural experience than I did, growing up.
The pizza guys enjoyed the attention. I wouldn't have known this for sure, but after all of the pizzas were in the oven (ours plus some others from phone orders), two of the guys started throwing pizza bases over and over again, to the sound of our amazed ooohing and aaahing, throwing them until they became larger than any pizza I had seen them make yet, and finally they became so large and so thin that the middles broke up, and then they smooshed them together and threw them over against the wall, where they (the pizza bases) splatted neatly in to the garbage can.
We sang as we walked back to the bus stop. My sister and I were the only ones singing, but it was very beautiful because our voices go so well together, and we sang harmony. The children walked an exceptionally long "balance-beam"-- you know, the curb, which in this case was dividing a very not busy parking lot from the sidewalk we were on.
At the bus stop, we saw a man waiting for the bus (by now it was late enough that missing a bus would be a big deal), and he assured us that even though the schedule said it should have been gone by then, it hadn't, because he had been there on time. Hooray! We ended up riding on the same bus to the Wilk, where we waited for the next bus together. As we waited, my sister haded the children their pizzas and let them start eating them, and I started on mine. I offered the man a slice of my pizza (he looked kind of hungry). He accepted. My sister offered him a slice of hers, too, and he again accepted. She noticed a lady sitting on a bench facing the other way who looked like she might want some, and offered her some, and she accepted too. It was a regular bus-stop pizza party.
When we boarded the bus home, Quarto (the three-year-old) boarded the bus with us and then calmly walked to the back of the bus, where there were other people but none that he knew, and sat down almost out of view of his mother and I, who were at the front. We only noticed this as we were hopping off after the very short ride home, and counting noses. The bus driver thought that it was so funny that he had to tell my sister a story (as she was standing on the street, having exited the bus with all of her offspring in tow) about how once his own child had been playing in the (locked) back yard, and had climbed over the fence to the neighbors' yard, played on the neighbors' motorcycle, taken the key, climbed back over the fence, and lost the key-- all unbeknownst to his parents. They found out that the child had left the yard when the neighbors questioned them. They found the key when the snow melted, the next spring.