What food are you most grateful for?
This one is a hard choice to make. I love a lot of different food – and if it’s fried or has cheese on it I’ll probably love it! BUT, there is a particular food that my world revolved around for a number of years while I was a teenager. That food is pizza. I worked at Bronco Billy’s Pizza Palace which was the local pizza hang out in my neighborhood. I worked there for a couple of years during my teenage years, and to this day I still say that it was my absolute favorite place to work.
This pivotal part of my life, the part of your life when you BECOME a true teenager, when you meet some of the best friends you’ll have for life, and when you fall in love for the first time, all evolved from Bronco Billy’s. It started the summer I turned 15 when I was working at a day camp. A majority of the counselors, as well as the director of the camp (all in their late teens and early to mid-twenties) worked at camp during the summer days and then worked at the pizza place in the evenings. It was my second year as a junior counselor, and I was well on my way to becoming a counselor in training the following year – it was everything I had strived for and I was loving it. The director was also a manager at Bronco Billy’s and asked if I would be interested in working a couple of nights a week at the pizza place. Heck yes! I was SO excited. I went in to fill out the application, met Tito the crazy Armenian guy who ran the place, and I was immediately put on the schedule. To say I was psyched and over the moon all wrapped into one is an understatement.
What I didn’t realize was how much that job was going to define that time in my life. I learned the worth of a dollar, how to support myself, how to budget my money, how to prioritize important things – I was working and in high school at the same time, and I made relationships that have spanned almost 20 years. I met a group of guys I can easily say are still like the older brothers I never had and I met and dated the first guy I ever loved during that time period (though he didn’t work at the pizza place). Not only was this pizza place impactful on my life as a teenager, but as a child we spent a lot of time there as well.
Behind the counter we would laugh and sing, and throw stuff at each other. Someone once threw a pepperoni at me and hit me smack in the middle of my forehead – a week before my Senior Prom. I freaked out and had to wash my face immediately. And, if anyone thinks I have really good slip reflexes, it’s because that floor at the pizza place could get unbelievably slippery. I laugh as I write this thinking about how may people fell and/or slipped. You may think it’s wrong to find this funny, but no one ever actually got hurt – and we all thought it was hysterical – it was a comedic break at a place that was slammed on Friday and Saturday nights, and since it is so close to Cal State East Bay, it was also a popular place on Monday nights after the fraternity’s and sorority’s had their weekly meetings.
I grew up while working at Bronco Billy’s and it helped shape who I am and who I have in my life, and because of that I am forever grateful for pizza! (As a matter of fact, that’s where I had dinner tonight) 😉