Birthdays and pizza for three

Published 12:00 am Saturday, November 10, 2001

It is Sunday night as I write to you this week. In three days I'll be in Greenville again.

The primary reason for the trip is to celebrate my grandson Buddy's first birthday. On November three the family will gather together to remember that miraculous Friday last year when he was unwillingly forced out of his warm, dark home.

He didn't ask to see light. He didn't want to see light. He did need a little more room to move around, but to be forced outside was pretty extreme. He made his mother work very long and hard to accomplish that task.

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As her mother, I ached for my daughter, but as an "about to be" grandmother, I wanted my first look at that beautiful boy. I can still see him, arms and legs waving furiously, as he gathered air into his lungs to express his displeasure with the birthing process. At the time it seemed to me that he made no sound for an eternity of minutes. Actually, it was only a few seconds, but those were the longest seconds of my life. It seems a little silly to me now that I could only be sure of his life and health after I heard his first cry. But that's how it was that day.

Buddy's birth will not be my only celebration on November three because he and his Uncle Joe share the same birth date. So I also will be remembering the birth of my son who will be threethree years old on the day Buddy is one. Three is a big number this year.

A couple of weeks ago in the mountains, I saw a sow bear with three cubs trailing behind her foraging for food. Black bears frequently have two cubs, but to have three cubs in one birthing is a rarity. I'm lucky to have seen them.

But equally as surprising to me recently was that I found three pages of pizza delivery listings in the Knoxville yellow pages. Pizza is not a regular item in my household, and I had not tried to order it in the four months I've lived here. But sometimes it serves a quick and easy purpose. Last Thursday was such an occasion.

It seems bizarre enough to me that pizza has its own listing in the telephone directory at all. That's a pretty strong commentary on our culture. I'm not sure that any other single food ranks so high in our collective priorities. Apparently we consumers are especially fond of home delivery, and pizza must cover our favorite food groupscheese, meat and bread.

Occasionally, someone will sneak in a vegetable or two well disguised under layers of artery slamming cheese. But what does it say about us when there are more listings for pizza delivery than for banks? Or hospitals? Or child care facilities? Are we so busy, so scattered or, heaven help us, so lazy that pizza rules the dinner menu?

Not so very long ago, fruits were eaten three times a day. Each day we had three glasses of milk. We ate three meals a day. Now we evidently order pizza three times a week, and yes we get at least three toppingshamburger, mushrooms and pepperoni.

So what can I say? I guess I'll be once, twice, three times a lady and not berate those of you who have made pizza a big business. I would probably help boost shrimp gumbo to an equal yellow page ranking if only some accommodating Cajun would crank up his bateau and deliver it.