Fighting over who gets the most

Prompted by Sunday Scribblings: Dinner

Dinnertime for the dogs is serious business: lots of anticipatory chop-licking and jumping for joy when the bowls are being filled. I taught them to leap high in the air instead of jumping all over me, so it looks like the most joyful cavorting you can imagine. Then I set down the bowls. Each dog checks to make sure the other one didn’t get more. It’s the same with treats, and if a piece of jerky should fall out of Kieran’s mouth (he’s clumsy and not too bright), Jilly snatches it before he even realizes what happened.

When Joel and I were university students, we’d have dinner at Mama’s, an Italian restaurant right out of the movies with red-and-white checked tablecloths and candles in chianti bottles dripping wax all over the straw holders. We’d begin with antipasto–cold cuts, cheese slices, peppers and olives–while we waited for the pizza. At last it would come, round, hot, and succulent with bubbly melted cheese, sliced unevenly with an equal number of slices but some pieces bigger than others. Like a couple of dogs, we’d eye the pizza and try to grab the biggest slice first. Sometimes I won; sometimes he did. Mama’s pizza was wonderful, meant to be savored, but we bolted it like dogs, racing to get to the last slice before the other person could. Joel always got the last piece; I just couldn’t eat fast enough. Dessert would be spumoni, green and pink ice cream full of candied fruit. We each had our own bowl to linger over and enjoy, and it’s still my favorite ice cream.

Besides fighting over pizza, we found countless other ways to be unkind to each other until I moved to another state, found someone else, and had a child. Joel was killed in an accident. I still think of him when “49 Bye-Byes” by Crosby, Stills, and Nash comes on the radio; it was our song. How we could be best friends, lovers, and utterly horrible to each other all at the same time still pains me, but now, years later, the best-friends part is what remains.

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9 responses to “Fighting over who gets the most

  1. Oh my, Crosby Stills Nash and Young – had every album they made either together or apart. Loved 49 Bye-Byes, so many of their songs can bring up emotion filled memories for me. So wonderful that the best friend part is still there. We all have a lot to be ashamed of from our younger days don’t we?

  2. Boy is my mouth watering. Pizza and ice cream. Some people just see so deeply into us that we lash out in self-defense. Hold tight to the best parts. You shared some lovely memories here.

  3. Nice story..funny about the dogs and rlating their food ahbits to you and a boy friend..san for him to die…lovely that you retain fond memories…a lot of real life built into this short blog…nice writing

  4. sorry I didn’t edit that one very well.
    ahbits – habits…
    san – sad

  5. p.s. – go ahead and burn the grilled cheese. I always burn mine on bothe sides. I like them better that way.

  6. Extraordinarily beautiful piece about food, relationships and memories. I really enjoyed the visit.

  7. A pleasantly connected little ramble that led lightly into the more serious musings. How two people can be unkind to each other until the love dies and…sad. I’m sorry somehow.

  8. Hi Kate, this is a touching piece. I liked how you wove your life now with then and how you used the dogs as a ‘way into’ the piece and as a recurring image..lovely stuff.. Jae

  9. I enjoyed this and was moved at the end.

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