Tag Archives: Pizza

Father’s Day Weekend 2014

Tom and Taylor Fathers Day 2014 IMG_8555It was a gorgeous Father’s Day weekend and we tried to make the most of it. On Friday, Wendy and I headed to Des Moines. While Wendy took care of some personal errands, I took my Dad out for a father/son lunch at Granite City. We then headed back to the folks’ house. Taylor got off work early and came over to join me and we had a nice visit the four of us.

Friday night was our friend, Kennedy’s, dance recital. Wendy, Taylor, Kev and I met at Urban Grill for drinks, then Kev left while Wendy, Taylor and I had a bite of dinner together and we celebrated Father’s Day together. The dance recital was long (over three hours), but Kennedy was beautiful and danced her heart out. We loved watching her.

Saturday was work day at Vander Well Manor. We recently replaced our old garage doors and refaced the front of the garage with new siding and trip. Suzanna has been working on painting the trim this past week along with some general trip painting that needed to be done around the house. She continued that while Wendy and I tackled the chaos of our basement. It feels so good to have cleaned up and organized some things. Having taken some time off on Friday, Wendy and I sat on the couch and worked several hours on Saturday afternoon/evening while we watched the Cubs beat the Phillies and then watched Ivory Coast beat Japan in the World Cup.

Sunday morning Wendy and I headed to Albia where I gave the morning message at The Gate church which meets in a building on the SE corner of the square there. It’s a small gathering of about 40-50 people. Wendy graduated from high school in Albia, and one of her closest friends from high school is a leader in the church there, so it was great to connect and catch up. I missed a call from Madison while we were at church. Wendy and I headed back to an empty house as Suzanna had headed to Ankeny to visit her and Wendy’s folks. Wendy and I grabbed a bite of lunch and did a little more work before heading back to Des Moines mid-afternoon.

We met Taylor at Jordan Creek Mall late Sunday afternoon. Wendy went off for some quiet time while Taylor and I had a little daddy/daughter date which began at Cold Stone Creamery and ended at Champps. We all headed back to Kev and Beck’s house about 6:00 and then headed up to Plaza Pub to grab some pizza for carry out before retiring back at the house for pizza, wine and conversation that went until about 10:30 p.m. When we got home, Suzanna was up and we debriefed with her about her Father’s Day with mom and dad Hall before getting to bed way too late (or early, as it was well after midnight).

Theme from the Photos

2013 08 19 VW Pizza Night Collage Most often we look at and contemplate photos one by one. One of the things I’ve come to realize over time, however, is that when I import a large batch of photos and rifle through them, I often catch a theme from the event that one single photo doesn’t quite convey.

Last night three generations of my family gathered at my folks’ house for an evening of pizza. We did nothing more than have some pizza together and sit around the table and talk for a couple of hours. As I looked through the photos this morning I realized how many of the photos were of my family members smiling and laughing.

I know plenty of people who have never experienced this kind of love and laughter at a family gathering. The theme that arose from all of my photos last night was a reminder to be grateful and to enjoy these moments.

 

A Life Lesson in the Pizza Joint

The Dudes
Me and a few of the wise guys of my youth.

Walk with the wise and become wise;
    associate with fools and get in trouble.
Proverbs 13:20 (NLT)

On Wednesday I was driving on a business trip with a colleague. We were chatting about experiences of our childhood and I recalled an experience I had not thought about in a long time. I was twelve years old. I had gone out for pizza with a couple of guys who were a few years older than me. They were guys I’d known from a team I was on, but I didn’t know them well. The pizza joint was packed with a standing room only crowd on this particular friday night and a line of people were waiting to get a table.

We were finished with our pizza and my elder teammate said, “Come on, let’s go.”

But we haven’t paid,” I said reaching in my pocket.

He leaned over the table and said quietly, “We’re not going to pay. Let’s go!”

Scared but feeling an acute case of peer pressure, I stood and followed my two friends out of the restaurant. My heart was beating out of my chest as we began walking back to my friend’s house. The other two laughed about getting away with a free meal and quickly moved on to other subjects. I, however, couldn’t stop thinking about what I’d just done. I knew that what we’d just done was wrong. I knew that I’d just cheated our server who might likely be liable for our bill. My conscience was screaming at me. I can still remember hearing a police siren in the distance and being convinced that the pizza place had called the cops and an All Points Bulletin had beein issued for my arrest.

We were never caught, of course, but I never stopped feeling guilty about the incident. A few years later I went back to the restaurant and talked to the manager. I confessed what I’d done and gave him more than enough money to make up for the bill and the tip. He looked at me like I was crazy, but my conscience was clear.

I never hung out socially with those two guys again. I can’t recall making a conscious choice, but I think I just naturally realized that it would be foolish for me to hang out with friends who would pressure me to do something like that. This morning I took a moment to recall the names and faces of guys I eventually chose to hang out with through high school and college. I was fortunate to have great bunch of wise guys who constantly challenged me to do the right things. To this day I’m grateful for each and every one of them.

Related Posts:
An index of Tom’s chapter-a-day posts (tomvanderwell.wordpress.com)
We all Follow Footsteps…Choose Well (tomvanderwell.wordpress.com)
Sewage and the Source (tomvanderwell.wordpress.com)
Living in the Mystery (tomvanderwell.wordpress.com)

St. Patrick’s Day Demolition & Dinner

One of the on-going struggles of owning a humble, old house is the never ending need for repair and renovation. Each year Wendy and I have some major update that we’re doing. Last year it was residing the upper level. Before that we needed to replace most of the windows in the main floor. Before that it was the roof. You get the picture.

Over the past few years we’ve known that we need to deal with the water issues in our basement. So, this past Saturday we combined Project with Paddy’s Day. My faithful friends came over on Saturday morning and helped me tear out old paneling, a shower, a stool, and a set of shelves. We had to uncover the walls and make way for Midwest Basement Systems to come and waterproof everything.

Fortunately, it was a beautiful day and we had a lot of fun as we labored. In the evening, the guys returned with wives and little ones to enjoy some of Wendy’s homemade pizza and Guinness Cupcakes as we celebrated the wearin’ o’ the green.

Chapter-a-Day Isaiah 48

Sleep better. "There is no peace," says God, "for the wicked." Isaiah 48:22 (MSG)

The pizza joint was packed after a high school basketball gang and I was there with a bunch of my friends. I was the youngest of the group of teen boys. It was loud. It was smokey (you could smoke anywhere in public in those days), and it was extremely busy with teenagers and families celebrating the basketball team's victory.

I don't remember there being any discussion. In the midst of the din, the eldest of my group of friends looked around and said "Let's go." We got up and followed him out of the restaurant without paying the check. I still remember the look on his face and his laughter as the group reveled in pulling one over on the restaurant. We all laughed as we sprinted towards my friend's house, but underneath the laughter my conscience had already kicked in.

I remember hating that night. Guilt and shame have a way of magnifying paranoia, anxiety and fear to ridiculously huge proportions. I spent the night at my friends house in utter fear of police raiding the house and hauling me off to jail. I can still remember the panic in my head each time I heard a police siren in the distance.

There is no peace for the wicked.

It was about four years later that I stopped by the pizza joint after school and asked to speak with the manager. I still remember his confused expression as I explained what I'd done and handed him money from my paycheck to cover the old debt, and then some. The look on his face told me he thought I was crazy. I'm sure people walk out on checks regularly, especially teenagers, and it's all part of the daily routine of the restaurant business. Looking back now, 30 years later, I laugh at the silliness of it myself. But it taught me a good lesson.

Do the right thing. You sleep better.

Creative Commons photo courtesy of Flickr and drakeguan