Some of my closest friendships center around pizza. As a kid, I spent countless Saturday nights out with the boys- Michael, Sheldon, Eric, and my brother, Ed- sometimes at Angelo’s, more often at Mama Lucy’s, around the corner on Main Street. The pizza was classic Queens- thick slices, laden with tomato sauce and gooey mozzarella.
Decades later, I’m still out with the boys on Saturday night, but now it’s Lloyd and Jim, and the pizza is classic New Haven- thin slices, crisp around the edges, secret family recipes. Now that I can drive, there are countless destinations- Sally’s, Zeneli’s, Abate’s, and more.
Last night we went to Zuppardi’s, in West Haven since 1934. Two pies for three men- one topped with fresh clams, the other with eggplant on one half and homemade fennel sausage on the other. As always, we expound on our areas of expertise- our kids, our jobs, our self-evident solutions to all that ails modern medicine (if anyone would listen). We muse on the secret to perfect pizza. Invariably, Lloyd the pizza god preaches to his disciples: the magic is in the dough.
Four deities reign within the wellness pantheon: food, sleep, exercise, and friendship. Friends are like oxygen. I couldn’t survive without my friends from Flushing, my pen pals in Providence and Nashville, or my pizza buddies in New Haven. Friendship lightens our loads and flattens the hills before us. There must be magic baked into the meals I share with Lloyd and Jim- Saturday night rituals, pizza communions, consumed together, year after year, as we journey from past to future.
We can debate endlessly about the merits of various wellness activities, from hikes in the woods to ice cream socials to afternoons at the beach. But for me, it all boils down to spending time with the people you care about, whatever you do. One day you’re one of the residents, baking healthy pizza at a retreat. The next thing you know, you’re a middle-aged attending, spending Saturday night at a classic shop in West Haven, eating pizza with your buddies. You can do anything together, because friendship is magic. So here’s to pizza and to friendship, and to pizza buddies, everywhere.
Happy Sunday, everyone,
PS How to be a better friend: https://www.nytimes.com/guides/smarterliving/how-to-be-a-better-friend