Shriners East-West Football Game, 2008

I officially have no butt, because I worked it off tonight.

Get it? Worked my butt off?

Boh. You’ll have to forgive the bad pun. It’s almost 2 o’clock in the morning and I just got home. I’m pounding on my keyboard, sipping on a late-vintage port, waiting for my turn in the bathroom to brush my teeth and take a quick shower to wash the flour and pizza sauce out of my hair and off of my skin before climbing into bed.

What a day.

Baker City High School hosted the Shiner’s East-West Football Game this afternoon, which was broadcast on television by Fox Sports Northwest. The high-school is only a block from Paizano’s, so we had a feeling that we’d be busy.



We were SuhLammed.

Our dining room was half-full when we received a phone call informing us that 40 people were on their way. They had nothing to do with the football game; just a random group that wanted to eat at our place. Our capacity is 48, so we knew that we were in for some serious festivities.

POW! Mayhem. Standing-room-only. People clamoring for drinks, beers, breadsticks “while we wait”. Little do they know that we make our breadsticks to order so that they are super poofy and cheesy, and that they’ll still  have to wait for them. We don’t just throw some frozen dough into an oven, yo.

I glanced at one of the TVs in the dining room, and noticed that the football game was in it’s final minutes. I announced to the kitchen that we were only going to get busier.

And then we were.

We have never had so many large groups of people come in, one after the other, ever. There were no couples, only 6-tops, 10-tops, 12-tops…. I could barely discern where one group started and the other ended. Tickets were separated by “Middle Party”, “Back Wall Party”, “Crazy Kids Party”….. [sidenote: crazy kids left gum in my carpet, and I was NOT too happy about that when I found it after we closed]

I was tossing a dough when one of our front gals told me that Carl was waiting to have his photo taken.

Carl? Huh?

Oh jeez. CARL!

Earlier this week, we had decorated our front window (as well an entire corner of our dining room) in photos, medals, and certificates of one of the players in the Shriners football game: Carl Neumann. Offensive lineman / Defensive Lineman.

It took hours to get the “shrine” in place, and a heck of a lot of double-sided sticky tape. After spending that much time with his mementos, I felt like I knew Carl. President of his class, Honor-Roll, award-winning wrestler, football player, track star… good kid, you know?

Carl’s mom had stopped in earlier in the afternoon, and I had asked her to bring Carl in after the game so that I could get a photo for our Bulletin Board.

I quickly finished up the pie that I was making, then washed up and found my way into the dining room.

Carl and his family were by the shrine, and he seemed a bit embarrassed by the attention. The dining room was packed, though, so it wasn’t too awkward for him.  

Carl Neumann

Carl Neumann

Carl posed for a couple of photos, and not only shook my hand in thanks, but offered me a hug as well. What a gentleman. I’m telling you, these small town kids are blessings for the future. Good kids. Salt of the Earth.

The rest of the evening is a blur. We almost ran out of dough, had only a few cups of our sauce left by the end of the night, and took so many deliveries that I was on a first-name basis with the front desk gal at the Super 8 Motel. I took her a mud pie on my last delivery. She looked as if she was working as hard as I was, and a bit of caffeinated coffee ice cream on a cookie crust can fix any mood.

Random happiness quotes from our evening:

From a shriner: “I’m not an English teacher, but that was the good-est pizza we’ve ever had!”

From a scowling guy: “Peoplez in New Yawk nevah admit to havin’ good pizza outside of dare neighbo’hood, ya know? But yourz is good. Man. Yourz is da best outside of New Yawk.” (our kitchen mgr beamed at this one, and repeated it at least three times throughout the day)

From solo dude at 2 o’clock this afternoon: “There’s lots of restaurants where I’m from, but not alot of good pizza places. I wish one of your franchises would open in Bend.”

Good stuff, I tell ya. I can work for ten straight hours, hear a comment like this, and work another ten straight hours with no problem. Again, I know we’re in business to make money, but sometimes I feel as if we’re working for bonafied props from our customers. 

Anyway. We finally closed the restaurant, and Whitey and I stayed late to make more dough & sauce for tomorrow. We turned off the music and just talked. It was really, really good to be able to work side by side and vent / relax / work / bounce ideas. This guy I married – he’s a pretty stable guy. If it’s slow? He’s fine. If it’s mayhem? He’s fine. I wonder what it would take to get him all riled up….

So. Note to self. Next year, during the Shriner’s football game — double-up on dough, sauce, cheese, and staff. AND – WD40 takes gum out of carpet… no problem!


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