It was a beautiful Spring day. The sun was shining and there wasn’t a cloud in the sky. Nothing but a deep shade of blue as far as the eye could see. I got off the highway exit and onto South Side proper a man on a mission.
With windows rolled down and the 80’s on 8 station blaring “I Can’t Hold Back” from Survivor it may have seemed a bit apropos but all things considered I wouldn’t have wanted it any other way. I pulled into the parking lot of the local pizza shop named Pino’s. One of the last true remaining food joints in South Side.
Growing up in the late 70’s and early 80’s we had places like Barney’s and Hucks for cheese steaks, Lucy’s for penny candy and Brother Brights Soul Food Store for the more acquired taste. Sadly, the proprietors of those establishments have long since gone on to their great reward. The only one that still remains a fixture of South Easton is Pino’s Pizza.
The shop has been called “Pino’s” for as long as I can remember and is still the only place in the area where you can get a real pizza that isn’t from one of those faux pizza places like Dominos or Papa Johns.
Pino’s sits as part of strip mall next to a grocery store. A place where as a child you would grab a slice while waiting for your parents to finish grocery shopping, which I did on numerous occasions.
Over the course of my lifetime its gone through several owners and at least three remodels but as far as I’m concerned, as long as it keeps the Pino’s name and location it will forever be associated with me.
As I got out of my car and made my way to the door I could hear off in the distance the sound of lawn mowers humming along at the housing development nearby. The sound of which reminded me of all the spring days I spent as a teenager covered in grass and gasoline mowing lawns while accumulating money to grab a slice and a Coke at Pino’s.
I walked inside and saw two people who, like me are synonymous with South Side. We’ve been friends since elementary school and try to get together every so often just to catch up. And of course, our rendezvous point is Pino’s. Oh sure, we chat regularly via email and the social networks but there’s just something about being face to face in a familiar place that’s nostalgic. Especially a place where you spent your own childhood.
It amazes me just thinking about how the three of us have all grown up and now lead lives of our own and how, as we discuss the current events in each of our busy lives the conversation always turns to how much we love Pino’s. We all have the same common bond with the place that each of us ate lunch and had late night pizza binges at dozens of years ago.
After we had said our goodbyes and made a promise to get together again soon I decided to drive past the old laundromat that stands not too far from Pino’s. It too is a place that I spent plenty of hours in growing up playing video games while waiting for my Mom and Grandmother to finish drying our clothes.
I peered inside and could smell the familiar fragrance of detergent and fabric softener as the clothes were drying. I thought to myself that one day I’m going to have to go in there again just for old times sake.
I suppose it would have to be at a time when it wasn’t so crowded though. I don’t think it would look right if someone were to see a forty-year old man tearing up inside of a laundromat.
Needless to say, a smile came across my face as I turned up the radio and headed for home. “Our House” by Madness blared through the speakers and my smile turned into a laugh. I love the 80’s.
Every day I am constantly reminded how blessed I am to just be alive and still be able to spend days with good friends at Pinos.