Biscuit (Noun) : A person who is willfully ignorant and almost certainly incompetent

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The Pride Pizza

It was sometime in 1982 that my 5th grade class gathered for the annual spelling bee. Las Vegas had already called in and proclaimed me the odds-on favorite as they should. As it was with most things back in the day the match would come down to me and my arch-nemesis, Randi Brown.

I remember that we went past time because we got to stay after school to finish the match as Randi and I matched each word for word.

I have no recollection of how many in a row we spelled, but it was quite a few. And then Randi tripped up on the word “mollify.” In case you are wondering, it means to try to appease the anger or anxiety of someone (or a group of someones).

I thought this spelling bee was going to go on all night because even though Randi missed it (using only one “L” in her spelling of it) I had no clue. I went with the obvious and put two L’s in it. I had to spell some softball of a word to finish her off which I did, and I took home the trophy.

This of course sent Randi and I on to the “regionals” where we’d duke it out again one evening in beautiful Williamsburg, IN.

As I recall there were about 30 kids. We drew numbers for order, and I was 4th. She was like 26th, somewhere in the back. And then the carnage began.

The first three contestants all missed, and then I was up. They gave me some crazy word I honestly don’t recall and just like that I was gone. They then mowed down many of the rest of the area’s best spellers with a bunch of words nobody had ever heard of and got to Randi, who pulled a correct spelling out of her ass on some word and ended up finishing fourth, mostly because everyone in front of her got blitzed, including me. Oh well, my trophy for winning the school spelling bee was still much nicer and bigger than her 2nd place trophy was.

I was honestly pretty depressed at my showing at the regionals. Dad took me out to the car and instead of turning left to head home he turned right. I didn’t ask why.

Not long after, however, the reason was revealed. He was driving us up to a restaurant called Clara’s, which you Indy folks will know, and bought us dinner. Clara’s served that delicious pizza king style pizza, it was hard for a kid like me to go wrong with that and a pitcher of Coke.

I was still disappointed in my “performance” and at one point while knocking down another piece of party-cut thin crust pizza I asked my dad, “I didn’t do very well, I don’t understand why I’m getting rewarded with pizza here.”

He took a sip of his coke and said simply, “because I’m proud of you.” It wasn’t just the regional disaster but the win at the local elementary. And my academics overall. I’m sure somewhere else along the line he had told me similar things, but that one has really stuck with me over the years. I walked out of the place stepping in high cotton, and didn’t even care the next day when the morning announcements congratulated Randi on her 4th place finish in the regional.

Are you proud of someone today? Make sure you tell them you are, you might be surprised just how long it sticks with them.

5 thoughts on “The Pride Pizza”

  1. Now ask me again why I continue to thank God he gave two of his best to your mother and I. I’M STILL PROUD OF THE TWO OF YOU.

  2. Thomas “Pops” Petty

    Beautiful story. Thank you so very much for sharing.

    I was over 40 the first time I recall hearing my fatter say he was proud of me. The acceptance by a parent, is crucial for our emotional growth.

    Learn to express your appreciation of others to them. It means more than you think.

  3. Well written. I too am very proud of both you and your brother. Both of you have become an asset to the world. Love you forever. 😎❤️🙏

  4. I’m proud to be your friend Chance, and I’m glad that we have remained connected all these years. You taught me a lot.

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