I grew up in a family that would go for Sunday drives. These Sunday drives usually had some sort of a destination in a round-about way. We would end up at a hot dog stand in Patterson, New Jersey, or we would end up getting butter pecan ice cream cones in Nanuette, New York, but my favorite was when we would end up at Pie Man Sam’s in Tallman, New York.
Sam’s wasn’t like a normal pizza shop. It was a quasi skanky bar with a seating area with a stage. The walls were painted with murals of jazz players and flop house scenes in the fat and round style of Diego Rivera. They were dark scenes inside a Beatnik bar.
We would order a pizza and I was given coins to play this shuffle bowling game until it arrived. The pizza would arrive at our table cut in strips rather that the tri-angular slices that other pizza shops offered. This made the meal taste a lot different for some reason.
With bellies full of good hot East Coast pizza we would get back to our Oldsmobile for the drive home which always seemed to happen at dusk. Though we drove the back roads we would drive on over-passes that went over the New York Throughway. Sunday evenings were the time when all the people that went to the country for the weekend were returning to New York City for the beginning of the work week on the following morning.
Being the Throughway was a toll road that had periodic toll booths, traffic would back up for miles leaving the visual of slow moving long red ribbons of brake lights as far as the eye can see. There were long head light ribbons of traffic heading in the opposite direction from people that visited the City and were returning to the suburbs.
Whenever I see the ribbons of backed up car tail lights on the freeway, I suddenly remember the taste of Pie Man Sam’s pizza, and the warm feeling I always had on our Sunday drive home.