Sunday, August 28, 2016

All You Can Need

When I was a high school student at the Mainland High School in Daytona Beach (Buc Pride Never Dies!) our group of friends was known to frequent a local pizza buffet called "Mr. Gatti's." It was about $6.50 for the pizza/pasta buffet and a pitcher of soda and we would eat there often. There was a back room where cartoons were always played and our request for them to play Bugs Bunny was always met. This was a place we ended up at quite often. The number of our group would range from 3-4 to 25-30 and our presence was guaranteed to put their pizza ovens into overdrive. We wanted to make sure we got the most for our money and did some serious damage to their bottom line (even if it didn't show in our waistline at that age.)

I don't remember much about the taste of the pizza. In fact, I'm pretty sure it was far from the best we ever had. The best memories of our many hours spent there aren't about the food at all (even if a buffet can be a teen's best friend.) It was much more about the community we shared with each other. We laughed, told stupid stories, flirted with each other, shared dreams for our future, and wondered what was going to come next. This place was special because it represented a safe place for us to be in this season of our lives. It holds memories (even though it no longer exists) of a group of high schoolers who weren't quite sure what was in our future, but knew we wanted to enjoy the time we had right then.

There is solid power in community. The togetherness of over 25 years ago is still cemented in my memory as valuable and important. We still need those places of gathering and a close group around us even if an all-you-can-eat buffet isn't part of our present agenda. We just need to be part of a group that delivers those same values regardless of the menu.

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