5 years ago I got the first taste of life outside the nest. I moved 80 or so miles from my mothers house in Fond du Lac, WI to live with a best friend and future co-touring cyclist Matthew Frintner in Stevens Point, Wisconsin. There I met some of the best friends I have and made memories I will never forget. However, it wasn’t long before destinations unknown were within my grips and I left Stevens Point to begin a quest of volunteering with AmeriCorps NCCC in Perrypoint, Maryland.
Gathering dust in a corner of my mind, behind a couple doors of opportunity, through hardwood forests of hard work, inside a city of colors, on a sheaf of coffee stained parchment, is a memory entitled “Philly Taco.” While in AmeriCorps NCCC, I piled a few new friends into Forest Blau, my 1996 blue-green Buick, to drive and spend the night in Philadelphia. My friend, Starbuck, was a recent graduate of Drexel University and wanted to show us the town for a weekend away from “Ameri-Life”.
Thus, in preparation for whatever chaos we could create, we had to plump ourselves up with food. That was when Starbuck told us we had to go and get the “Philly Taco.” What you do is this: 1. Gather friends and go to Lorenzo’s Pizza. 2. Purchase a pie, just cheese will do, to go. 3. Walk a short distance to Pat’s to get the Philly Cheese Steaks. 4. Go upstairs in Pat’s and begin assemblage of the “Philly Taco”. You take your cheese steak with all the fixings, and yes, roll it up in a giant slice of Lorenzo’s Pizza. 5. Indulge.
A hefty, heartache later and your sitting happy. Stuffed to delirium and surrounded by friends, a perfect beginning for what the rest of that night.
Now I am sitting in Mestre, having dusted off one of my favorite memories of the highest of cuisines, preparing to embark home from yet another adventure. I have kept seeing signs for pizza, as I am in Italy, mixed with kebab shops… These things got my wheels turning and my gears grinding. It is my last day so why not go big? I mean, I am going home…
Might I introduce to you, the “Italian Taco.”
Cherish all moments of life and if the opportunity arises make a twist on an old fate. Life is just so good that I find it unbearable to live if I didn’t know what a “Philly Taco” was and the story behind its introduction into my life. The world seems so big, but today, I brought a memory of happiness to an imagination of future “crappiness”.
My grandest of thanks go out to the one and only Starbuck. You are see an empty space and summon the most basic of needs. You are a McGyver of volunteerism and without knowing you as a friend and role model, I would have never concocted this beast. Thanks!