Long time ago!

Melissa White pictured with Mrs. Ochoa’s 1999-2000 fifth grade class at Fulton Elementary.

Last winter I received an email from Rockport resident Wayne White. That in and of itself isn’t unusual, but this particular email originated from Antarctica.

Wayne was the manager at the South Pole Station at the time.

In case you missed it, I strongly encourage you to flip back to the front page of this edition of your hometown newspaper and read his story.

He is quite an interesting man. I never knew we had such an explorer in our midst.

It always amazes me how we can go through life and either forget something, or simply fail to put two and two together.

Wayne’s wife, Melissa, sat in on my interview at Wayne’s request, and not long into it she pulled out the class picture of Mrs. Ochoa’s 1999-2000 fifth grade class at Fulton Elementary.

“I was your youngest daughter’s teacher that year,” she said.

I was silent. I had completely forgotten that.

Melissa White came in as a substitute that year, and then became our daughter’s fulltime teacher.

Today she is a teacher at Sacred Heart School.

In case you don’t know me well, I love talking to people and hearing their stories.

Interviewing Wayne reminded me again how much I enjoy interviewing and writing stories about interesting people in our community.

Up to now, I’ve always seemed to have too much on my plate. Call it getting older, or something else, but I’ve got the itch to do more stories like the one about Wayne.

There are a ton of folks living in Aransas County with interesting life experiences … and I want to interview as many as possible.

If you know anyone who has an interesting story to tell, even if you think they wouldn’t want to do so, please email me at the address at the end of this column and give me a name, contact number, and a very brief explanation about what makes that person’s story interesting.

Let’s see where this leads!

Who is eating all the pizza?

I love pizza, as I’m sure most people do. My favorite is thick crust pepperoni with jalapenos … but it’s hard to beat Panjo’s thin crust peperoni with jalapenos.

I recently received an email from some outfit talking about pizza eating habits.

The opening paragraph read, “Deep dish, thin crust, cheese or pepperoni - no matter how you slice it, people love pizza.”

It went on to note, according to brick-and-mortar marketing expert Zenreach, pizza restaurants have seen an increase in foot traffic of 49% nationwide since the beginning of 2021.

You reckon COVID had anything to do with those numbers?

The report said Los Angeles has seen an increase of 156%, and California as a whole saw an increase of 119.69%. Chicago saw an increase of 85%, just beating out New York City (82%).

Phoenix trailed behind the nationwide average of 49% with just a 5% increase in foot traffic. Arizona is only up 3.90% overall.

While Chicago is beating New York City, New York state has seen an increase of 92.18%, beating Illinois’ increase of 79.66%.

Texas saw a 29.42% increase, and Florida saw just an 8.84% increase since the start of the year.

While glancing through the report I thought back to my college days at Texas A&M. The student newspaper, The Battalion, always published stats each month showing how many pizzas were delivered to different dorms the previous month.

In college most of the “fake” was gone. It was nothing like high school. But then, I did discover one area where one of the sexes was in fact trying to project a certain image in the dining rooms.

I ate family style with the Corps of Cadets for breakfast and supper. At lunch, I was free to eat anywhere on campus.

What I discovered was just about all the young ladies ate salads at lunch, while the guys pigged out.

When the Battalion published the monthly numbers about where pizzas were being delivered, the girl’s dorms far outnumbered the boy’s dorms.

It all started making perfect sense. I had learned one of my first life lessons. If one eats salad for lunch, for any reason, he or she (and the aforementioned cases, it was she) necessarily must order pizza during the day to make up for the rabbit food one ate for lunch.

It’s simple science … and of course, today, if you don’t “follow the science” then you’re a racist.

Life was a lot simpler, on so many levels, back in the 70s.

Getting my pizza statistic report in the student newspaper was something that I looked forward to.

I can only imagine what that simple report would look like today … if published at all.

Until next week, have a good week.

Mike Probst can be reached at publisher@rockportpilot.com.

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