Preston and I love being from a small, quintessential little town called Heath Springs. It’s a place that doesn’t have any stop lights unless you count the flashing “Yield” sign at the end of Main St.
Heath Springs is a place that hasn’t forgotten it’s roots. The train comes through and blocks traffic at exactly 7:20 every morning to the dismay of all the mama’s trying to get their kids to school on time. You’ll also find Joe, the local boiled peanut connoisseur, and his vegetable trailer at the fork just north of Main St. Downtown Heath Springs is home to a small post office, a dentist office, a church, an antique store, and one of our very favorite restaurants.
Heath Springs Pizzeria.
Tonight’s blog is about this little gem and the wonderful owners, Steve and Linda, that we are blessed to call our friends. HSP quickly became a hangout spot for us from the time it opened several years ago. Steve’s “day” job is that of a nerdy computer software genius administrator for a company in Charlotte NC, or something like that. 🤓. Linda worked in administrative management of a local medical practice. Linda left her job to support the Italian Steve’s dream of opening a pizzeria. I remember me asking why there? Why a pizza restaurant? Becuase they wanted a place within the community that they could share the gospel and feed people a good pie. To this day, she still handles the day to day management. Steve, like many small business owners, still has to work a corporate job for the benefits.
Anyway, the pizzeria became an instant hit. We had Pastor Brad that worked there. We would laugh and say we had some holy, blessed pizza. Brad eventually got called to a church up North but we sure still miss him. It’s a gathering spot for young and old, alike. Steve and Linda will pull up a chair and talk to you about church, your grandma, and how the new grand baby is doing. HSP became Preston’s favorite after one particular outing. Preston had previously lived in Chicago before he and I met. He knew what a true Chicago deep dish pizza was and had never been able to find a real one on the Eastern Seaboard. He said South Carolina was full of frauds. Until he had Steve’s famous, authentic one. That thing was so thick. I’ve never seen one like it since. Preston was sold.
When Preston got sick and was in the hospital over an hour away, Steve and Linda made numerous trips to see us. Before Preston took that near fatal fall in rehab, Steve and Linda were with me during the transfer from the hospital to the rehab center. Becuase the rehab center was adjacent, there was a tunnel from one to the other. Steve, Linda, myself, the aide, and Preston entered an elevator and laughed when we quickly made the discovery that 6’5 Preston’s legs were to long on the gurney. The elevator doors wouldn’t shut! Preston’s legs had to be lifted and held up. It was so funny.
The laughter didn’t last long. Within 48 hours, Preston began another battle in the fight for his life that lasted nearly 3 months. Steve and Linda never wavered in their friendship and support. With the restaurant, Steve working full-time, and he and Linda stretched thin, they never forgot us. I can’t even begin to count the number of pizzas that they fed my kids during this time. Or me. They even arranged for my friends to gather and throw me a birthday party while Preston was still not responding. My friends gave me a reprieve from what I was dealing with.
When Preston came out of his coma and began his rehab journey, he craved a pizza. Because he was still being fed by a feeding tube and still had a trach in his throat, he had to wait. Steve fullfilled his promise to bring Preston a pizza as soon as his doctors would allow. The picture is worth a thousand words. Even the nurses wouldn’t take it from him.
Even after he was able to come home, we’d make weekly treks to our favorite pizza spot. Many times with either Steve or Linda pulling up a chair and just talking. That was the best therapy ever for Preston. Not many people, especially at that time, knew how to act or what to say about our new circumstances. HSP was also the place that I used as a therapy of sorts. Everyone knew us and the waitresses were very patient. Preston was comfortable enough to order food, and relearn how to use his debit card and count money, etc. It also played a huge part in helping the tall guy regain 100 pounds that he had lost. 🤗
Just recently, Preston and I, Steve and Linda, and Matt and the crow, all went out for a night of food, fun, and fellowship…. no pizza involved! It was a sweet reminder of how blessed Preston and I are with some awesome people in our inner circle. I had told Steve that I wanted to write a blog about him, Linda, and the famous pizza dive they own in Smalltown USA.
I’m honoring my word tonight. GO check them out! You will NOT be disappointed.
Thank you Steve and Linda, for the best pizzeria in the state of South Carolina. Thank you more for being our brother and sister in Christ. And a last thank you for not ever kicking me and the crow out over our shenanigans!
Friends are priceless. The pizza, on the other hand, is worth every dime.
Until next time,
The pizza loving beancounter