This post isn’t about me or about Mr. Sweet Butter, it only starts that way. This story is everyone’s story; yours, mine and a beautiful lady named Jennifer Perillo.
I lift my eyes from my laptop to see Mr. Sweet Butter where I find him more often these days, sitting directly across from me, his eyes skittering across the latest internet page to catch his attention. Up until just recently I hadn’t considered how accustomed I’ve become to his presence or the comfort I find in having him here with me. I’ve simply taken it for granted.
I should know better.
I nearly lost him once.
On a typical Autumn day in 1999 he went out for coffee like he did every morning before I went to work. His timing was always perfect and I could pinpoint when he would walk in the door within a couple of minutes. He was never late. This Monday he was. Within 10 minutes I knew something was wrong and on instinct I called the local state troopers office.
“Can you please tell me if there have been any accidents on Route 9 this morning?”, I asked with a shaking voice.
Officer “Um..one moment please.” After a few minutes, “Is this Tara?”
My heart fell to my feet and my breath stopped in my chest. There was only one way they could have known my name. After responding, the trooper confirmed Mr. SB had been in an accident. Catching what air I could I asked, “Is he alive?”
With deep caution in his tone, he replied, “He was went I last saw him.”
Mr. Sweet Butter had suffered a cerebral hemorrhage and was facing brain surgery if it didn’t stop on it’s own. When I arrived at the ER the Trooper that had been on scene and had also been the one to answer my call. He asked me a few basic questions, then thoughtfully put his pen down, turned to me and asked,
“How did you know; I never even had a chance to call you. How did you know?”
My response was simple, “He’s never late.”.
Mr. Sweet Butter came home to me and his baby boy and since then I have always appreciated his compulsion for promptness and schedules. I’ve had 16 years with my amazing husband and for today, he is with me still. I can only pray and hope for many more, because eventually our time will end.
Sadly that time came last Sunday for a well known and highly loved fellow blogger, Jennifer Perillo and her beloved husband Mikey. Without warning Mikey suffered a massive heart attack and without a chance to say good-bye or tell him how much she loved him one last time, he was simply…gone.
Jennie and their two little girls have found themselves unexpectedly afloat on the sea of loss and grief, their oar and anchor are gone. Their skies are grey and the sun has hidden for awhile.
But they are not alone.
There’s a community of people from around the world, a community of food bloggers, that in Jennies hour of need, have reached out to support, love, pray and send whatever blessings they can. Some are close to her, many are far. At one point it was even noted by a writer for CNN. The outpouring has been immeasurable.
Showing incredible resolve and resilience Jennie has commented on Twitter periodically this week even posting two heart wrenching posts on her blog. One is a video with no writing, no recipe to augment a tale; it doesn’t need it. It’s simply titled “One Last Dance” and the video tells it all.
In the second post she tells the story of her last date with her beloved husband of 16 years; a rare occasion that presented itself three weeks to the day before his passing. It’s aptly named “For Mikey“. She reflects on this last cherished moment alone with him; on the life they shared. Poignantly there is one photo in this post, a picture of Mikey’s left hand, his wedding ring reposed gracefully on his resting hand. It’s the same place she’s seen it for 16 years and yet I can’t help but wonder what propelled her to snap a picture of it this day? It’s as if something quietly nudged her in impulse, whispering “Always remember..Forever.”
I didn’t know Jennie until word of Mikey’s death began to travel like a brush fire across the web but like so many I’ve cried many tears at the loss of this lady, almost having been there; not being able to imagine the reality.
I was drawn to her; I wanted to help. At the end of her post she mentions regret, the regret of not having made Mikey a pie he had been asking for, a peanut butter pie; It was his favorite. Jennie says how she just took for granted she would have another day. We’ve all done it “I’ll get to it tomorrow.”
So she asked us all to make a peanut butter pie, for Mikey;
for those we love;
for the moments of time we have to play with our children, to step into the welcome embrace of our beloved, to choose kinder words over angry ones;
for all the tomorrows we have discounted in the vain belief those tomorrows will come.
Once upon a time I used get annoyed by the rigidity at which Mr. Sweet Butter used to manage his time. All it takes is a single moment to remember and be thankful.
In her darkest hours when we were the ones lifting Jennie, blowing wind into her sails, it was Jennie who was teaching and lifting us. Jennie is telling us in her quiet beautiful way, be grateful for every moment, be thankful for every breath, cherish every kiss, be mindful of every word. She reminds us to take nothing for granted and if we are blessed enough to meet the sunrise shining on the faces of those we hold dear;
and make pie.
For Mikey, Jennie and their girls
and for our now and each blessed tomorrow.
- Serves 10 to 12
- 8 ounces chocolate cookies
- 4 tablespoons butter, melted
- 4 ounces finely chopped chocolate or semi-sweet chocolate chips
- ¼ cup chopped peanuts
- 1 cup heavy cream
- 8 ounces cream cheese
- 1 cup creamy-style peanut butter
- 1 cup confectioner's sugar
- 1 – 14 ounce can sweetened condensed milk
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 teaspoon freshly squeezed lemon juice
- Add the cookies to the bowl of a food processor and pulse into fine crumbs. Combine melted butter and cookie crumbs in a small bowl, and stir with a fork to mix well. Press mixture into the bottom and 1-inch up the sides of a 9-inch springform pan.
- Melt the chocolate in a double boiler or in the microwave. Pour over bottom of cookie crust and spread to the edges using an off-set spatula. Sprinkle chopped peanuts over the melted chocolate. Place pan in the refrigerator while you prepare the filling.
- Pour the heavy cream into a bowl and beat using a stand mixer or hand mixer until stiff peaks form. Transfer to a small bowl and store in refrigerator until ready to use. Place the cream cheese and peanut butter in a deep bowl. Beat on medium speed until light and fluffy. Reduce speed to low and gradually beat in the confectioner's sugar. Add the sweetened condensed milk, vanilla extract and lemon juice. Increase speed to medium and beat until all the ingredients are combined and filling is smooth.
- Stir in ⅓ of the whipped cream into the filling mixture (helps lighten the batter, making it easier to fold in the remaining whipped cream). Fold in the remaining whipped cream. Pour the filling into the prepared springform pan. Drizzle the melted chocolate on top, if using, and refrigerate for three hours or overnight before serving.