Monday, September 15, 2008

Peanut Butter and Butter?

As a child, lunch was always a bit of a surprise. Mom was usually sleeping or not at home so we had to forage a lunch without her. The surprise was - surprise! there's food to eat - or surprise! get creative. Most of the time being the latter, we learned to eat almost anything between two slices of bread. My favorite was mustard. Yes, that was the sandwich. My brother's was peanut butter and butter.

My niece, Erin, recently wrote to me and said "I have to let you know, I cannot eat a peanut butter and butter sandwich without thinking of my Dad. I have no idea if the stories are even true but, for some reason I think someone once told me he used to make them for us as kids. So whenever I feel lonely or heartsick, or even just plain bored. I pull myself out of whatever chair I am in and go into the kitchen to make myself a peanut butter and butter sandwich on plain old cheap white bread.

Yes, Erin it's true. Erin's dad was my brother. Some of my readers may already know that he died when he was 32. His oldest son died also in the accident. They left behind his wife and four younger children. Yes, it's sad, but that's not what this is about. Erin was next to the youngest. She has very little true remembrance of her father. She was just a tiny little one when he died and has had to rely on many relatives to tell her the stories of her father and older brother.

When I asked her about food memories, this was the first to spring to mind. A simple, but well made, peanut butter and butter sandwich with cheap white bread. Mike came to love them. I did not. I tolerated them as they would take away the hungry feelings in an empty tummy. My brother, the brave conquering hero that he was, embraced the challenge and made them a part of the person he was. He even, to my dismay, fed them to his children. And they gobbled them up as if everyone who didn't like them was crazy. Creamy peanut butter spread thick on a slice of bread, the other slice a smear of butter, - actually margarine - butter was reserved for us a grandma's house not home, when put together made lunch for a king.

Simple food. Great memories. A father long gone. Memories to this day that make a heart full and comforted in the quiet hours of an afternoon.