Part II

This post is the second installment in the series I like to call "Jeanne Takes The Day Off and I Really Miss Her...(Alternatively titled:  How To Have a Breakdown Prior to Noon)." You might remember that PJP was without Jeanne last Tuesday, leaving me at the wheel of the struggle bus for most of the day.  By way of back story, because I'm taking a week of vacation in June, Jeanne decided that she wanted a number of long weekends rather than a whole week away from PJP Buttonwood.  And honestly, that sounded like a grand idea when we discussed it in April.  The reality?  Not so much.

Today found me facing several large pie orders for 10 am pickup.  My anxiety was so high about the amount of work that needed to be done that I actually didn't even go to Caribou for our regular iced coffee to start the day so that I could get right to work (and this could have been a tactical error on my part...apparently my head hurts really bad if I don't drink a large vanilla iced coffee between 7:45 and 8:05 am).

And it wasn't as if I didn't have help this morning...both Sanae and Mitch arrived bright-eyed and bushy-tailed soon after I unlocked the door.  The main problem is that without really knowing it, we've created a PJP world where I don't bake any of the fruit pies.  So from her home on 30 acres south of Osage Beach, Jeanne coached me through Fruit Pie Baking 101 on speaker phone while Gunsmoke blared on the television in the background.  I'm sure that is totally what she had in mind for her day off.

By 10:45, Mitch and I looked at each other and declared Tuesdays to be "Solid Top Tuesdays" from here on out...meaning that neither of us had the inner strength to do one more lattice top on a fruit pie and therefore, solid crust top seemed the way to go.  My favorite part of the whole morning was when Mitch surveyed my handiwork and said to me..."You know what Jeanne told me the first day I worked here?  That it didn't have to be perfect because it is handmade."  I think that was his sweet way of saying every fruit pie going out the door will taste delicious, but look nothing like Jeanne's.  Legit.

I'd like to throw in here that we were also out of baby pie boxes, big bags, small bags, and most of our sanity by noon.  Finally by 1:30, I started to turn the corner...meaning, I finally had finished baking long enough to start on the mountain of dishes looming precariously in the corner.  And then the next thing you know, Jeanne strolls through the front door.  I KNOW.  I think I heard some angels singing.


I suppose the desperation in my voice as I put tinytinytiny lattice strips on cherry tarts struck a soft spot in her heart.  Or perhaps her fear that I was crashing and burning in her absence was overwhelming, but whatever...she was there to stay.  And all of a sudden, all the PJP world felt back on course again.  How does just her presence make that happen?

The rest of the week promises to be busy at PJP Buttonwood with Mother's Day, Nurses Appreciation Week, and Teacher Appreciation Week but we are switching spots tomorrow and I'm going to learn to lattice with all the tactical speed and perfection of Jeanne and she can reign over the cream pies.  And then maybe she can actually have a day off...