In memory of a best friend growing up.
Yesterday, my daughter texted me, “Mom, can you text me your spritz cookie recipe?” Over the years this recipe has become known to my family and friends as Terri’s Spritz Cookies recipe but I need to set the story right! It belongs to my friend, Mary Jo.
I met my best friend, Mary Jo in second grade. Mary Jo was tall, lanky, and smart. Mary Jo was more than smart, she was brilliant. Mary Jo was always in the back row of all our school photos and I was always in the front row. I never got to stand next to Mary Jo, I was too short. She had one older brother, a younger sister, and a Mom and Dad, both teachers. I have six siblings running crazy at my house. I liked her house for its calmness and quiet. She liked my house for the commotion and excitement. Mary Jo was a furious reader. During the summer, I would stop over to play and found the whole family sitting in their living room reading the dictionary, bible, encyclopedia, and other thick, heavy, no-picture books. Mary Jo was often reading the dictionary, she won more spelling bees than I can remember. I remember she was the winner because I was usually the first one to sit down. Mary Jo was someone you were happy that won. One thing we did share was a love for Nancy Drew mysteries. One time, we even toss bread crumbs on the sidewalk, as a way to find our way home, as we headed off to find a missing kickball that we were sure a naughty neighborhood boy had taken.
As we grew up Mary Jo battle many health issues most dealing with lung illnesses. She was brave, determined, and did I say brave. One time, in middle school, she endured a surgery to remove a lobe of her lung. The doctors at Mayo, Rochester, Minnesota were impressed by how smart and knowledgeable she was regarding her condition.
We grew up, went away to school, and worked at our chosen professions, Mary Jo became an accountant. She took her profession very seriously and was honest to the very last penny. I became a nurse and realized how much Mary Jo knew and how bravely she faced her life’s chagelles and adversities.
One year, Mary Jo give me a gift for her December birthday. Mary Jo was never a great baker growing up she came over to my loud, filled with seven kids, and friends house, where my mom was always baking cookies and bread. But That year her gift to me was a spritz cookie recipe that she created herself. Mary Jo had a scientific way of thinking and she said, “I hope you enjoy my recipe I worked on it several years to get it just right.” I am sure she knew what ingredients to use and what each one would do to make her spritz the best cookies ever. And you know she was correct. They are the best cookies ever. I still have her recipe and make them every year. I enjoy every nibble and smile when I sit down with a glass of milk and remember playing CLUE at Mary Jo’s kitchen table.
Mary Jo is now in Heaven, and I believe enjoying her spritz cookies with baby Jesus.
Thank you Mary Jo for being my friend and teaching me so much about the important things of life. Miss you!
P.S. Mary Jo usually won at CLUE because she could remember who, what, where, and what tool was used to commit the murder!