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Mysteries and Mushrooms

by Dorothy Kleindienst | May 7, 2022 at 4:00 a.m. | Updated May 8, 2022 at 7:30 a.m.

It's here! The time of the year so many look forward to. Mushroom season is in full swing! Years ago, I remember my husband David, planning his vacation around the season. It's Mushroom hunting time!

Last week I got a text from a friend, Kerensa Briseno. She lives in Alma, Missouri. She said the funniest thing just happened. She was at a gas station and a man walked up to her truck carrying a bucket. Well, this usually means someone is asking for money. However, when she rolled her window down, she could see it was a bucket full of fresh morels!

He asked her if she would like some. She was surprised and said sure! So, she looked around quickly for something to put some in and the only thing she could find was a bag from a fast food restaurant.

She put a couple handfuls in her bag and then the nice man offered her more, but she told him that was enough for a good mess.

I know what it takes to find all those mushrooms. It used to be David and I climbed every high impossible looking hill, where no one else would go, and we would fill our mushroom hunting bags. We can't climb those hills now, like we use to do, because of David's health issues and we are not spring chickens anymore either. So, we have to be selective about where we go to pick. There are so many fun memories and funny stories we have to share over and over. So even now the fun goes on.

Last year David and I were crossing a bridge. As we passed over, I looked down and I told him, "I believe I saw a mushroom." That familiar web, yellow mushroom pattern is hard to mistake. He stopped and backed up. Yep, it was a mushroom alright.

"I'll pull up where you can get out and go down to get it," he said. I told him I was NOT going down there alone! There may even be snakes!

David couldn't go down because of his COPD. He kept trying to get me to go get it. It looked so big and pretty setting there. "I will watch you from the bridge," he said.

I kept shaking my head no. Finally, I got out and began my walk, fussing every step of the way at myself for even mentioning it.

On the way to locate the one I had seen; I saw another one and picked it. Then another. Finally, I got to the spot and located the one I had seen.

I picked it then started back out. Again, I picked one, and then being so watchful of snakes, I noticed leaves move in front of me. I stopped and looked. There was a mound of leaves like the size of a coffee cup moving. Wind? I was curious and kicked the pile with my foot. It was a big, white, untouched by sunlight, mushroom! Did I just witness something here?

We wasn't sure if this was still in the conservation area, so sadly I did not go look for any more mushrooms there.

I have to agree with someone who said mushroom hunters are strange people. My dear husband is the kind of man who is very protective. As we were expecting our third son he treated me like a fragile doll. Well, that is until mushroom fever got him.

We had gone for a little walk. Couldn't go far. Had two little boys, Daniel and Randy, and one due, Eric, any day. Be careful honey... Don't try to get over that fence, he would say. He sure is a worry wart, I thought. How can I explain what happened next?

"Dad.. Mom.. I see mushrooms over there," one of the boys said. Then something snapped. All of a sudden all four of us were racing, pushing and trying to get there first. Big white mushrooms everywhere!

The boys still tell the story every year about how mom rolled under the barb wire fence, and came up running, and how Dad tackled her so he could beat her to pick the mushrooms.

Well, times have changed and we used to be the ones sharing with other people. Now Kerensa was asking if we wanted them. She said her family didn't care for them.

There are a lot of mysteries and myths concerning mushrooms and this is another mystery. Why would a perfect stranger give away their mushrooms? And even more, she innocently asked him where he had found them and he tried to give her directions to his "honey hole!" That just isn't done! If you ask a veteran mushroom hunter where he found his mushrooms he will say, "If I tell you, I'll have to.." Well, you know.. the thing, the thing.

I wonder if he did it just because he thought she was pretty and trying to win favor? I hope not because she is engaged!

She did bring us mushrooms and she kept a few and fried them the way I told her I do. Rinse well, roll in flour, salt and pepper, and fry. She said now she will need more! They loved them!

I cringe when I hear how some people fry in butter with garlic, etc.. If they are going to do that, they might as well buy the toadstools sold in the stores. I'm kind of kidding here, but really now. These little blessings only pop up once a year. Savor the delicate flavor, don't smother it out with other flavors. I thanked her and gave her one more piece of advice. Go back to that gas station for gas!

CORRECTION: The byline on this article was edited at 7:30 a.m. May 8, 2022, to credit authorship to Dorothy Kleindienst.

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