It is morel season in Southwest Michigan. We have sometimes found these delicacies in our five acres of woods but not for the past several years, even in the spots where they had appeared before. You never know where they’re going to pop up. I found two big ones by the side of the road the other day when I was picking up trash. I washed them thoroughly and sautéed them in butter with asparagus. Yum. But we haven’t been persistent about combing every inch of our own woods for morels.
Several days ago my husband told me that someone had stopped by our house and asked whether he could hunt for mushrooms on our property. Vic said he’d given the man permission to do so but asked him to “leave some for us.”
“What?” I exploded. “You let somebody else take our mushrooms? Why would you do that?” I reminded him that several years ago I had chased somebody off our property who brazenly parked along the road and began roaming the woods right next to the house.
“But this guy asked for permission. I said yes because he asked,” Vic said. My husband has a soft spot in his heart that makes him kind to strangers, like visitors to church or telemarketers or mushroom hunters.
I was steamed. “That’s no reason to let somebody trample all over our woods! Looking for mushrooms that aren’t there! And if he did find any, what does that even mean, ‘leave some for us’? Was he supposed to leave them hidden in the woods or put them on our doorstep, and do you really think he would do either one?”
Mushroom hunters are notoriously greedy and secretive about their picking spots. I am not inclined to give them free access to MY property and let them take MY mushrooms, even if I can’t find them myself. The very idea brings out my greediest and most possessive self.
Vic did not respond well to my attack, and the shouting went both ways. Somehow his shouted “I’M SORRY!” didn’t sound all that sorry to me.
Actually it was more a hissing match than a shouting match because this argument took place in the church parking lot. That evening I’d been elsewhere but we were meeting up at church for an event. We happened to pull into the parking lot at the same time and he reported this to me as we were walking into the church so we had to douse the fire pretty quickly.
By the time we got home we had a chuckle when we saw no mushrooms on the doorstep. “I guess he didn’t find any,” Vic said blandly, knowing very well that I never thought there would be mushrooms on the doorstep, whether he found any or not.
Fast forward five days to yesterday. We had been away for the whole day and came home after dark, carrying in bags of stuff. Vic unlocked the backdoor and went in ahead of me but didn’t see a scrap of paper on the step. I picked it up. It read:
“Dale Foster left mushrooms at Back Door between door and screen door.”
I looked down. On the dark sill was a whole row of morels.
I don’t know if Mr. Foster found them on our property in a second search or if he found them elsewhere and came back to repay my husband for his kindness. But we will enjoy them tonight and I will eat them with my words.