Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Wilbo Worries That He Is Wasting the Spring; He has Yet to Find a Michigan Morel Mushroom.

I worry that I am wasting Spring, and my worry is amplified by memories of a harsh winter just recently lifted. I see forsythia bushes in yellow flowers and forget to take a picture. We have a few flowering trees bursting into floral fire. The apple trees have yet to follow the hint into effortless efflorescence. Soon, flowers and pollen will turn the surface of streams yellow and will cause my nose to run then stopper up. We're pretty free of Mosquitos yet, too.

Morel hunting began in earnest April Twentieth and I have yet to find one. I'll admit. I have never found a morel mushroom in all my years walking through ruined apple orchards and pine barrens. The two kinds of forests are described as likely spots. I believe I have until the ground warms to find a morel in an edible condition. Puffballs I have found many times. My younger brother has the balls to fry up slices and eat them. Morels I have never found. One year has to be the year I find a bunch. I haven't stepped foot in a ruined orchard or a pine barren to look yet, and time is elapsing quickly this Spring. Shakespeare has a nice hint: the fragrances of May burn in the heat of June. Not going to find a bunch of morel mushrooms in June.

The accounting secretary I knew in the previous decade called me June, obviously a play on my last name. She taught me that for a woman from Minsk, little was more important than harmony at her employer and harmony in her home. She framed her son's picture in a brass framed embossed with suns, stars and moons. She wrote long emails in Russian somehow on an American keyboard, sending these off to women she knew around the world. All of them had left home to be married.

One day, I found an antique book on morel hunting. She had asked me where to go to hunt morels during our break time smokes. So I left the book at her desk. I told her at our next smoke break. She snubbed out her cigarette, and said, "I am the happiest girl in the world"! She raced back to her desk for the book.

She bought a house of her own using a government program I had told her to use. She divorced one man and married a man who managed a department of our Kentucky factory, a farmer too. She wrote me a note to say goodbye to her "dearest friend". She never said if she had found any morel mushrooms. She was a seeker, so I am certain she prevailed.

My search for morels is aggravated by envy. I went through a few years where I attended a weekly comedy show at a local Holiday Inn. Every Thursday night, I would show up and a high level executive from my company would spot me there before the show. He had a massive, powerful frame that required bottles of Bud Light to relax. I would sip a Sam Adams. He had signed off on my hiring.

He would tease me about the comics: "So, are you here to see the clowns or the jugglers"? When the comics came on stage, he would take a few bottles up to his room. He stayed at the Holiday Inn while keeping tabs on his manufacturing people.

Until showtime, he would talk about his property near Alpena, hundreds of acres of land that ran wild with deer and bear. And he had an all terrain vehicle that made finding all the morel mushrooms a cinch. He brought in zip lock bags to give away to top salespeople, keeping them chilled in a break room freezer.

He left the company a few years ago, taking with him a payday that amounted to tens and tens of millions. Noticed him heading up a venture fund in California and managing one of their companies, an aerospace firm. One the occasion of a farewell banquet, he brought in a crockpot of bear stew and a side dish of morel mushrooms.

I never go see comics anymore on Thursday night. I listen to lectures at the art museum or take in a play at a nearby community theater.

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