Its early May and my thoughts (a lot of my thoughts) turn to hunting Morel Mushrooms. It’s a bit of an obsession and many people understand it as they also obsess about hunting Morels. They’re an ugly little fungi but the hunt for them is as sweet as the taste of them sautéed in butter. My husband Will doesn’t even like to eat them, but loves the hunt. There’s nothing quite like that very first sighting of Mr. Morel each spring. You walk for miles, looking for a “mushroomy” spot; your eyes scan the forest floor, searching….searching. I always think that I’m missing them and then you spot him. Without fail, I conjure up my best Barbra Streisand as Fanny Brice in Funny Girl and say, “Hello Gorgeous”.
So what do Morels have to do with dogs you ask? Not a whole lot actually, but they make me think of my Grandma Mariam, and my Grandma has a lot to do with my love for dogs. I get asked all the time about where my deep and abiding love for dogs originates. It comes partly from my mother, but probably more so from my Grandma. To me, my love and respect for nature and all things living is deeply tied to my love for dogs. And my love and respect for nature and all things living is tied to my Grandma. My fondest memories of my Grandma are of her working with plants and flowers, her with her dogs, and of time spent with her shelling in Florida. She owned a greenhouse for many years and her retirement job was working on a fishing/shelling boat in Sanibel, Florida. I remember being awestruck by her knowledge of the living shells and their habitat. And she had a really cool pet Pelican named Yankee who visited the boat and would let her pick him up and hold him. Now that’s a cool Grandma.
As a young adult, I invited my Grandma to come and visit Will and me in our home. I had just discovered Morel hunting and wanted to show her what I knew. Of course, she already knew about hunting Morels and schooled me. There are several species of forest plants that show up about the same time the Morels pop. I had my favorites and knew them by sight. I pointed them out to her, but didn’t know their names. Grandma did know their names and I discovered May Apples, Jack in the Pulpit, and Trillium. Now whenever I see those plants, I smile and think of that week together. We found some huge Morels too which was a bonus.
My Grandma passed away a few years ago. She lived a full and productive life and was surrounded by a family who loved her. My Grandma had a temper and when she was grouchy, you just gave her space. I think I inherited that from her too. We can’t all be perfect (wink). But grouchiness aside, I loved to spend time with her and hear her stories. And as an adult, I really do appreciate all I learned from her. And I treasure the impact she had on me by sharing her love of nature and all things living. There are many more things I loved about her but this is the greatest and I feel it is the best part of me.
Note: My Grandma also loved to read and write. I got that from her too and plan to put the writing part to better use in the future and stay current with my blog. Who knows, maybe I’ll even write something about dogs.
Jack in the Pulpit
April, Mom, and Grandma (1980??)
Grandma with one of her Shelling students.
He’s an iconic TV celebrity. Do you recognize him?