Mom and I walked briskly away from our farmyard buildings. Mom wore a brown plaid jacket and carried a large wicker hamper. The hamper fascinated me. I had a foggy memory of it coming into our household years before, filled with large bunches of dark purple grapes. Since then, it has been lined with fresh newspaper each year and used to carry mushrooms we picked.
Warm afternoon sunshine reassured me we’d have many more warm days before winter. Last night had been very chilly, reminding me of the beastly cold winter nights to come. Shaking off thoughts of both cold weather and my fifth-grade schoolroom confinement earlier in the day, I skipped and gamboled alongside Mom as we walked down the cow lane between fields. I was excited to go with her to our neighbor’s back forty to pick mushrooms.
Stumps of trees cut down years before dotted a small portion of our neighbor’s field. Thousands of small mushrooms grew around each trunk and along the deteriorating roots radiating from them. The small, newly emerged mushrooms are called buttons. They grew quickly from one day to the next. The mature mushrooms had light colored caps with dark brown gills underneath and looked like small umbrellas. Big or small, they all tasted wonderful when Mom sliced and fried them in bacon grease.