Running Granny Green encourages women, especially grandmothers, to gain greater fitness by providing tips and inspiration to insure long years of joyful grandparenting.

The cookie recipes are a bonus!

Monday, March 9, 2015

Monday Mood Mender: A story about a mushroom

This story is from my first book, Gold Pans and Iron Skillets. I hope it makes you smile.

New Mexico Puffball Incident 

My childhood was crowded with adventures, many of them real, some imagined. To the impressionable young mind of a five-year-old, even threatened adventures can be horrific. So it was with the New Mexico Puffball Incident.

Giant Puffball Mushrooms, technically known as Lycoperdon Maximum, can appear extremely menacing to a youngster upon first encounter. One particular puffball was discovered alone in a grassy field in the hills of New Mexico. The Miner Forty-niner, a.k.a. Wells, had taken his youngest girls and their mother on yet another adventure, mining Mica and Amazonite with the assistance of some New Mexico Natives and a few sticks of dynamite. On one damp morning the Giant Puffball was discovered. The Miner declared that Esther would be fixing this tasty dish for dinner. After all, we were living off the land. The idea did not seem too incredible as we were also residing in a pickup and camper, bathing in ponds and making imaginary motorcycles out of old tree stumps. Never having encountered a puffball, I was somewhat apprehensive. It resembled a batch of bread dough, minus the bowl and warm yeasty scent. I still associate the aroma of damp milkweed with bulging puffballs—and danger!

Esther, ever ready to play along, ceremoniously presented the monstrous mushroom on a large dinner plate. I was certain my parents were going to make me bite into that thing! Only when the knife was inserted and a triangle slice removed was I certain they could not force me to take a bite! The interior was dark olive green goo. Disgusting! It was so disgusting that my younger and older siblings have both blocked the experience from their memories. Esther denies it. Wells is no longer here to argue about it. But I know there was a puffball with a knife in it on a plate in a camper in New Mexico!

Lycoperdon Maximum. It is edible while yet unripe. It can grow to nearly 20 inches in diameter. Ominous! When ripe the flesh turns green, flaccid, and mushy. Odor and flavor become, yes, disgusting! As it continues to age, the green flesh dries and becomes a dark powdery sponge that escapes its skin, scattering spores to give life to yet more puffballs. If conditions are right—humidity and temperature allowing—additional ominous edible mushrooms may appear.
 Now I knew I didn’t like the looks of the thing when I first saw it. The Miner’s threat of consumption made it even more disagreeable; and on closer inspection, it was apparent that I would forgo the edible experience—at all costs! Fortunately, it wasn’t necessary that I snub my proper upbringing by refusing to clean up my plate—another sign of danger. The Giant Puffball itself saved me. Its hideous flesh had the last laugh, for neither of my prankster parents could bring themselves to partake of that green gooey surprise!

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