"Do you guys know what a puffball mushroom is?" Teri asked as she went to sit down at her computer after lunch.
And the next thing I know, she and I are headed out to the location where she spotted one on her way back to work.
"Don't you have a 1 o'clock meeting?" she asked.
"Who cares?" I said. "This is a puffball!"
She directed me to the location. I did my best not to speed.
Sitting in the right of way between the road and private property was an odd little spheroid.. A lump of white about the size of a pair of venn soccer balls, overlapping at about 73 percent.
It was the biggest, most perfect, magical puffball I have ever seen. I plucked it from the grass and it seperated from its stalk with a reluctant tug. It was firm' the skin was tight and not pocked or broken. I pulled a few tiny millipedes out from the mushroom's stump and tried not to think about them. Terri and I hopped back in my van and we drove back to work.
We walked it into the office and I grabbed a knife from the office kitchenette. Terri and I had agreed to share it, so we had to split it up, but I knew that this was the moment of truth. When I sliced through this mushroom, I would either see tender, delicate white fungus flesh, or I would see the yellow streaks of a miracle just passed.
It was the purest white inside that I have ever seen. I believe I heard children giggle as I split the mushroom in two.
After work I told my daughter what we were going to eat for dinner and she whooped and danced with her arms over her head for three full minutes.
I took it to my father's house because I knew he had a well seasoned cast iron frying pan and two sticks of butter. I gently sliced and peeled the fungus into fillets the size of a deck of cards. Fried with some chopped onions, butter and a little salt and pepper, they were ambrosia. Crisp around the edges and creamy in the middle. Amazing.
It is an amazing gift to find a mushroom this beautify. And it is an amazing gift to share it with three generations of my family.