There’s a myth about downsizing that goes something like, “Once you get rid of this stuff, you’ll never miss it.” So not true. Many times over the past five years, since I moved from an unreasonably larger home to a reasonably smaller one, I’ve had this inner dialogue:
Me: “Now where did I put [whatever] … ?”
Myself: “You’ve looked in all the likely places?”
I: “I’ll bet you gave it away.”
Me: “No. Never. Not me. It’s too precious.”
Myself: “Speaking for myself, it was probably time to let go of [whatever] …
I: “I’m not sure I can ever forgive myself for that.”
Me: “Don’t blame me!”
Just today this discussion ran through my head as I searched for my husband’s extensive collection of books on identifying, collecting, and cooking wild mushrooms. It all started when my friend Marilyn and I decided to hunt morel mushrooms this morning. It’d been years since I’d hunted morels, most certainly one of the world’s finest fungi. I relished the opportunity for us to be one in spirit with our late husbands, both of whom were aficionados of morel collecting and cooking.
After several hours, she’d found six, I’d found three, and the nine of them were so small they couldn’t cover a twenty-dollar bill. Which is exactly what I happily paid per pound later in the afternoon for freshly picked morels at the Farm Stand in Okanogan.
Since I’d been thinking of nothing but morels all day, I drove home salivating. I thought about John’s books. Maybe I’d find a tantalizing recipe. Yet I couldn’t find the books on any of the obvious shelves. Had I betrayed him by giving away his beloved mushroom books?
I didn’t really need a recipe. Morels are utterly delicious just fried up in butter with maybe a tiny splash of wine. But how could I enjoy them in the midst of guilt, regret, and sorrow? Finally I remembered an obscure, high cupboard, reached by climbing a ladder. There were five books, our favorite five of John’s collection. They’d been hiding, just like morels like to hide from their hunters. I’ll spend a while thumbing through the books and then probably fry the morels in plenty of butter with a splash of wine.
(To celebrate my 75th birthday this month, I’m posting daily stories about the stuff I’ve acquired over a lifetime and can’t let go of. I invite you to consider the stories attached to the stuff you treasure—maybe even share them.)