I am reprising a column I wrote a few years ago on the coming of spring. It seems that by the end of February my coat weighs at least 75 pounds and time passes slower than a kidney stone. The earth is brown and lifeless.
I know spring is finally on the way when I have one of those annual experiences that sink deeply into our primordial beings. In years past I donned my parka, my Sears and Roebuck boots, my bank robber stocking cap and my Northern Minnesota snowshoes and trudge to the mailbox through snowdrifts that are deeper than William F. Buckley. It takes a few minutes to chip the ice and snow off the door. Lurking inside, coiled and ready to strike, is that venomous viper known as the 1040 Tax Form from your relative and mine, Uncle Sam and his illegitimate son Irs.
There are many other signs of spring: Groundhog Day, Valentine Day, my wedding anniversary, the Gurney Seed Catalog, ritual of clock changing. March 21 is the official first day of spring even though it is often cold and damp, but it does oil the hinges of hope on the door of spring.
Each year I am amazed how plants and trees begin to grow and bloom when the weather is still cold and damp. My spirit lifts and my heart sings when the first crocus and woodland flowers appear. A few days later a red tint appears in the maple trees, a greenish yellow in willow trees and then a green mantle begins to cover all trees.
One day I was hunting mushrooms with dad, grandpa and my brother in an area that overlooks the mighty, well sluggish, ribbon of brown turbid water known as White River. I was working my way through the leaves and May apple plants when out of the corner of my eye I saw something that looked like a huge man wearing a tan coat. It was The Giant Morel of Lore and Legend. It was huge.
I yelled, "Bring the crosscut saw, I have found a biggun!" They all scrambled to see the magnificent sight. This mighty morel was a tantalizing tan color and stood at least six feet tall and at least twice that much at the base of its body. Grandpa, a mushroomologist, estimated that it must have weighed at least 500 pounds.
Dad hurried to the barn to get Julius Wheezer, our old F-12 Farmall tractor and trailer. It took all the traction that the steel lugs could muster for the Wheezer to get up through the hills and hollers to where the mighty "W.T. Sherman of Fungus", stood. The crosscut saw was used to fell W.T. After we cut the dirt ball off the stem, Grandpa estimated that W.T. weighed only 487 pounds.
We used a winch and a Samson Pole to load W.T. and took it to be weighed at the Calvertville Feed Mill. Bill Crites verified that it weighed 476 pounds. The Farmer's Almanac verified the record. Spring has sprung.
Larry grew up north of Calvertville and graduated from Worthington High School and Indiana State four times.. Contact Larry at Goosecrick@aol.com or 317-839-7656.