Local History: Shrooming and short stories

I’ve been writing weekly articles for The Vermont Journal and The Shopper for many years now. I like to write on weekends. Sometimes I get caught up in life and find myself pinched for time. This week’s article is one of those times.

Sometimes it seems I no sooner finish an article then it’s time to write another.

Burgess Cemetery Road in Grafton
Burgess Cemetery Road in Grafton. Photo by Ron Patch

For the past two weeks I’ve been out picking Matsutake mushrooms, shrooming as I call it. Matsies tend to grow in the least accessible locations. In the past two weeks, I managed to pick over 30 pounds. This was my best year.

Being perishable I needed to find homes for them quickly. I gave Francine about eight pounds in total. To others I gave a pound or two. J.D. received the most, maybe 10 pounds. J.D. dehydrated them for future use. It kept him busy for a couple days. I pigged out on the rest!

I’ve had them prepared many different ways. Francine sliced the six-inch diameter caps in long slices, liberally rubbed with olive oil. In a baking dish under the broiler she roasted each side for seven minutes. She dropped off some of these delicacies for my enjoyment.

They resembled slices of veal. These were the best I’ve had. They were very tender, similar to a filet mignon. Matsies are an excellent meat substitute.

  Just for fun

Here are a few short stories I wrote several years ago, for my own amusement, just for fun. Each sketch is loosely based on an actual person or event. Names and antics are my creation.

A tourist needing directions saw Henry walking up Main Street, stopped, and asked, “How to you get to Grafton?”

Henry said, “Most folks drive.”

Elmer Brooks

Elmer Brooks was a man of few words and easily irritated if asked to repeat himself. Elmer minded his own business and expected others to do the same. He lived on North Street near the stone schoolhouse.

One day he was outside rebuilding a carburetor when a Cadillac with Connecticut plates pulled into his driveway. Elmer being busy paid him no mind. It was then that the man blew his horn to get Elmer’s attention. Elmer put down his tools and slowly walked over to the Caddy. The man asked directions to Ascutney.

Elmer: “I don’t know where you’re from mister, but around here if we want directions we get out of the car and ask.” Elmer turned around and went back to the carburetor he was working on.

The man in the Caddy opened his car door and walked over to Elmer and asked, “How do you get to Ascutney?”

Elmer turned around and noticed the man was dressed in plaid pants and jacket, with white golf shoes. Said Elmer, “Well Geesus mister, if you can afford them fancy clothes and them stupid shoes you ought to be able to afford a roadmap. Now you get on down the road with your fancy car and stupid shoes and go bother someone else, I’m busy.”

The Caddy man left perhaps a little wiser.

Annie and Winston

Annie and Winston were 37-year-old twins. They had always been close. Annie did get some upset with Winston when he forgot her birthday.

A common answer to the question, “Is the glass half-full or half-empty?”

“I don’t know but it’s time to refill it.”

Jackie Krupsky: “Come in sit down converse. My house is dirty but usually worse.”

Mordecai Mason

Mordecai Mason was a lawyer in town. He was an eccentric man who claimed Perry Mason was his uncle. Mason’s courtroom antics were, well, entertaining. One time in court he wore his suit backwards as he faced the judge. When the judge objected, he turned around. Now his shirt, tie, and jacket were facing the judge, but Mordecai wasn’t. The judge, now irritated, demanded an explanation for such behavior.

“Your honor,” said Mason, “the arresting officer claims my client was so intoxicated that he didn’t know whether he was coming or going. What I have proven in court this morning is that you might not have known whether I was coming or going but I did.”

The case was dismissed.

Tune in next week for a more typical article. The photo with this article I took several years ago on Burgess Cemetery Road off Route 35 in Grafton.

This week’s old saying my mother said when someone was lying: “Bullticky.”

Back To Top