A RAMSEY, ILLINOIS Pit Stop in Late April

Driving home from Illinois is no longer a one day trip. This past Tuesday, I left Bloomington at 5AM heading to my son’s house in Tennessee. I am NOT an interstate driver, so I had my two-lane course planned out. I could leave Bloomington heading South on US 51 South and drive all the wayyyyyyyy thru Illinois and a tiny bit of Kentucky, before getting on a different road.

About 7AM, driving thru Ramsey, Illinois, I decided to look for the local pickup truck drivers. I watch for them parked at a cafe and know that is a good spot to grab a meal. Sure enough, I spied a half dozen trucks parked and stopped in. Upon entering, there are two tables of guys  and I am certainly not what they were expecting to see over morning coffee. [I have my hair colored at the beauty shop in a most beautiful and unusual shade of purple….really, it is lovely…..but unusual.]

The easiest way to meet their stares is with “Morning guys” to them all as a group. It’s the ice-breaker. I order from the waitress and they have asked how I came to Ramsey. I say and one of the guys points to a baggie on the table asking what I think of its contents. I reply “why, you lucky dog. If you aren’t careful, I may just slip out of here with that and be thrilled to do it.” He has a bag of morel mushrooms that another guy at the table brought to him.

Morels are the prize mushroom of our Illinois world. They are to brag about, divvy up one at a time and never tell where you found them or whose property you had to trespass to get them. Supposed to be in Georgia, but I have never found any.

Best line ever, came a few minutes later when another guy at the table, said to me that Gary [the mushroom sharer] was selling morels for $5. a pound [if someone will sell, they go far higher than that], “you pick”.

It will forever be a classic line. I couldn’t help busting out laughing. And I can’t help sharing the story.

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