It’s the day before Easter, and I stand with my father on a gray-gravel parking lot in what is called France Park. This is not an exotic European location, but a rock quarry turned park located just outside of Logansport, Indiana, the town in which I was born. We have come to hunt mushrooms, or at least my father has come to hunt mushrooms. I’ve come 745 miles by car to film my father looking for mushrooms. These are not the button mushrooms you might find on a pizza but spongy morels that can look like a sort of miniature brown Christmas tree.
the morel mushroom
The idea is that I–with the help of my sister Anne and indie musician friend Jeremy Vogt–will make a documentary film about the art of hunting mushrooms. It’s my hope that the following aspects of the film might enable it to screen at a festival or two: the quirky nature of the act itself, the unusual personalities of my father and his friends, and that this group is not only losing the ability to hunt, but they have also lost several of their friends to death. One of these friend’s name is Bob March, and the night before I joined four hunters in the basement of Bob’s house and listened to them tell stories from the hunts of years’ past. Bob’s wife Sharon granted us access and her brother Jeff let us into the house. The mushroom hunters I know are not emotional men prone to showing weakness or opening up about their feelings, but they could not fully conceal their bittersweet sadness as one story led to another. I hope to live long enough that I can remember old friends and the activities we loved to share.