A Candid Interview With A Morel


In the spring of 2020, The Great Morel had a chance to sit down and have a candid conversation with one of the most well-known morel mushrooms out there. Yes, that’s right!  This renowned morel asked that his real name not be used and to refer to him as Wilson, he also asked that his location not be disclosed. What follows is the open conversation about the life of this great morel. While the interview touches on some seriousness, along with humor, there are times where Wilson comes across as a cantankerous old fellow.

You can watch the interview in its entirety on YouTube.

Watch the Interview
TGM:  First off, thanks so much for taking the time and sharing a little about yourself. So tell us, what makes you one of the most prized and sought after mushrooms out there that mushroom hunters from all walks of life head to the woods in the spring in search of the ever-elusive morel mushroom?
Ya know, it is kind of crazy isn’t it? I mean people are always asking me, “What is life like being a great morel”?  I gotta tell ya, years ago it sort of bothered the liv’n crap out of me when I was asked that question. I used to think I must be pretty special but couldn’t figure why. I tell all my friends and others all the time, “hey look, I sit here and live my life in the most beautiful woods on earth”.  Don’t’ get much better right?
Before I go on though, let me say I am honored to be sitting here with the greatest of the great morels, so thank you for having me.
TGM:  Well thank you kindly, so go on.
Well when ya think about it, I get sun drenched when needed and most importantly, I have Mother Nature taking care of me. Then ya add to that, everyone comes looking for me to make them happy, and I have some of the coolest friends to hang out with. So go ahead, you tell me, I am just a morel living the dream!
TGM: What I am understanding from listening to you is – your life is pretty good huh?
Yeah, I guess my life does sound good right? I gotta tell you though, there are a few things we need to get straight because being a morel it isn’t all violets and daffodils. Ask Rutherford The Brave who was from up around Battle Creek Michigan, as much as he and I disagree on a lot of things, he’ll agree with me that it aint all that.
Let’s get one thing straight, and yeah I might be having a cranky moment, but we have to talk a bit about Ms. Mother Nature as you shroomers folks call her. I will say this, as much as I like her as a person, she can be a bitch. You morels hunters feel the same way about her so don’t think for a moment we get along all the time either. She and I go at it and I have some longstanding gripes that women, I’m am telling ya!  (grumble – inaudible) She’s made our lives hell at times and she can make it rough on all my fellow morels.
Again, I hate to sound like some cranky old geezer, but because of her my life isn’t always so happy and it’s simply because of the way she treats us at times. Maybe my friends or I have all ticked her off somewhere in the past, I don’t know. I can remember some pretty tough years where she punished us all pretty bad.
Like back in 2016 – and I flat out asked her that year, “What the hell are you doing to us?”  It was so freak’ n cold I thought my spores were never going to thaw. I’m telling you it was so cold too!  Hey, then there was the spring of ’76. For those who remember that year, you know what I am talking about. I was as parched as a thistle weed in the fall sun. It was so hot I felt like falling over and saying the hell with it. BEGGED HER for some rain – begged her. Dang gone (grumble – inaudible)
So life isn’t always glorious and if I have to blame someone it would be her. Yet everyone out there, including myself always remember the years when it was good though. Go figure.
TGM:  Even though you are holding grudges against her, it sounds like you have lots of fond memories growing up. Can you share a little and tell us what was it like?
Oh wow shit. Oops, am I allowed to say that?
TGM: Yeah sure, just try and keep it PG13.
Okay, got it, but I can remember the Mushroom War of ’94, and hey I am telling you it was about to get ugly that day. I remember it was me and ole’ Runaway Jim, who I might add was a hell of a standup guy, and we said to each other “Oh boy, this is going to get ugly”. It was in some backwoods up in Wisconsin, and wow. Now that I mention that day, I sure do miss Runaway Jim. He was this little short stocky kind of mushroom who acted bigger than he was, but like I said, he was a standup guy, just a good guy to hang with. Anyways, back to the story…it did get ugly that day though so Runaway and I just sat there quietly as it all went down. In the end, I can’t tell you who won that day. Just two old morel hunters going at it.
Now ya got me reminiscing a bit. I am drawing a blank on the exact year, but I also remember when this mushroom hunter named Don from southern Indiana cried because he was so happy he found myself and the rest of the clan in a place we used to call The Land of Lizards. We had a big gathering that day of about 30 or 40 of us down near a run-off by an old tulip poplar grove, and when Don walked up on us he literally cried like a baby. We all kind of laughed at his overreaction and thought it was hilarious. Ole’ Runaway Jim and I hid under the May Apples that day and laughed as we watched him cry. I guess Don must have felt he finally hit the Mother-Lode – but what a goof ball.

TGM:  Well, people do get excited when they find you guys sitting in a “honey hole”.  You have to understand there would be some sense of excitement?
Yah I get that, but crying like a baby? Who does that? Trust me, we’ve heard the hooting and hollering, and all that. I get it, but tears?  Come on.
TGM:  So tell us what is different being a morel today compared to back then?
Well, first of all, what the heck is up with every one wanting our damn picture?  I mean really? It has gotten a bit out of hand in my opinion, yet some of my buddies think it is cool, but I keep telling them “you guys aint movie stars”.  (chuckle) I’d tell Runaway that all the time. Taking our pictures all the time, it’s like what the hell?  What’s up with that? (grumble – inaudible) Really, I don’t get it and it beats me, but like I said, if you ask around some other morels will tell you they seem to like it. There is only one other morel who thinks it is as crazy as I do – old Runaway Jim. He gets all fired up and you may not see him all season long!

Watch on YouTube
Then ya got poor Prince Caspian. His real name is Spike Half-Free and not sure why the hell they called him Prince Caspian, anyway, he isn’t a bad mushroom, but he is as thin as a stick and sure as hell didn’t look like a Prince. Don’t get me wrong, and I don’t mean to laugh at him, but I don’t think he’s ever felt more like a loser. Fact of the matter is he never gets his picture taken. But hey, between you and I – like I said, Spike or Prince, he wasn’t the prettiest mushroom in the woods, ya know what I’m saying? Not to sound like one of those beefsteak bullies, I am just saying he isn’t the prize find.
I will give it to Prince Caspian though, he had a pretty lady friend named Wendy who had the prettiest cream colored body you’d ever seen. Anyway, she made a killer Bathtub Gin for him and she took good care of him and all his buddies. So yeah, he was well liked in his neck of the woods. Come to think of it, maybe they all just liked Wendy’s Bathtub Gin. (laughter) Runaway Jim and I sure did! (more laughter)
Then you’ve Ocelot from the other side of the woods. He is one my old friends that are part of the grey family from way back. They always had this odd saying “I’d like to live beneath the dirt, a tiny space to move and breathe is all that I would ever need.”  I don’t know what the hell all that meant, but those folks will hide once they see the camera come out, and I don’t blame them. Ya see, Ocelot and his buddies are the ones who get out early in the year and get the rest of us kick started when we don’t feel like making an appearance. Again, it does get a bit annoying. I guess it’s a personal thing with morels– some of us like our privacy and others want to stand out and be seen.

…we’d all hang out around at what we used to call the Elm Tree Club.

TGM: So why are you sitting here giving this interview?
Heck, ya threatened me with that knife your packing! What the heck did you expect?  (joking laughter)
The biggest difference is the fact we are losing our favorite hangouts. For years we’d all hang out around at what we used to call the Elm Tree Club. Can’t tell ya why for certain. It was always a place we felt most at home, kick back, get a little sun, shoot the breeze, sink the roots in the warm soil, but anymore those elm tree hangout are getting harder to find. Not only that, if we do all decide we are going to meet up at one of the old Elm Tree Club spots, it seems like every damn morel hunter knows to come looking for us, so it kind of ruins the party. Heck sometimes we couldn’t even finish our cocktails before those morel hunters were crashing our gathering!  Hey I will say, I tried to tell ‘em all to quit clustering up.  Sometimes morels are just asking to be harvested when they gather in a cluster.
Some folks I know started hanging out over at the old apple tree groves and having their cocktails and social events over there. Of course we have some other places we like to meet up, and no I am not telling you where, but man, something to be said about the old times had at the old Elm Tree Club. Hmmmm…man those were good times. (pauses)  Especially if Wendy showed up!  (heavy laughter)

An Interview With a Morel Mushroom

Watch on YouTube

TGM:  There are probably a lot of people reading this who would like to know, what personally brings you the most joy year after year?
Oh, so what? Now you’re going to get deep on me and try and get me emotional? Man come on.
(Sigh) Hmm…let me give that some thought…
I guess when I really think about it, maybe it is the fact we bring happiness to a small part of the world after a long winter hiatus. Ya know, people get excited about us once the snow starts to melt and the woods comes to life with the warmth of the spring sun. If you are going to make me get serious, then that’s probably what I’d have to say. That is what brings the entire morel family joy.  Knowing deep down, we make people happy. Oh and can’t forget the youthful shroomers – bringing joy to their faces might just be the best!
That sounds corny as heck doesn’t?
TGM:  No! Absolutely not.
Good then, that’s about all I have. So are you good here? I have some morel buddies of mine who I am supposed to hook up with a couple ridges over down by the creek. Go hang out with the ramps, ya know? Morels to see, places to go, and gotta get back on the train before it starts to get summer.
TGM:  Yeah sure were done.  On behalf of everyone, The Great Morel would like to thank you for giving us your time and that you sat down and were open.  No doubt there are more hunters everywhere who look forward to meeting up with. And before you go, did you want to introduce your lady friend?
This is Suzy and you can just call her Suzy Greenburg. And yes, if anyone wants to know, tell them I am partial to blondes. (a wink her way)
It might be noted that after this interview, he and Suzy who by the way, was a very attractive blond morel headed back into the woods. It was a “made for TV moment

You can watch the video on The Great Morel’s YouTube here

A special thanks to AbramsStudios.com the creators of  “Morels The Hunt 2 for providing the audio visual for this interview.