In Hawaii, where my mom was from, there's this idea of having a calabash aunt. These are adults you're very close to as a child, but who aren't blood relatives. Despite growing up in the Midwest, I happened to have a calabash aunt, who, as far as I knew, never set foot on the islands.
Aunt Mag lived about 10 minutes away from us and shared a house with her brother, neither of whom ever married. He was a soybean farmer, and she did everything else. My parents met them when my father, a plant scientist, needed a soybean farmer to help him with some experiment of his.
Aunt Mag took me off my parents' hands when I was undoubtedly driving them crazy. We went to garage sales in the summer, I helped her wrap Christmas presents and make sugar cookies in the winter, and every spring, we would go for walks in a forest preserve near her house looking for morel mushrooms.
I think in decades of looking, she found one.
The other day, I was walking down the sidewalk, and I noticed something growing under my dogwood.
I know a little something about morels, having been on a hunt with a mycologist, where we found some.
Because I'm a cautious person, I'm consulting with a mushroom expert ... but I'm nearly positive I have morels! Aunt Mag would fall over if she could see these little guys growing in our front yard.