Wednesday, May 21, 2008


The tip came around noon. It subtly suggested that I don my best fedora and mosey up to the Square, for there was something I had to see. I'm no dummy, and this source has never steered me wrong.

Despite the sunny day, I slunk quickly in my trenchcoat and sunglasses, trying to look inobtrusive, nonchalant. It did no good to be too eager. Not with this on the line.

With the students gone, State Street should have been empty. But instead it was awash in shiny expensive road bikes, construction equipment, old men wearing cowboy hats, and people like me hurrying to the Square. Had others been tipped off too?

But not enough to deter me.

I had a mission, you see.

At some point, I turned off, to get out of the madding crowds, and walked past the burned down frat house on Langdon. They'd gone and posted giant signs thanking the Madison Police and Fire Departments for their work, and vowed to rebuild. I wondered where someplace like that would get the money, but spent little more time pondering.

I turned back onto State, and heard someone call my name. A student, who used to work for me. I waved but didn't stop. I can't be distracted. Nice try.

As I grew closer, I saw a school bus of kids near the Capitol. I knew my sister had said my nephew would be coming down for a visit; was that last week or this one? Didn't that kid look like him? The bus is from Green Bay; it could be him. Stay focused, Sara. You have to finish what you set off to do. He probably wouldn't want to say hi to his Aunt Sara anyway.

I turned the corner to my destination, and I realized how hungry I was. Well, it was lunchtime. Maybe after I get what I came for.

I slowed and surveyed the terrain. Mobs and masses of people. Slowly taking in the scenery, looking for their favorite, but most just in my way. I tore down the aisle, my eyes darting about, sure that it had to be here somewhere. And then I spotted it.

He sat, with only a couple baskets before him, and the cardboard sign seemed high. But they were authentic, and looked good, and that's all I cared about.

"I'll take a 1/2 pound," I said, and I slapped my money down. He counted out the morels, one by one, each nugget getting smaller and smaller. He handed my bag and I squirreled it away, out of sight, secretive and ready to dash off to finish my other shopping.

Ah....I love the Wednesday Farmer's Market.

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