Tricia Hague-Barrett: Mushrooming in the Paddocks

Recently, I was giving some thought to the vegetable world.  I had come across a statement of `Abdu’l-Bahá’s in the book “Some Answered Questions” in which He tells us:


“All the elements that are combined in man exist also in vegetables; therefore, if one of the constituents which compose the body of man diminishes, and he partakes of foods in which there is much of that diminished constituent, then the equilibrium will be established, and a cure will be obtained.  So long as the aim is the readjustment of the constituents of the body, it can be effected either by medicine or by food.


“The majority of the diseases which overtake man also overtake the animal, but the animal is not cured by drugs.  In the mountains, as in the wilderness, the animal’s physician is the power of taste and smell.  The sick animal smells the plants that grow in the wilderness; he eats those that are sweet and fragrant to his smell and taste, and is cured.  The cause of his healing is this.  When the sugar ingredient has become diminished in his constitution, he begins to long for sweet things therefore, he eats an herb with a sweet taste, for nature urges and guides him; its smell and taste please him, and he eats it.  The sugar ingredient in his nature will be increased, and health will be restored.


“It is, therefore, evident that it is possible to cure by foods, aliments and fruits; but as today the science of medicine is imperfect, this fact is not fully grasped.  When the science of medicine reaches perfection, treatment will be given by foods, aliments, fragrant fruits and vegetables, and by various waters, hot and cold in temperature.”  – `Abdu’l-Bahá


When I was just a little girl of 11 years old going on 12, my brother, Geoffrey, was only 9 years old and always getting into mischief.  The stories I could tell you about his escapades would fill a book, and of course, that will have to wait till another time.  I only had two kinds of foods that I absolutely craved: Lollies and Mushrooms.  I loved lollies so much I could eat a 3 lb bag of mixed lollies in a couple of days. 


My first job after leaving school was behind the sweet counter at a shop, and I was told I could eat whatever I wanted.  Boy, they didn’t know what that consent would mean to me.  The other joy of my life, mushrooms, were instilled into me as a young child.  Fried in butter and this black gravy with heaps of mushrooms was perhaps my favorite food of all time and still is to this very day.  Yummy!  I will never forget the adventures we had in getting them for a meal.


My mother and stepfather liked to go on long trips on Saturdays into the countryside to look for mushrooms. Whenever we were looking out for big mushrooms growing in a paddock, we had to call out “mushrooms!” and our parents would stop the car so we could race each other to climb out of the car, run to and jump over the fence with our buckets to go collect them. I was the oldest, the strongest and the fastest, so I could get more mushrooms than my brother. We had different colored buckets and we wore old clothes. It didn’t matter much if we got dirty because Saturday was our bath day and it would be fun to clean up later. I had my bright red dress on today, and Geoffrey wore old trousers and a green jumper.


Sometimes we would fill both of our buckets to the brim and bring them back to the car to take home for tea. However, sometimes we would not find many. Now that was sad, because we loved mushrooms cooked in butter and in black sauce. On this day, my parents found a paddock with a lot of mushrooms in it. My brother and I were so busy picking mushrooms and had nearly filled our buckets completely when suddenly, I heard a very strange noise. A sort of Thud! Thud! Thud! 


Turning around, I saw the biggest red bull that I have ever seen, and it was pawing the ground and getting ready to run towards us. I yelled out loud to Geoffrey, and we both picked up our buckets and started running towards the car.


Flinging the buckets over the gate, and with the big red bull right behind us, my brother jumped up and over the fence before me. As he jumped over the fence, his trousers got caught in the barbed wire, and it pulled some cloth right out of the back of his pants.


I jumped over the fence too, and just in time – part of my skirt was ripped as well. The big red bull stopped chasing us, but only after banging into the fence, giving us a huge big fright.


We were both still shaking when we got into the car, and our eyes were open really wide in wonder at what had just happened to us. 


Guess what? We never went mushrooming without looking all around the paddock first from that day forward.


Something just seemed a little bit special about these mushrooms today, we thought, as we tucked right in. Yum, yum….  and each one of these large mushrooms would sit on a dinner plate. 


I also wonder why I get the craving for them from time to time.  Does my body require them?  Is this what my body requires to balance out the sweet intake?  


Tricia Hague-Barrett
Author: Tricia Hague-Barrett

Tricia Hague-Barrett Is a New Zealand Bahá'í and applied for membership in 1973. She has served in many capacities, including as Public Relations Officer and was appointed an Archivist in 3 communities. She has served on several Spiritual Assemblies. She is a published author and poet, has written an Autobiography, and she has helped produce and been one of the voices on “Bahá’iTime” on Community Radio. She has created several video presentations for YouTube. Tricia studied art with The Learning Connexion in Wellington, NZ receiving a Diploma of Art & Creativity. An artist with multiple talents in Pottery, Sculpting, Painting, chanting and other arts, she has also tutored art with little children as well as adults. She was invited to go to the Marshall Islands to help create 52 radio programs based on the Hidden Words of Bahá’u’lláh (2004) Her love of art has seen her create posters, pamphlets, and articles during her lifetime, and of course many other things to help further the Cause of Bahá’u’lláh. A mother of 5, grandmother of 12, and a great grandmother of 2.

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