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Today is October 4, 2022

Outdoors

Country wisdom and predicting the future

Country wisdom and predicting the future

The prediction of a late cold snap didn’t thwart the propensity to bloom in these azaleas. Photo: Tony Kinton

    One distinct advantage to country living is the collection of small towns associated with the lifestyle. And I suppose I should add also the marvelous tales emanating from a great many of those so domiciled.
    Grand stories and small towns seem inseparable, for it is in these towns that folks gather. Enter any retail establishment and you are likely to find someone you know. And that someone will want to talk.
    So, please don’t rush; take time to visit. Hurrying away could cause you to miss matters of significant import.
    In just such a setting it was that I found myself on April 18. I had stopped in at a store that handles practically everything from plumbing and electrical supplies to pocket knives and baseball caps.
    I walked in wearing knee high lace-up boots, a sloppy hat, faded jeans, green chamois shirt and carrying a wooden longbow. No one thought anything of it.
    I was there to buy a section of PVC, but fortunately not for plumbing. I was intent on fabricating a tube for the take-down Osage bow that would fit in my duffle for a trip to Africa. When I announced my purpose for being there, all ears turned in my direction.
    But soon my story grew dry and inconsequential, and the subject turned quickly to weather. A perfect topic, politics aside.
    “The weather forecast says it’s gonna be cold tomorrow,” one customer noted. Tomorrow would be the 19th, but it was the 22nd that immediately became the focus.
    “You know it will,” the lady at the register added. “It thundered February 22 and it is always cold in April around the same date it thunders in February. It will probably frost.”
    Two days off is not so bad when making a long-range prediction with nothing more than the past as a radar.
    “It won’t frost now.” Another customer entered the debate. “The bluebirds have already laid their eggs.” 
    “Well, the eggs may freeze ‘cause it’s gonna be cold.” There was now another individual opining in reference to this long-held belief.
    I had to agree with the prognostication of cold weather, for as long as my mother was cognizant and capable, she recorded any day in February when there was thunder. Seldom did the pattern prove false. And if you are wondering, yes, there was a touch of frost during that cold snap.
    All this banter set me to thinking of the many “truths,” perceived or otherwise, I had heard during my life in the country. And since most were somehow affiliated with nature, I concluded that these would fit in an outdoor column such as this is purported to be. Here are a few:
• It’s too cold to snow: I have heard this all my life in regards to Mississippi. But after I was the first time in snow with temperatures far below freezing, I began to question this. However, there is likely some element of truth when confined to the immediate area. We get our coldest weather when the sky is clear and heat is able to escape. Snow doesn’t fall from a clear sky.
• Stinging snakes bury up in the mud and wait for somebody like you boys to step on them: While likely believed by a scattering of folks, it was probably employed to keep errant barefoot boys from walking in the mud—and ultimately tracking assorted debris attached to the feet of those errant barefoot boys into the house.
    I close with a few more upon which I will not expound:
• A dream told before breakfast will come true.
• If the wind spreads a chicken’s tail feathers, it is going to rain.
• If you see lightning in the south, it will be dry weather.
• It will soon rain when smoke from the chimney falls to the ground.
    True or false, these old country sayings? I don’t know.
    But I do know that I will eat black-eyed peas and pork on New Year’s Day! And like the words to that old song as these relate to my life in the country, I shall not be moved.

    Tony Kinton has been an active outdoors writer for 30 years. “Uncertain Horizons,” book two in Kinton’s “Wagon Road Trilogy,” is now available. Order from your local bookstore, Amazon.com or Kinton’s website: www.tonykinton.com.

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