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The Rolla Daily News - Rolla, MO
  • That's What I Think: Seeds predict cold, snowy winter

  • For many years, I’ve cut open persimmon seeds to see whether they reveal a knife, fork or spoon to help get an idea of what to expect for winter weather. Folklore says the knife means bitter, cutting cold temperatures.
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  • For many years, I’ve cut open persimmon seeds to see whether they reveal a knife, fork or spoon to help get an idea of what to expect for winter weather. Folklore says the knife means bitter, cutting cold temperatures. The fork means a mild winter. The spoon means we’ll be shoveling snow.
    Recently, well, just this past week, in fact, I picked up a bunch of persimmons dropped by the tree in my yard, brought them to the newspaper office, took out the seeds and cleaned them off, then opened them up.
    Everyone in the office is interested each year in what the seeds say, and a couple of the women who work here grabbed a knife and sliced open the seeds. Not every seed was legible, but most of them were.
    Every year, too, I buy The Old Farmer’s Almanac to corroborate the testimony of the seeds. For a third prognosticative source, I like to turn to the reliable woolly worm, also known as the woolly bear to some people (but not to me).
    Gloomy news is what I have, based on the seeds. We opened up many—I picked up 30 persimmons—and there was nary a one of them that had the mild-meaning fork. Seed after seed revealed the sharp, cutting-cold knife, a sign that you need to go to The Family Center and buy some Carhartt warm clothing.
    Once in every few seeds, there was an obvious spoon, harbinger of snow, so make sure you go to Lowe’s and buy a new snow shovel—or two. Also, go to Sands Farm and Home Center for some good boots and snow melting granules.
    Virtually by a 2-1 ratio of knives to spoons, the seeds spoke thusly: It will be a bitterly cold winter with some heavy, wet snow, maybe more than one during the season.
    Even if you put no stock in the prophetic gift of the persimmon seed, surely you can’t dispute The Old Farmer’s Almanac, can you? That is the almanac with the yellow cover and the hole in the upper left corner so you can hang it on a nail in the outhouse and read it during moments of quiet time.
    Rather, if you prefer, you can hang it on a nail in the warm kitchen, so you can sit during the winter and drink a mug of hot coffee or chocolate whilst perusing the pages of the almanac.
    Notice on page 96 a couple of colorful maps of the continental United States. The top map shows what to expect for the winter of 2013-14.
    My copy shows these words on the shaded area covering the Missouri Ozarks, most of Arkansas, most of Oklahoma, northeast Texas and southeast Kansas: “Cold, snowy.” The almanac agrees with the persimmon seeds.
    Page 2 of 2 - Enough corroboration for me, although I would have liked to have the witness of the woolly worm.
    No worm crossed my path this fall, though, so I cannot tell you whether the brown band was wide or narrow to indicate the length of wintry weather for 2013-2014. If any of you have seen woolly worms, I’d be happy to hear from you.
    There you have it, readers. It’s not like reading tea leaves or goat guts, for two sources, the seeds and the almanac are telling you to be prepared for snow and cold. Lay in a good supply of wood. Stock up on the essentials: coffee, sugar, flour, bacon. Be prepared, for you can’t argue with folklore.
    — — —
    Mayor Bill Jenks III has proposed that the office of city attorney, also called city prosecutor to differentiate that office from the city counselor, the legal consultant, be appointive rather than elective. Who knows? Maybe the mayor and administration can find some free government money to turn it into a full-time job.
    On one hand, the argument goes, that takes another right away from the people and puts more power in the hands of the mayor and council. That’s the argument of Councilmen Woolley and Hines. On the other hand, the office of city attorney is part of the executive branch and that official is part of law enforcement, so it isn’t an upsetting of the balance of power.
    Not enough Rolla residents care to vote in municipal elections to make this an issue, in my opinion. The council declined to take any action—not even hearing the first reading of an ordinance they had in front of them, at Monday night’s meeting—so they could collect comments from Rolla residents.
    Everyone with any interest in this non-issue should contact their council member. If the council hears from a dozen people, I’ll be surprised, given the fact that there wasn’t even a 10 percent turnout in the election of April 2012, the last time we elected a city attorney.
    You going to call your councilman? Then I hope you voted in April 2012, and I hope you will vote in April 2014.

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