Previous Challenge Entry (Level 4 – Masters)
Topic: WEATHER (07/19/18)
- TITLE: Proverbial Predictions
By Marlene Bonney
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Grandpa stood outside the screened porch door, peering through his spectacles in the stillness of the morning. A mourning dove cooed its lament, followed by a cacophony of chirping birds as if to make up for the deafening silence.
“Gonna rain for sure, Old Fella,” the old man commented to his aging dog, “I feel it in my bones.”
My grandfather was the wisest person ever. I hung on to his words like a worm clinging to a bobbing fish hook. Sure enough, it rained and stormed all that day, even as Gramps settled in his lean-back chair with his throbbing leg joints resting on Grandma’s embroidered pillow.
I was there for my summer vacation from school, enjoying the natural flavor of rural farm life—a far cry from my citified existence—spending time helping with chores and whatnot. As busy and tiring as the day-times were, the lazy evenings stretched out in front of us like a first prize ribbon at the fair. Playing games with Grams & Gramps while we sipped our Root Beer Floats was a memory I carried with me during the following school year. Then, Gramps would pick up his old careworn Bible and read a passage for us to mull over while we slept.
“Billy, Jesus even spoke of weather patterns, like , ‘When you see a cloud rising in the west, immediately you say, 'A shower is coming,' and so it turns out.’ That’s in Luke, chapter 12, boy.”
But that didn’t keep him from his own store of weather wisdom:
‘The higher the clouds, the better the weather.’
‘If the first week of August is unusually warm, the winter will be white and long.’
‘When the dew is on the grass
Rain will never come to pass.’
These were some of his favorite oft repeated sayings. Old-fashioned or superstitious nonsense some would say, but to me they were more true than the Old Farmer’s Almanac setting, all dusty, on a corner shelf in Grandma’s parlor.
My parents would roll their eyes when I would look out our clapboard house windows—we lived just inside the city limits—and repeat Gramps’ weather predictions, but soon appreciated my forecasts—especially that winter. . .
It was Thanksgiving Break. Mom was having trouble peeling some of our orchard apples and my mouth was watering for the scrumptious pies she would make.
“Ma, did you know that the thicker the apple skin, the colder the winter?”
“Yes, honey, and also according to your grandfather, which I’m not saying I believe, mind you, our flowers still blooming outside indicate a bad winter.”
I went outdoors for some further investigating of my own. That’s when I found HUGE cones on the ground around and under a pine tree bordering our yard. And, sure enough, the acorns spread across the lawn from our oak tree wouldn’t crush when I stomped on them. Grandpa’s words echoed from somewhere in my brain like my voice does when I climb down our old dry well:
‘Remember, Billy, extra-large pine cones and thicker acorn shells man an extra-cold and severe winter.’
On the way back to the house, I saw a caterpillar creeping across our gravel driveway with furry black bands at each end with only a tiny reddish-brown stripe in its middle.
“That settles it, Dad, we’re in for a real doozy of a winter—wouldn’t be surprised if we even saw a blizzard or two.”
“Okay, okay, Son. If that’s the case, I guess you’d better get out there and get to chopping up that cord of wood for our pot-belly stove and stock up the shed. Oh, and don’t forget to help your mother with the extra canning and pantry filling,” trying to hide the rolled eyes and lopsided grin as he turned away.
“Oh, MAN!” I complained as I saw the remainder of my Christmas vacation full of back-breaking work instead of the usual freedom of doing nothing and being bored, “There are child labor laws you know, Pa. . .”
I had the last laugh. That winter was the snowiest, coldest, and blizzardy in half a century.
But He replied to them, "When it is evening, you say, 'It will be fair weather, for the sky is red.'
"And in the morning, 'There will be a storm today, for the sky is red and threatening.' Do you know how to discern the appearance of the sky, but cannot discern the signs of the times?
And He was also saying to the crowds, "When you see a cloud rising in the west, immediately you say, 'A shower is coming,' and so it turns out.
"And when you see a south wind blowing, you say, 'It will be a hot day,' and it turns out that way.
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