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Thoughts on Turkeys and This Winter's Weather

Thoughts on Turkeys and This Winter’s Weather
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There’s been a whole lot of talk about the weather lately. It’s been weird all across the country, but particularly here in New England. And many of the old reliable “signs” have been way off — at least so far.

I personally had a hint of said confusing weather this past Thanksgiving Day, when I examined, as I always do each year, the breastbone of our cooked turkey. You know the drill, I’m sure — if the breastbone is light in color, the coming winter will be mild. If it’s blue or purple, it’ll be snowy and bitter cold. (Incidentally, the turkey must not have been previously frozen.) Well, at first glance, our turkey breastbone looked to be pretty light in color. Fine, I thought. We’ll have a mild winter, and certainly December and January proved to be just that.

But you know, on closer examination, I discovered that one end of the breastbone was dark purple. I’d never seen a two-tone breastbone before, but that’s what it appeared to be. Sorta confusing.

Well, we’ve all been fooled by weather signs before. It’s not that nature doesn’t know what she has in store for us, but rather our interpretation of her signs can be off. And then some of the so-called “sayings” are ridiculous. Like why would a warm Christmas (like this year) mean a cold Easter on April 8? If a month comes in good, why should it go out bad? Surely, if an elder person makes it through the winter, it doesn’t necessarily mean he/she will make it through the summer. And why should squealing pigs signal a coming blizzard? (Well, maybe that one has some validity.)

I used to think that the most ridiculous weather saying was, “As many days old as is the moon at the first snow, there will be that many snows before crop-planting time again.” To me, the age of the moon during the season’s first snowfall would be irrelevant.

Sometime ago, I was attempting to explain this in a little talk I was giving to a women’s club in Brattleboro, Vermont, a week after a snowstorm had hit New England unusually early that year. It was, of course, the season’s first snowstorm and it so happened that it occurred when the moon was two days old. A perfect example, I thought, of how numerological weather sayings simply do not work.

“So you can see,” I said, “that if the old moon-age theory were to be applied to this coming winter, the storm we had last week would be the second-to-last major snowstorm we’ll have throughout the entire winter season coming up.”

General laughter all around. How silly. But guess what? It was.

As I reflect back on that today, I’m beginning to think about that part of last Thanksgiving’s turkey breastbone that was dark purple. There’s lots of winter ahead and, well, do you suppose turkeys aren’t really all that dumb?

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Thoughts on Turkeys and This Winter's Weather

Updated Thursday, February 1st, 2007

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