Read: Winter's on its way
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By PETTUS READ

The last holiday of the summer season is upon us and everyone will have to wait until Thanksgiving to get another one of those long official weekends. Labor Day is one of those holidays I have never really gotten caught up in over the years, other than it being time for a lot of dove hunting in my part of the country.

As a child, it usually meant that it was time for school to start back up, but now a days school starts back about the time the ink dries on the kid’s report cards from getting out for summer vacation. I guess that is one reason Labor Day is still sort of on the downhill side of lonesome for me. As a child, it implanted a feeling of dread within my psychological thought patterns knowing that summer was over and school was starting up. That dread is still there when I hear the sound of crickets doing their fall chirping, announcing school start up is near and backwoods fun is over.

Labor Day has really been around for a while. It was first celebrated on September 5, 1882, with a parade put on by the Central Labor Union in New York City to honor the achievements of the working class, so says the Old Farmers Almanac. The Almanac goes on to say, “The holiday’s popularity spread, and on June 28, 1894, President Grover Cleveland made it a federal holiday, to be observed on the first Monday in September. It is thought that the U.S. holiday was inspired by Canada’s labor movement, which was started by Canadian trade unionists in 1872, and resulted in the first official Labor Day in 1894. Although the day’s focus on organized labor has diminished over the years, the legal holiday still marks the end of summer and the traditional time for children to return to school.”

Most folks today use the holiday to go to the lake, take an extended trip to the mountains, camp, fish or just fire up the grill one more time for the gang before colder temperatures settle in later in the month. And, I promise those temperatures will come a calling before you know it. Just the other day, I saw a solid black wooly worm cross the road and you all know what that means. If he is any sign of what winter may be like, this winter’s cold and snow may be the reverse of what this summer’s heat and rain have been for us the past few months. It wouldn’t hurt to cut a little more firewood and to fluff up that insulation in the attic if you have any confidence in Tennessee wooly worms. Of course, I’ve only seen that one and I’ll have to be watching for more as the season goes on, but the first one out does bare paying special attention to.

When it comes to weather predictions, I only trust Uncle Sid to give me the real facts. Those guys in Nashville do a great job, but Uncle Sid has experienced more weather changes in his lifetime and his bones than those fellows will ever see on their radar screens.

Thus, the best predictor of weather in these parts is my Uncle Sid. He has seen his fair share of cold and hot spells, plus being trained by his mother Floramai. She could predict weather by every part of her body, as well as every varmint located in the woods near their farm. All of her talents she passed down to her son and Uncle Sid even has added some of his own.

I asked him the other day what he thought this winter’s weather would look like and he said, “Tomato skins were extra thick this year at our place which always means a real cold winter. I think it’s going to be a cold one for sure because the squirrels are growing thick coats of fur and Aunt Sadie has run out of canning jars from stocking up our pantry. And, as of today, Aunt Sadie bought herself a brand new pair of flannel pajamas and that is a sure sign of a cold winter at our house. Yeah, it’s going to be a real snowy and cold one for sure.”

There you have it! The first winter’s forecast from Uncle Sid and myself. The squirrels have thick coats, Aunt Sadie has done got her some new flannel PJs and the wasps are building like crazy. Sounds like you had better enjoy this Labor Day holiday because Thanksgiving should be a perfect time to kill hogs this year. Of course, that last sentence will only be understood by you old timers and I suggest you youngsters ask some of them to explain it to you. You do understand that Uncle Sid is also allowed the same error ratio as our TV weather folks of missing it by 95 percent.

Have a good fall!


Pettus L. Read writes for the Tennessee Farm Bureau Federation. He may be contacted by e-mail at pettusr60@gmail.com

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