Persimmons predict the winter.
This is what we always said when I was a kid in Arkansas. Every autumn, my Pappaw would pick a few persimmons from the next-door-neighbor’s tree and cut them open. He’d take out the seeds, slice them in half, and then we’d all take turns studying the seed bisection and deciding what it resembled.
A knife? A spoon? A fork?
Each one meant a different type of winter.
These memories of sitting on my front steps, trying to predict the winter with persimmon seeds, are still so incredibly vivid to me, but you know what I can’t remember at all?
If the winters followed our predictions!
So let’s try that again, shall we?
On my property right now, here in Indiana, are four persimmon trees that stand just north of where a log cabin used to also be. The log cabin is long gone, but the persimmon trees still fruit, and this morning my kiddo helped me pick a half-dozen of them in order to make our predictions.
To do this, you first cut open a persimmon and remove a nice, fat seed. It will be very slimy, so you might want to wash and dry it to make handling it easier. I didn’t, because my middle name is Danger.
Kind of. It’s actually Ann.
Anyway, now you need to take a sharp, thin blade–I used my x-acto knife–and slice down the middle of the persimmon seed. The seed is already very thin, so this is tricky. I like to first work the point of the knife into the seed, then lever it down to slice through the seed on one side. I remove the blade, stand the seed up with the sliced end up, work the blade back into the cut, and finish cutting through the other half.
When the seed is bisected, you’ll be able to see the insides of each half: a milky white interior, and at one end, a whiter shape.
Does that shape look like a knife? A fork? A spoon?
Out of the six persimmon seeds that I cut open, I think that four definitely show knives. One could show either a knife or a spoon, and one definitely shows a spoon.
At least, that’s my opinion!
My Pappaw taught me that a spoon means lots of snow. A knife means that it’ll be very cold, and a fork means that the weather will go back and forth a lot. Don’t ask me what gets you a mild winter; maybe you don’t have those where persimmons grow.
So my winter in Indiana should be very cold, with maybe some extra snow. Of course, when I called my Pappaw this morning to double-check my persimmon knowledge, he also told me this:
“It’s the old folks who used to predict the weather that way. You can’t rely on that anymore, because the weather is different now.”
And there you have it. My 96-year-old grandfather, war veteran, former supervisor at the old Dixie Plant, loyal devotee of Fox News, just confirmed global warming for us. You’re welcome.