BONING UP ON THE WEATHER
Not everyone eats turkey for Thanksgiving dinner. Preston J. Shallcross always has goose, and then only a fresh, domestic one, born the previous spring. "A wild goose won't do," the 97-year-old resident of Rock Hall, Md. insists, "because you can't tell how old it is. I have to have a first-year goose."
Shallcross is not as concerned about the tenderness of the flesh as the reliability of the bones. For years he has been "examining" the keel-shaped breastbone of his geese to make long-range weather predictions; folklore has it that only a year-old bone will do the job.
His daughter Helen, 64, says, "He has always been pretty accurate."
Local agricultural agent W. James Milliken confirms that "Shallcross has come pretty close the last couple of years."
So listen up. The nonagenarian forecaster says, "This year's bone was one of the lightest I'd ever seen, except toward the end where it got very dark. It will be a mild winter until February, when there will be an abrupt change to winter weather that will extend into March."