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LOCAL COLUMNIST: Springtime weather (and Grier’s Almanac)

Pam Terrell Walker col sig

Pam Terrell Walker, a native of Rome, is a paralegal in Calhoun. Readers may email her at

It looks like March came in like a lamb this year. The weather this weekend was so pretty. Saturday I was at Piedmont Park, in Atlanta, with my grandchildren flying a kite. We had so much fun. However, my right knee locked up on me. It was very painful and walking was particularly painful. Getting into, and out of, the car was agony.

Sunday after church I was to have gone on the annual inaugural spring bike ride. I was particularly looking forward to that because I have a new car with a new trailer hitch and a new Rhino-Rack bike rack. But I could not ride my bike because of my knee. I was so disappointed. However, my knee has since improved and I’m hoping I will soon be back to riding my bike.

THE ICE STORM OF 1960: The end of March one year, Rome had an ice storm. Not snow. Ice. The end of March. You read that correctly. The end of March. Rome was blind-sided by that storm. There was no power for 11 days. Because it was ice, as opposed to a nice snowfall, the children could not go out and play in it. In fact, everybody in Rome stayed in until the ice finally thawed out many days later. March definitely went out like a lion that year.

GRIER’S ALMANAC: March brings with it the promise of gardening and warmer days. Many people, primarily farmers, depend on their almanac for information and guidance. Farmers depend on the almanac for advice on when to plant. Also of great importance to them are the weather forecasts.

Published since 1807, Grier’s Almanac is the oldest almanac in continuous publication in Georgia. It was once referred to as a “bible for the southern antebellum farmer.” Robert Grier, publisher of Grier’s Almanac, was an amateur astronomer. His father, Aaron W. Grier Sr., was a general in the Revolutionary War. Robert made his calculations for the almanac, originally known as the Georgia and South Carolina Almanak [sic], on his father’s plantation.

As a youngster, Grier was captivated by astronomy. He was able to predict with consistent accuracy lunar eclipses, phases of the moon, and the rising and setting times of the sun. The almanac’s primary content were those predictions all of which greatly benefited the many farmers of the rural south. They came to depend on Grier’s Almanac.

In addition to publishing his almanac, Grier was instrumental in raising one of Georgia’s most noted political figures. Robert’s sister, Margaret, died just months after the birth of her son, Alexander Stephens. He went on to become vice-president of the Confederacy, a position he really didn’t want. He drafted the Georgia Platform which opposed secession. He also served in the United States House of Representatives, and he served as the 50th Governor of Georgia.

In recent years, almanacs have featured recipes, puzzles and calendars, and advice on how to get rid of rodents in the home, household tips, folklore, gardening tips and moon phases. Reading an almanac is interesting even for those of us who don’t live on a farm, or who don’t garden.

THE 1ST DAY OF SPRING: This year March 20 will be the first day of Spring. The vernal equinox. That is the only day of the year when an egg can be stood on its end. Annually there are folks, here in Rome, who gather at the foot of the Rome City Clock Tower to try this.

SPRINGTIME WEATHER: Mark Twain said it best. “Everybody complains about the weather but nobody does anything about it.” Well Mark, March has the worst weather, and the widest array of weather, of the year. Spring snow storms. Ice storms. Torrential rain. Tornados. No matter how March starts out — lion or lamb —I am always glad to see March go.

Native Roman Pam Walker is a paralegal, and welcomes your email to her at