Thursdays, Dad and the Woolly Worms

As long as I can remember in my life my Dad has had his own special way of predicting winters. He believed he knew the science behind this and served as an almanac of sorts.

He would go on and on in the fall about the Woolly Worms. What is a Woolly Worm you may ask? It basically looks like a fluffy caterpillar.

Soooo this is a Woolly Worm

Apparently this VERY SPECIFIC weather prediction type of caterpillar MUST have this rust orange color and be flanked on both ends with black.

Dad was determined to spot one and when he did he would examine it as though he was a scientist on a mission to report to us all his findings. The “legend” of the Woolly Worm says the more orange/rust color you see, the milder the winter to expect. The more black, the more severe the winter.

To my Dad: This👏🏻Legend👏🏻Was👏🏻Gospel👏🏻

As a child and teen as he would go on and on about this, I was like… mmmm ok, sounds good Dad. Thanks for the heads up 👍🏻

When I became a parent and the girls would be SO excited to show us a caterpillar… if it was near fall… Papa would rush over to see if it was a Woolly Worm. And IF IT WAS… he would tell us what to expect for the winter.

Three things:

1. Small children don’t really care about this prediction, they are just excited to find a caterpillar.

2. Papa was ALL BUSINESS about his role on this task force. And if it was just a regular ole caterpillar (determined by it’s coloring) he was only mildly amused/interested.

3. If it WAS in fact a Woolly Worm, and it indicated a severe winter Papa would grumble and pout about it for weeks. Or if it indicated a mild winter, it was like we won the lotto!

And this was every.single.fall. Since I can remember (37 years!)

Needless to say we didn’t always have the internet, so none of us could really look up this obsession Papa had to see if he was just full of it or if this was actually a thing.

Also, once the internet became a research option, none of us really felt the need to verify Papa’s special ability to foresee the future. We just sort of were again like…. Alrighty… here we go again about the Woolly Worms.

Which brings me to a couple of days ago. Fall is in the air. I’m mindlessly scrolling on my phone one day and BOOM. Somehow, this article populates into my feed on Facebook.

Sat STRAIGHT UP in bed and said out loud “you have GOT to be shitting me!!!”

I send the link to my Mom and daughters and their reaction is all the same “no.freaking.way.”

Apparently this is not only a thing, but is an annual festival held in North Carolina. The kicker? It’s always held on the third weekend in October which is when my Dad’s birthday falls.

As a family, we have to attend this. We HAVE to.

I can HEAR him right now “I TOLD YOU!” And honestly I wish he was here so badly so that we could ALL go… and he could marvel in his theories with others on his task force.

…all the while rubbing our faces in the fact that he didn’t make this up.

Best be damn sure I’m keeping my eye out for a Woolly Worm this fall. I’m the self nominated acting Woolly Worm task force representative for the family. And whatever year it works out for us; we will go to North Carolina and drink the “Wolly Worm Kool Aid” for Dad’s birthday weekend. As we forecast the weather and choose to believe in this amazingly crazy legend.

For Papa.

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