When I asked a young drug store sales clerk and if they sell the Almanac, I could tell by the expression on her face that she had no earthly idea what I was talking about. She probably thought I made that up to make her job difficult. Anyway, after I got outside the store, an older clerk (who had overhead the conversation) came running and asked if I was referring to The Old Farmer’s Almanac. She was closer to my age and was vaguely familiar with the journal. Perhaps her parents or grandparents used it when she was a child.
I’m aware that not many people (especially those who live in large cities) have ever heard of (nor need) the information that the Almanac contains, as it is intended mostly for rural folks and farmers. Though I live in a metropolitan area, I am still country and still use this annual publication which was a staple in our house just like the Bible.
When I started looking for a dentist, the first thing I thought about was The Old Farmer's Almanac. Since I don’t have one, I used the library’s copy. You might be wondering, "How does anything in that Almanac relate to dentistry?" For me, the answer is simple, but it goes back in time.
Each year while I was growing up, my parents bought The Old Farmer's Almanac. We had our teeth extracted only when the Zodiac chart indicated that the astrological "sign" was in a certain place in the body — I think I said that correctly. Now, you may say, "That's old-fashioned!" Which is fine. We were old-fashioned and believed the heavenly constellations had a direct effect on our minds and bodies. I still adhere to that belief. According to the Almanac, “Ancients believed that the placement of each astrological sign of the Zodiac influenced a specific part of the body.”
The Almanac has a picture of a man with arrows pointing toward different parts of his body, indicating the effect of the sun, moon, and planets on that part of the body. When we had a toothache, my parents checked the Almanac to see where the "sign" was. If it was in the stomach or below (in the thighs, legs, knees, or feet), they took us to the dentist for an extraction. If the sign wasn't "right," (from the head through the heart), we had to wait. If we had a severe toothache, my parents bought Ora-Jel while we waited it out.
As a child, I didn't understand anything about the planets’ influence on the body, and I don't understand the Almanac as well as farmers. But I know that country folks get the weather reports, plant and harvest crops, fish, hunt, start and end projects, destroy pest and weeds, let the cows out to pasture, drain the pond, etc., etc. based on the astrological chart. I made those last two up, but the Almanac does contain information for certain activities based on what is going on in the heavens. So there must be something to it.
Mother wasn't sophisticated enough to understand the differences between astrology and astronomy (and neither am I), but she had enough general knowledge to know the importance of not having a tooth extracted when the astrological "sign" is not in the right position in the body. Plus, the Zodiac signs, the body parts, and the dates are obvious, so there's nothing to figure out about that. And by the way, the Old Farmer’s Almanac is still around, and it doesn’t look like it’s going anywhere anytime soon!
Photo by Fotolia/Ken Pilon