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Groundhog’s Day


Mother Tumble is famous for many things. Her Christmas cookies. Her special Valentine’s Day lunches. Her New Year’s Eve fondue parties. But, being a true Pennsylvanian in addition to a holiday abiding citizen, Tumble’s mom never failed on those early February 2nd mornings to ensure that all four kids were awake before their alarm clocks and long before school to gather around the TV and watch to see if Punxsutawney Phil would see his shadow. After years of this outrageous ritual, Tumble finally receives an explanation as to why:

When you say Groundhog Day, most likely Bill Murray’s classic film “Groundhog Day” comes to mind. If you have never seen the movie, it’s time to go out and rent it. In this movie when his character goes to bed and wakes up the next day, it’s still the day before. The iconic Groundhog Day.

Now, if you are not from Pennsylvania, Punxsutawny Phil may not mean much to you; perhaps Groundhog Day may not mean much. But to we PA’ers it’s a totally big deal. There is a huge gathering in the town ofPunxsutawny and everyone gathers very early (before the sun comes up!) that morning to see Phil come out of his “burrow” and we wait with baited breath to see if he sees his shadow. News crews from all over come to broadcast the event and we are glued to our tv’s for that fateful moment. Will he see his shadow and we have 6 more weeks of winter or will he not and winter will finish early.

Yeah, it’s silly. But if you have grown up in western PA, you would know that many of us long for winter to be over. We make our own clouds on this end of the state with the steel mills, factories and power plants. So winter tends to be dull, gray, and cold day after day after day after day. And regardless of what Phil says, the calendar still says we have 6 more weeks of winter.

I guess it all boils down to hope. We can hope for winter to soon be over, for the scenery to change, for a sunny day or a warm wind to blow to give us that promise of hope that spring is just around the corner. And this year as I sit housebound due to surgery and my day never changing, I look forward to that little bit of hope that soon winter will be over. I will be up walking again, smelling the freshness that spring offers.

I think I shall also celebrate Hoodie Hoo Day later this month. Just for good measure.

-Debbie Jo Graham