But I still hope for a good report every Feb. 2 when Punxsutawney Phil comes out of his burrow in Punxsutawney, Pa..Aabout this time of year, I yearning for warmer weather.
We dutifully reported in Tuesday’s News-Sentinel that the top-hatted handlers of Pennsylvania’s most famous groundhog said the furry rodent did, indeed, fail to see his shadow. He emerged from his hole just before 7:30 Tuesday morning to make his “forecast.” Yippee!
I heard reports that Buckeye Chuck in Marion, Ohio, saw his shadow, meaning a month and a half more winter. And Woody the Woodchuck, Michigan’s official groundhog, made the same prediction. But that wasn’t fair because how could she see her shadow? She didn’t even come out of her house.
What’s going on here? Just how many groundhogs do you need to make this prediction? Are all these other woodchucks impostors? Is Phil for real?
Phil has now predicted the extension of winter 102 times while promising an early spring only 18 times. (There are no records for the missing 10 years). Phil’s prediction is actually predetermined by the group on Gobbler’s Knob, a tiny hill just outside the town for which he’s named about 65 miles northeast of Pittsburgh and the setting for the Bill Murray film, “Groundhog Day.”
Of course, there are more: How about Woodstock Willie in Chicago; Jimmy the Groundhog in Sun Prairie, Wis.; Chuckles in Manchester, Conn.; Dunkirk Dave in Dunkirk, N.Y.; Stormy Marmot in Aurora, Colo., and Shubenacadie Sam in Shubenacadie, Nova Scotia. Of the nine aforementioned prognosticators, including Phil, six predicted an early spring.
Well, I’ll probably never trust a groundhog anyway.