Leave it to Punxsutawney

Punxsutawney Phil 2013 in A Garden For All by Kathy Diemer https://agardenforall.com

Punxsutawney Phil contemplating spring

As the second foot of snow covers the ground, I have to question the credentials of Punxsutawney Phil. Why, as logical, responsible beings, would we put so much credence in what a chubby ground hog implies?  All the pomp and circumstance comes down to whether you believe in his paranormal abilities.  It’s like Santa, the Tooth Fairy, or the Easter Bunny . . . all charming examples of folk lore, but do they exist?  Are they real?  I’ll let you decide.  As for Punxsutawney, here’s what I discovered, and I’ll leave the believing part up to you.

Punxsutawney Phil watching the crowd in A Garden For All by Kathy Diemer https://agardenforall.com

Punxsutawney Phil watching the Pennsylvania crowd

Punxsutawney Phil resides year-round in Punxsutawney (hence the name), Pennsylvania with his wife Phyllis and is lovingly cared for by members from a group called the Inner Circle.  Believed to be named after King Phillip, the second half of his name, Phil, was abbreviated to be more user friendly (what about  Punxy, now that has a groovy ring to it).  The Ground Hog Day tradition was officially kicked off at Gobbler’s Knob (about 2 miles from the town of  Punxsutawney) on February 2, 1887.  It is still held at this location 127 years later. The understanding is that if a hibernating animal casts a shadow on Feb. 2, the Christian holiday of Candlemas (http://www.brownielocks.com/groundhog.html), winter will last another six weeks. If no shadow is seen, legend says spring will come early. According to tradition, if Phil sees his shadow, he predicts six more weeks of winter.  If Phil doesn’t see his shadow, this will result in an early spring.  Alas, it appears our hefty friend has only been correct 40% (o.k., 39%, let’s round it out) of the time.  The way I look at it, our weathermen don’t do much better and they have millions of dollars worth of equipment to assist their predictions.  Perhaps, instead of all this technology, we can enlist the aid of willing (and able) ground hogs all over the nation to help us with our weather predictions.  Hmmm, I see a potential budget cut on the horizon . . .

Staten Island Chuck in A Garden For All by Kathy Diemer https://agardenforall.com

Staten Island Chuck snacking with friend

Actually, there are other furry weather volunteers out there: in New York there’s ‘Staten Island Chuck,’ predicting an early spring for New York City, and in Atlanta, there’s ‘General Beauregard Lee,’ also predicting an early spring, (Poor Beau, the former Georgia  groundhog from 1994 to 2009, only had a 31% accuracy rate), and ‘Queen Chuckles’ (a.k.a. Molly), Connecticut’s official state groundhog, saw her shadow this morning, disputing the others, and is sticking to her prediction that we’re in for another six weeks of winter.

Queen Chuckles of Connecticut in A Garden For All by Kathy Diemer https://agardenforall.com

Queen Chuckles of Connecticut

So, on February 2nd at 7:28 AM Eastern Standard Time, our man Phil emerged from his humble abode and did not see his shadow.  Bob Robert’s, one of his handlers announced: “On this February 2nd, 2013, the One Hundred and Twenty Seventh Annual Trek of the Punxsutawney Groundhog Club at Gobbler’s Knob . . . Punxsutawney Phil, the King of the Groundhogs, Seer of Seers, Prognosticator of  Prognosticators,

General Beauregard Lee of Georgia in A Garden For All By Kathy Diemer https://agardenforall.com

General Beauregard Lee of Georgia

Weather Prophet without Peer, was awakened from his borrow at 7:28 am with the tap of the President’s cane. Phil and President Deeley conversed in Groundhogese and Phil directed him to the chosen Prognostication scroll.  The President tapped the chosen scroll and directed Phil’s Prediction be proclaimed: My new Knob entrance is a sight to behold, like my faithful followers, strong and bold. And so ye faithful, there is no shadow to see, an early Spring for you and me.” See more about the Punxsutawney Groundhog Club at: www.groundhog.org.

Groundhog Coin Toss in A Garden For All by Kathy Diemer https://agardenforall.com

Groundhog Coin Toss Illustration

If only we could speak ‘Groundhogese’ like the Punxsutawney Groundhog Club’s President Deeley, then we could communicate with the groundhogs in our neighborhood and get the real scoop on this spring gig.  Unfortunately, it looks like we’ll just have to leave it up to the weathermen to figure it out.  Or, perhaps we’d be better off just flipping a coin.

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