Every year on February 2, Groundhog Day, spectators gather around the dwellings of groundhogs across the nation, all in hopes that the groggy critter will dictate an early retirement for their snow shovels.
The Pennsylvania Dutch settlers believed if the groundhog witnessed his shadow at midpoint between the winter solstice and the spring equinox, they were in for six additional weeks of winter hardship.
On the other hand, if the groundhog saw no shadow, all rejoiced in the prediction of an early spring. Of course, this also meant earlier opportunities for said groundhog to snack on their garden crops.
The most celebrated Groundhog Day tradition centers around Pennsylvania’s Punxsutawney Phil. Masters of Ceremony dress in traditional Pennsylvania-Dutch fashion, speak in olden dialects and rudely extract the snoozing creature from his abode.
Coos ensue because Phil is so darned cute as he sleepily gazes at all those eyes fixed upon him and wonders why he was rousted from his long winter’s nap.
Groundhog Day produces the most widely viewed weather forecast. But prognosticating groundhogs’ predictions, coupled with the cuteness factor, trump those of all meteorologists.
Such stardom is a cross to bear. Does anyone relish being rousted prematurely from a cozy slumber? Perhaps groundhogs should unite, in rebellion, to discover the snooze button on these inconsiderate humans’ alarm clocks.