Groundhog Day

So it’s Groundhog Day in the US today. Any stories? Anyone enlighten a Briton who’s only seen the film?

It’s about as exciting a holiday as Flag Day.

There aren’t any real stories to tell. It’s not like we gather 'round the Groundhog Tree and unwrap presents or anything.

I came out of my apartment today, didn’t see my shadow, and realized that I can’t stand wintertime.

Truth be told, Groundhog Day is usually only celebrated in small towns that desperately want to get on television. They’ll toss a quarter of their annual budget into a frigid, pointless celebration just so they can get a thirty-second blurb at the end of the local news program.

Come to think of it, the film is amazingly accurate.

Seeing as it’s a Friday, though, I’m willing to bet that I’ll be toasting one of the little Evil Nazis tonight.

Is there only one real Groundhog, in Pennsylvania?

…but not on Groundhog Day.

My first husband was born in Punxsutawney (yes, there really is such a place). He took me there once, to meet some of his family that still lived there. It was a cute little town. Phil lived at the public library, with his SO, Punxsutawney Phyllis. They were a cute couple.

There is NOTHING cute about woodchucks.

::walks away grumbling something about ‘overgrown squirrels’::

My aforementioned first husband, although he was from Punxsutawney and celebrated woodchucks on Groundhog Day, spent the rest of the year shooting them at every given opportunity.

We used to live in an apartment that was built inside of a barn. One of these little critters chewed through the barn doors. Ex-husband borrowed a live trap from a friend, baited it with veggies, and the next morning, there was a woodchuck in there. He got his gun, picked up the trap and carried it out of the barn (which was on 10 acres of vacant land). The following conversation occurred between me and my ex-husband:

Me: What are you going to do?
Him: I’m going to shoot him.
Me: You can’t do that! He’s in the trap! That’s just not fair.
Him: Oh, I’ll let him out of the trap first.
Me: Then what? You’re just going to shoot him when he sticks his head out?
Him: No, I’ll give him to the count of three to get to the edge of the field. If he makes it, he’s free.
Me: But aren’t there some kind of rules about this? I mean, isn’t there a woodchuck season or something?
Him: Woodchucks are varmints. And it’s always varmint season.

A minute or so later, the woodchuck bit the big one. He did try to run, though. Just not quite fast enough. :smiley:

Yup, we celebrated Ground Hog Day.

Had pork bratwurst for supper last night. It was good, too.

Oh, wait a minute, you said… uh, never mind.

Okay, I’m now convinced that taking a concrete position without facts on this message board somehow invites Fate to intervene in such a way that you will be proven wrong.

Not a half hour after I replied to your inquiry, I got this message:

what’s going on SK? looks like i might be heading down to arlington, it is after all groundhogs day and always time for a party. think i’m meeting ---- around 6ish at whitlows.

Well, I was already late, so I cut out of the office and went straight to the bar, where I met my friends and… Punxsatawney Phil. Or one of those famous groundhogs–they were calling him King Phillip VI (to which someone asked, “of Spain, or of Pennsylvania?”). He was big, about the size of two loaves of bread laid side to side. He was wearing a red sequined top hat and matching bow tie, but he was leaking sawdust and naked bones were protruding from one of his forepaws. My friends had a bar table, and Phil took up the whole table, slighly propped up by a tin of cookies and with a Manhattan sitting in front of his now-toothless mouth.

Phil had just had a successful day at the daycare center, where one of his charges had brought him to emcee the day-long children’s Groundhog Day festivities. Naturally, any loot that the kids didn’t get were distributed among the evening’s revelers. These included temporary Groundhog Day tatoos, one of which I wound up wearing.

King Phillip VI has a somewhat sordid history, according to his keepers. It would appear that sometime back in the 1950s or 1960s, Phil was checked out of a Pennsylvania library and never returned. He’s been on the party circuit ever since. It was also related that his last living act was in 1933, when he came out of his hole and said, “if someone doesn’t give me a goddamned drink, I promise sixty more months of winter.” Prohibition was subsequently repealed.

As soon as I arrived, friends and family members began showing up, all ready for the Groundhog Day events, which were to include dinner, dancing, and a helluva lot of booze. I did not stay for most of the ensuing festivities, as I was committed to slightly more mundane plans.

About two thirty in the morning, as I was dozing on the couch, attempting to watch the four-hour long 1927 version of Napoleon, the telephone rang. I picked it up, and the sound of a raging party blared over the phone. Just over the din, an unrecognizable female voice screamed, “Phil wishes you were here, and so do I!” Then the line went dead. I went back to sleep.

Weird, huh? But it’s all true. I guess there really is a Groundhog Day after all.

The movie “Groundhog Day” is outstanding. Four stars. A timeless classic.

My brother does. His birthday is February 2. He got a certificate signed by the mayors of Sun Prairie, Wisconsin and Punxsatawney, PA when he was born. He’s always been referred to as a “groundhog” or a “groundhog baby”.


That Phil ferret is nothing more than a yankee pretender. The real star of Groundhog Day is, of course, General Beauregard Lee who resides at the Yellow River Game Ranch not 10 miles from my house. General Lee (Beau to his close friends) sports a 90% accuracy rating for his annual prognostications. Let’s see Willard Scott do THAT. Beau lives the good life in his scaled-to-size, white columned southern mansion known as “Weathering Heights”. Not bad for a dude who works only one day a year.

You can visit Beau at