Monday, February 2, 2009

Groundhog Day


Am I making this up...or is it true that when I was a kid, Groundhog Day was a much bigger deal than it is today? Punxsutawney Phil was like a celeb back in the day. We waited with bated breath each February 2nd to learn our fate: would we have six more weeks of winter or would spring come early...only Phil could tell us for sure. 

But this morning when I woke my kids, I wasn't certain that it really was Groundhog Day. Yes, I knew it was the 2nd day of February, but I wasn't sure if the world's most famous groundhog was due to make an appearance or not. Is it because I live down south now and with temperatures hovering around 61 degrees it matters not if we have another 6 weeks of winter? Perhaps I paid more attention when I was a kid because the winters in New Jersey were brutal and if we could shave off 6 weeks, it was like winning the lottery. Or perhaps the Pittsburgh Steelers' Super Bowl win was the only news making its way out of Pennsylvania this morning. I don't know, I just seem to remember a bit more fanfare and excitement over the annual ritual. 

I'm having a hard time because I can barely remember yesterday, much less the early 70's, but I have a visual of entire bulletin boards at John Y. Dater Elementary School completely devoted to this crazy superstition featuring Phil in all of his glory. As a child, February meant cutting out large black silhouettes of President Washington and President Lincoln's heads. You could also count on at least one Valentines Day art project. But I swear we colored and painted and crafted images of Punxsutawney Phil, as well. And while I'm usually not a betting gal, I recall making wagers with my fellow classmates: would he or would he not see his shadow?

But I checked with my 3rd grade son when he got home from school today and he assured me that there was nary a mention of Groundhog Day. Same goes with my 6th grader: nada, nothing, totally ignored. What, pray tell, are they teaching kids these days if not the roots of Groundhog Day? For the love of Pete, it's the most apolitical holiday on the calendar: no need to be politically correct or racially tactful or religiously agreeable. It's good, clean fun. We as a nation need to re-embrace Groundhog day. We need to bring back the Groundhog Day customs and traditions of long ago. 

But mostly...we need spring to come 6 weeks earlier this year....

6 comments:

Anonymous said...

We need people like you to keep the good ole days alive. Yup if you live in the north, "Groundhog Day" is important.

Anonymous said...

I wonder if the movie "Groundhog Day" is on TV tonight? Now that was good clean fun. Love that Bill Murray (tho can't stand Andy McDowell).

Anonymous said...

I'm freezing my ass off up here and it's snowing..AGAIN!! Of course yesterday was sunny, so old Phil saw his damn shadow!

L. said...

Update: There was a Groundhog Day celebration in Charlotte. Apparently Queen Charlotte (a distant cousin to Punxsutawny Phil) emerged Monday to cloudy skies and did NOT see its shadow...foretelling an early spring for the Charlotte area. Love that....

Katie Ryan - the other Ryan cousin said...

Its a southern thing....Phil as well as Staten Island Chuck were all over the news yesterday. And it is widely celebrated in our schools. However, they have been pushed to the side as there was earthquake in Jerz last night. Can you imagine? That's always one of my selling points! We don't have earthquakes.

Anonymous said...

Just thought I'd put your mind at ease (at least slightly)- at tennis practice this morning we had homemade groundhog shaped cookies in 2 flavors (gingerbread and chocolate) - evidentally my tennis team has a ritual of hoping for spring weather . Happy Day!