New year means shiny new pristine calendar. And lucky for me, my favorite son-in-law just happened to give me an awesome calendar for Christmas. It’s spiral-bound, opens flat, and thanks to pockets, has a place for everything and everything in its place, and, drum roll please…my favorite part, stickers! I’m sharpie-challenged so the stickers are a real boon for mapping out my exciting life, which mostly consists of appointments, to-dos, activities, and holidays. And who doesn’t love a good holiday? Thanks to the greeting card folks, every month has its own festive celebration, and everyone is partial to one holiday or another. In keeping with bucking the tide, my holiday of choice is, and has always been, Groundhog Day.
Most folks pass Groundhog Day by without so much as a blink, indifferent to Pennsylvania’s own Punxsutawney Phil and his weatherman-for-a-day predictions. In 1993, the beloved movie, starring Bill Murray brought Groundhog Day out of the shadows, (pun intended). Finally someone was shining the light on my day! Groundhog Day is a bright light in the doldrums of winter. I suppose if I had to live the same day over and over like “Phil Connors” in the movie, I’d get sick of Groundhog Day too. But I doubt it.
I was already a fan at a young age, but when we moved to Idaho, an event there sealed my fate as Groundhog Days lifelong, number-one celebrant. When I was a little girl, the Methodist church would host an annual “Groundhog Feed”. Every February 2, the Methodist men cooked and served up a hearty breakfast for the masses: pancakes, hash browns, eggs, and the piece de resistance, the “ground” hog, which, surprisingly to my 2nd grade self, was sausage. (Of course, genius!) I could not believe my luck. Groupies! I was in (ground) hog heaven.
Past holidays had consisted of coloring a groundhog picture at school, or fashioning a groundhog out of construction paper, who would then be attached to a popsicle stick so he could pop up out of a solo cup or shoebox, and “pretend” forecast the next six weeks. These Methodists were taking Groundhog Day to a whole new level, and I was all in.
Surveys show most folks prefer other holidays- any holiday in fact. Groundhog Day didn’t make the top ten-or twenty-or thirty- sadly it’s number 43 as far as holidays go. I’d like to add some sway for those folks, or anyone on the fence, to reconsider Groundhog Day as your holiday of choice. The first great thing about it is, it’s the only holiday with a mystery. ??? To see, or not to see…will he see his shadow and thereby predict a long winter, (dun, dun, dun…) or no shadow, and happy spring? Better than a fortune cookie, and more reliable. The second great thing is that Groundhog Day is the perfect lazy-mans holiday. No shopping, no wrapping, no hours of baking. As long as you have at least one meal with some “ground” hog, you’re golden. (mmmm, golden…) Last but not least, you don’t even have to have your own groundhog! You can watch Phil do his thing at Gobblers Knob in PA on TV, or you can call in a pinch hitter. In our family, that honor goes to Jellybean the cat. She’s an indoor cat, but annually we trek her outdoors as our groundhog doppelgänger, and she uses her mad skills to make her predictions. And she’s never been wrong-well cats never are, are they?
Whether it’s spring come early, or six more wintry weeks, Groundhog Day comes but once a year. Sure, other holidays may have special gifts, cards, wrap, themes, songs, candy, traditions and foods. None of that claptrap with Groundhog Day. (Do you know how hard it is to even find groundhog party supplies? I get it’s a niche market, but seriously?) No fuss, no muss. A holiday I can really sink my teeth into. And you can bet I will. Sink my teeth into, that is…some ‘ground” hog goodness this February 2nd. And JB will make her prediction, but I’ll be tuning in to Phil too, just in case. And I’ll watch the movie. Because there’s no Peanuts cartoon to commemorate this special day. Maybe some day… Till then, you can bet I’ll be sharpie markin’ the days on my spankin’ new calendar with childlike anticipation.
The color of springtime is in the flowers, the color of winter is in the imagination.