Groundhog Day…

When I was two years and 19 days old my sister was born. From that day on it was my job to torment her. When we were teens, we fought over clothing, the phone, and everything else. I realized recently that the problem wasn’t that I didn’t like my sister, it’s that I wished I was more like her. She had all the traits in high school that I envied. She had friends that laughed, partied, and probably a lot more that I wouldn’t know about. She had cool clothes and long, curly hair. In college, when I talked her into going through sorority rush, she had the Pi Phis attention. The Pi Phis wouldn’t look at me. I was quieter, and not as confident. But we all grow and change. Somewhere in our metamorphosis into decent adults, the idea of Bucket List Adventures was born.

It all began a few years back, I think at Christmas, when my sister said she wanted to go to Groundhog Day in Punxsuatawney, PA. She said it was on her bucket list. I’m not sure why, but I wanted to go too.  We set the hotel alarm for 12:30am and drove to Punxsuatawney. That is quite a drive in the middle of the night, hilly, winding, and dark. We sat in the Walmart parking lot until the bus to Gobbler’s Knob came at 2:50am. We put on our groundhog hats, hopped on, and were right up front by 3:00. Keep in mind that Phil doesn’t come out and give his prediction until 7:20 or so.  We nailed a spot right next to the camera stand; with a perfect view of the dj and people dressed up like groundhogs giving high fives. For four hours and twenty minutes we stood in slight drizzle and listened to the band, cheered on the high school dance team, and groaned at bad jokes. We jumped up and down to “Wake Me Up” and yelled “Winner, winner chicken dinner” with the crowd. When at about 6am they started throwing around beach balls, the balls became covered in mud. We didn’t want to get muddy, so whenever a mudball would come at us we would stuff it under the camera stand. We put three or four out of commission that way.  We reached a feverish pitch when the fireworks exploded. Finally, with about 14,000 people behind us, it was time.  Phil emerged, with the assistance of a man who didn’t even seem to mind that he got bit.  Phil was lifted to the fireworks-hazy sky as a king. Right when he was about to make his prediction some stupid lady behind us fainted. People were calling for the medics and to stop the show. Ha! Silly people, nothing stops the groundhog. She should have toughed it out like we did. What a wimp. No matter. The top hat clad men of the inner circle put two scrolls on a surface about two feet apart, and Phil waddled to one of them, sniffing it. That’s how he made his prediction.

It was then that my sister lost it. She is a naturalist and thought there was more scientific process behind the Phil pick. There was no sunlight to see his shadow; it was still dark, and with the firework haze nothing could shine through anyway. She was crushed and appalled that it was so random. We and the crowd of 14,000 walked through the mud that would take us to the buses that would take us back down the hill to the town. We walked our muddy selves to the Walmart parking lot and drove away looking for coffee. Keep in mind that we had not had coffee that morning because we wouldn’t be able to go to the bathroom and it was raining. We were cold and wet. My sister was still peeved about the lack of reputable weather skill exhibited by the great Phil. I was just tired. We needed coffee. By the way, he predicted 6 more weeks of winter which is actually a no-brainer around here. I could have predicted that and I’m not even a groundhog.

We arrived at some Denny’s like restaurant and were seated, then ignored. I noticed that table after table got coffee and we didn’t. Finally our waitress made the rounds. She stopped at the table next to us and made a comment about “these groundhog people” making it slow. Now I was both tired and peeved. When she came to us, I loudly told her that we ARE those groundhog people, and if she didn’t want us there we would leave. I even started to stand up. Of course she backpedaled, apologized and got us the coffee. Damn right. My sister stared at me like I grew three heads. What she doesn’t know is that I will always stand up for her. Nobody is going to deny my sister coffee just because she is a groundhog person. She is my little sister after all, and I love her. I can torment her the rest of the year.


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A classic overthinker trying to age gracefully while living with a big, too smart for his own good shelter pup who must have his daily walk.

13 thoughts on “Groundhog Day…”

  1. Reblogged this on Walking Chester and commented:

    Happy Groundhog Day! This is a reblog in honor of the great Phil! Apparently we have 6 more weeks of winter which is no surprise, I could have predicted that. It’s also in honor of my wonderful sister who has my admiration and love! This will always go down as the best Groundhog Day ever!


  2. Reblogged this on WITHIN THE K STREETS and commented:
    When it comes to stunningly stupid customs, America has plenty of inventory but none so incredibly dumb as the annual weather prognostication by the rodent Marmota monax, also known as a groundhog, woodchuck or General Pain in the A…you get it.
    From year to year I occasionally get an urge to post about Groundhog Day but, frankly, have too much self-respect. That condition never has afflicted my very good friend and fellow dog blogger Martha who wrote what I consider to be the best Groundhog Day post ever seen on WordPress.

    I am happy and more than a little embarrassed to re-post her tale and recommend her log – Walking Chester to you reprobates.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I came over from Maxwell the Dog…and very glad to have done so!
    Would the TV companies come up for showing their weather forecasters hauled out of a hole in the ground and given a choice of two prognostications every evening, do you think?


  4. We’re followers of Max and when he reposted your Groundhog story, we had to read it. As a gardener, I’d be a complete moron to subscribe to the whims and sniffs of a member of the squirrel family. In fact, I go out of my way to avoid those hooligans who continually plague my garden and torture the dogs. Now I’m no scientist, but I do have a habit of looking at the calendar. Funny thing about that…springs arrives around 6 weeks subsequent to February 2. Go figure. Sorry you guys had to endure cold, wet conditions and neglect to mark that experience off the bucket list. But at least you got to protect the baby sister, and that’s the important thing. Here’s hoping your spring arrives on time (per the Gregorian calendar) and is filled with joyful renewal.


      1. They’ve chewed through my kitchen window screen 3 different times (I now leave a mouse trap on the sill to keep them away). Who knew they’d help themselves to a plate of brownies on the counter? We’re not fans because of their destructive ways. And eating bulbs…well in our minds that’s a capital offense! Thanks for dropping by the Ranch and for the follow. We 💙 visitors and fellow squirrel haters. 😉


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