All hail the weather rat

Photo by Niklas Jeromin on

Now, I have reconciled myself to the fact that we have a day entirely devoted to predicting the weather that has nothing to do with meteorologists. I have even reconciled myself to the fact that we have chosen a glorified rat as our spokesperson. I’ve even endured the replaying of Groundhog Day so many times I feel like I’m living the movie. All of this just adds up to the facts of life.

What I don’t think I can reconcile myself to is the fact that the back-stabbing little rat keeps predicting six more weeks of winter. Just the other day, on the edge of my seat, I observed yet another “prognostication” from the furry little rodent stating that we get six more weeks of winter and why? Because the little wimp saw his shadow!

What stymies me the most about this situation is that there is an entire cult following on this tradition. I was curious enough about it to research its beginning. I found that in Germany, Feb. 2 is Badger Day and a badger coming out of the hole in fine weather determines whether there will be four more weeks of winter.

It was continued in this country by the Pennsylvania Dutch, who adapted to a groundhog as the weatherman of choice and they decided to add two more weeks. So, while a badger, sunbathing in Germany on Feb. 2 means four more weeks of winter, a groundhog in Pennsylvania, wandering out of its hole on Feb. 2, predicts SIX more weeks of winter. That’s great; four weeks wasn’t enough, let’s punish ourselves with six!

The official ceremony takes place in Punxsutawney, Pennsylvania. They do it up right, complete with all night parties, a whole council in tuxedoes and their loving little rat…Punxsutawney Phil. I have to tell you before we go any further, that I will never be in Punxsutawney, Pennsylvania on Feb. 2, dressed in a tuxedo so I can help drag a groundhog with too much influence out of its hole to tell me the chances for an early spring…or not!

This winter may have put me in the wrong frame of mind for this beloved holiday. Since November, we have had nothing but winter. We have endured snow, ice, blizzards, cold temperatures and did I mention the mountains of snow, week after week for months now. As I am driving to work through the latest ground blizzards, I do not want to hear that there is a creature with the unprepossessing name of “groundhog” who has the nerve to tell me I’ve got six more weeks of this. No! I refuse, groundhog!

If we absolutely have to have this prediction made, can’t it be done by scientists, meteorologists, ect.? Heck, I’d even take a prediction by the badger–he only predicts four more weeks! So perhaps we need to drive to Pennsylvania and nail the groundhog’s door shut, or put laxative in his tea (that would distract him), or something to put an end to this frustrating holiday.

For those of you who feel I am overreacting, I invite you to come to visit me and look out upon my front yard. Oh, wait, my front yard is not visible because of all the “winter” piled up out there. So, if next year, I am not the first one in line to pat Punxsutawney Phil on his furry little head for ruining my day, and possibly my season, you will understand. However, if you hear that somebody punched the little rat in his protruding, weather-predicting teeth, just pretend you don’t know me. Have a nice Valentine’s Day, Presidents’ Day, any February holiday except Groundhog Day!


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