Groundhog Day

This is one of my favorite posts from the past. I'm re-posting it as tomorrow is February 2nd. Happy Groundhog Day!


Groundhog Day

It was 7:25 in the morning. Phil was not a happy groundhog.

“I tell you, Gladys, these humans are crazy! Trusting a groundhog to plan their lives. It’s not like I have any special powers!”

“Phil, if it bothers you that much, just come back to bed.” Gladys pulled the blanket up under her chin.

“Don’t think I wouldn’t like to. But do I have a choice? Nooo, at 7:29 every 2nd of February, that big hand in the white glove comes in and grabs me. Then I’m shoved up above ground, a thousand reporters blind me with their camera flashes, and I’m lucky to make it back into the hole before some kid beans me with a stale bagel. Don’t tempt me, Gladys, don’t tempt me!”

“Well, try going with the flow instead of fighting it this time. That might make a difference.”

“Go with the flow? Oh, that’s brilliant, Gladys, just brilliant. It doesn’t make any difference what I do anyway. If I see my shadow, we’re in for six more weeks of winter. If I don’t see my shadow, spring will be here within a month and a half.”

Gladys yawned and blinked sleepily. “If it doesn’t make any difference what you do, just do whatever makes you happy.”

“Makes me happy? Do you know what would make me happy, Gladys? It would make me happy if this whole Groundhog Day business just went away! Do you know how this started, Gladys? In the old country they celebrated a holiday called Candlemas. The animal they watched on Candlemas to see if he saw his shadow was a hedgehog. A hedgehog, Gladys! Only there weren’t any hedgehogs around when they came over to the new world, so they decided to watch groundhogs. I’m a second-rate substitute for a hedgehog, Gladys! I’m the first runner-up in the beauty contest for hibernating weather predictors!”

“Well, Phil, at least you’re not in the running for Miss Congeniality. Why don’t you just show them that you are unique this year? Do something different?”

Phil scratched his nose impatiently. “That might be just the thing to do, Gladys, you might be on to something there.” The tiny grandfather clock in the hall tunnel chimed 7:29. Phil groaned. “Well, here we go!”

A huge white-gloved hand appeared in the tunnel and gently grasped Phil by the scruff of his neck. It dragged him to his front door, then began to push him up from behind.

“Hey, hey, hey, watch where you’re pushing there, pal!” Phil barked. Then he was outside.

Multitudes of people began cheering as cameras flashed from every direction. Phil closed his eyes to dull the pain. In a moment, his vision cleared and he looked around to see his shadow on the ground behind him. “Hey, what do we have here?”

He lifted his right foot, and the shadow lifted with it. “Hmmm… what else can we do with this?” He lifted his foot higher, and raised his paws above his head. “Haiii-yah!” he screamed.

“Look!” someone shouted. “Punxsutawney Phil is in the crane position!”

A man in formal attire and wearing white gloves stepped between the crowd and the kung-fu groundhog. An airborne stale bagel bounced off of his striped vest. “Phil is fine, folks, he’s just a little upset like the rest of us that we’re going to have six more weeks of winter!” Twisting his neck around, he hissed to his assistant, “Get that groundhog back into the tunnel!”

Phil was unceremoniously hurried back into his warm home. He saw the shadow of the front door close above him. He stared up, listening to the jabbering of the crowd outside.

“Phil, honey, are you finished already?”

Phil smiled to himself. “It seems so, Gladys, it seems so.”

“Then come back to bed. It’s six weeks until spring.”

2 thoughts on “Groundhog Day”

  1. Great story! I loved “Don’t tempt me, Gladys!” and “hibernating weather predictors”! Nice bit of history, too!

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