Punxsutawney Phil Speaks

February 2. As a native Pennsylvanian, I grew up celebrating or observing Groundhog Day in some fashion. In elementary school, I remember drawing a groundhog. We were to predict (a great reading comprehension strategy) whether the groundhog would see his shadow or not. If so, we were to draw the shadow. In truth, I remember my groundhog looked like four rectangles sticking out of an oval. The oval supported a circle which somewhat resembled a face because there were two eyes and a smile, and the shadow resembled an ink spill. Today, my artistic abilities of drawing lifeforms pays homage to the stick figure.

As one who attended a college in Western Pennsylvania, February 2, never went unnoticed.  With a campus in Punxsutawney, paying homage to the groundhog in a spirited manner (or with spirits) seemed mandatory. As much as I enjoyed my memories of Groundhog Day celebrations, when Bill Murray’s Groundhog Day movie came out in 1993, I didn’t race to the theater to see it because by then Power Rangers, Barney, and Thomas the Tank Engine topped my movie-going list.

And yet, it wasn’t until my children were of junior high age that I actually “met” Punxsutawney Phil. While I wasn’t there on February 2, I thoroughly enjoyed seeing where he, actually they, live.  In actuality, Phil was four groundhogs, not one. At the time, they lived in a window area in the town’s library. Visitors could watch him/them from outside or go inside and visit.

Happy Groundhog Day! Phil saw his shadow, thus he has predicted six more weeks of winter for 2014. While there are many sites devoted to Punxsutawney, for more information about Groundhog Day, visit the “official” website: http://www.groundhog.org.

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