Happy Groundhog Day, kids
I will sheepishly admit that there may have been a couple of minor instances in my past missives when I’ve taken slight literary license, and may have exaggerated a wee bit when telling a story. But I swear 100 percent of the following facts I shared with my 6 year old are true even if it sounds otherwise.
Daughter: What is the next holiday?
Me: Well, honey, that would be Groundhog Day, when all of the people of the world look to the meteorological capitol of Punxsutawney, Pa., and a small woodland creature gets taken out of a fake tree stump and if he sees his shadow, it means we have six more weeks of winter.
Me: Punxsutawney. It’s an Indian word for “town of the sandflies.”
Daughter: Ew. Can all groundhogs predict the weather?
Me: No, only Punxsutawney Phil, who in the German tradition is a woodchuck. His full name is, “Seer of Seers, Sage of Sages, Prognosticator of Prognosticators and Weather Prophet Extraordinary.” He is over 120 years old.
Daughter: Rolling her eyes. You made that up.
Me: No I swear! Look on the calendar. It’s an official holiday. And a movie starring Bill Murray. We can watch it if you want. Over and over and over.
Daughter: Who is Phil Murray?
Me: Bill Murray, and he is an actor that had issues with a gopher, but that was a different film, so never mind. There is also a cartoon-ish version, but that’s actually called Jack Frost and Buddy Hackett played Pete the Groundhog, not Phil, so I’m pretty sure that is the unauthorized biography.
Daughter: I don’t even know what you’re saying. Puzzled. What do we do on Groundhog Day? Are there presents?
Me: Well, it’s a magical morning and we all gather around the TV and watch the Today show. If Phil does not see his shadow -- or at least whispers into the ear of the Groundhog Club president in “Groundhogese” (a language only understood by the current president of the Inner Circle according to the Web site) -- then perhaps we will receive the gift of a shorter winter. And a chili cook-off.
Daughter: Leaving the room. Never mind, I’ll just ask Dad.
I guess too many years of crying wolf is going to cost me a Groundhog Day.
-- Tracey Henry, the Suburban Diva