Willie, may the odds be ever in your favor

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Superbowl Sunday has arrived!  The culmination of seventeen glorious weeks of watching the pigskin, followed by Playoffs and now it’s time for the Big Show!!  Even the groundhogs get a reprieve this year and get to watch the game in the comfort of their burrows without being dragged into the daylight until tomorrow.

Ah, Groundhog Day – that magical morning when we put our faith in an abundantly nourished, rotund mass of fur to predict the arrival of Spring.  This over-sized rodent is depended upon to prognosticate to the best of his ability and tell us, by virtue of seeing or not seeing his shadow, when we can expect the return of Spring.

Last year my post about this auspicious day focused more on the history and process of Willie’s predilection for weather.  This year I thought I would look at things from the perspective of poor Wiarton Willie (the Canadian version of Punxsutawney Phil).  First, he is rudely roused from his winter-long slumber to come out of his burrow and predict something even educated meteorologists cannot agree on.  Second, when he finally does make his appearance, he is greeted by a bemused but somewhat urgent crowd as they try to keep themselves warm enough to endure the period-costumed pomp and circumstance.

I am inclined to guess that Willie’s urge to get back into his cave has nothing to do with seeing his shadow.  I don’t know about you but, if I awoke to large crowd focused solely on me, I would be in one Hell of a hurry to bury myself back under my nest of blankets, shadow or not.  I feel somewhat sorry for Willie.  After being forced from his snug home out into an artic-like morning, the New England Patriots are probably not the only ones with deflated balls.

Given the success rate of these whiskered weather forecasters, the only prediction I would really take to heart is perhaps Willie’s prophecy about Superbowl 49.  Enjoy the game Willie and good luck with the madding crowd on Monday!

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A Groundhog said what??

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(image credit: ricochet.com)

It’s that time of year again.  Tomorrow is February 2nd – best known as Groundhog Day.  Tomorrow is the day that the nation puts its faith in a furry, rotund, hibernating member of the squirrel family to accurately predict the coming of spring.  (Currently their rate of success is posted at 39%.)  The folklore behind Groundhog Day allegedly originated in the area of Europe that is now known as Germany and became a tradition in the United States when the German settlers landed in Pennsylvania.  The original foreign prognosticator was a badger.  I’m not sure who the enlightened historical figure was that originally thought that this was a judicious way to plan their crop planting schedule but, many decades later, we are ready to celebrate this auspicious occasion again.

Hundreds gather, some donned in period costumes, to anxiously await the report that is passed from whiskered lips to attentive ears.  We must all consider ourselves fortunate to even see this furry forecaster as hibernating groundhogs will generally only leave their burrows for food and sex.  (I know some men who could take over the role as the purveyors of the changing of seasons based on their similar habits!!)

Mother Nature must really enjoy this celebrated day, especially if she sees fit to part the curtain of clouds to let the sun filter through.  The luck of the early spring prediction lays solely at her discretion and no member of the rodent kingdom will change that.  If the sun is shining on that frightened creature, he will inevitably see his shadow and it will be broadcast that we must brave six more weeks of winter.  If dear Mother Nature is moody and the sky is mottled with grey clouds, Punxsutawney Phil and Wiarton Willie will see no shadow and be said to have deemed an early spring.  I can only hope that tomorrow will begin under a blanket of condensed water vapor and their shadows will be non-existent.

Although his sweet, fuzzy exterior and chocolate-brown eyes may hold a place in your heart, do not trust a groundhog to foresee the accurate coming of spring!!  I may not be as hairy (thank God) or as cute (up for debate) as Wiarton Willie or Punxsutawney Phil but I, on the day prior to the 2nd of February 2014 will make my prediction.  Spring will arrive on Thursday, March 20th at 7:04 am!  Shadow or not, I’d put money on the fact that I’m pretty close in my estimation.  Sorry Willie and Phil, you might as well stay in bed!