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The reoccurring fun of Groundhog’s Day

By on January 28, 2019 in Columnist with 1 Comment
Jeanette Owens

By Jeanette Owens 

I celebrate Groundhog Day each year. It is just plain fun. 

The holiday is not driven by Hallmark or American Greetings or any other commercial venture. In fact, it is hard to find items to decorate with and cards are nonexistent. Most of the souvenirs I have are from Punxsutawney, Penn.. 

My husband, David, and I made special memories for our children, Thomas and Patricia. When they were young, I used a groundhog cookie cutter as a template to make cards as well as cookies. Patricia remembers that those sugar cookies were the only ones we ever covered with chocolate frosting. 

 We would listen each Feb. 2 to hear if Punxsutawney Phil saw his shadow. 

It didn’t matter if this prognosticator proved right or wrong. We all enjoyed seeing the furry fellow lifted high in the air at Gobbler’s Knob as a man in a top hat read the official statement as to whether Phil had indeed seen his shadow or not. 

Every year I read a Scholastic book titled It’s Groundhog Day that explained the holiday. Some years later, I purchased another book to read. These stories became part of our tradition.

In the 1990s, the area where Fred Meyer and Hobby Lobby are now was home to quite a colony of groundhogs. People would watch these animals and many would take carrots to feed them. 

Since the animals were not afraid of humans, the groundhogs would approach without fear. 

One day we went to a bench in that area to observe for ourselves taking donuts for a treat for us. David put his donut on a napkin and laid it down on the bench. In a flash, a groundhog stole the confection much to the surprise and delight of our children. 

After fleeing with the donut, the groundhog stopped, turned around and looked at David as if to say, “Thank you for the donut today!”

Phils waves “Hi” from Punxsutawney.

Why the fascination with this holiday? 

My mother told me stories from as far back as I can remember. She graduated from Punxsutawney High School in 1939. As years went by, my mother would recognize some of her classmates among the men in top hats. The town has always embraced the festival and the locals would bundle up to see Phil make his weather predications. 

We have made trips to Pennsylvania to visit my family and have stopped in Punxsy — which is what my mom always called it. 

It is a smaller community and has the best downtown park with large trees, walkways and benches. Off to one side is the public library and the burrow of our friend, Phil. He can be viewed from outside as well as from inside the library. Children and adults enjoy seeing him. 

Each Feb. 2, Phil is escorted to Gobbler’s Knob a couple miles out of town to make his predictions. 

 David rolls his eyes sometimes about my groundhog fascination, but he helped me find a small statue for our yard that looks as much like a groundhog as we could find. As always, we will celebrate the day with a smile.

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  1. Good memories! I definitely still tell the doughnut story each year. The tradition has moved on to your granddaughter who enjoyed watching the prediction this year.

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