He goes by the name of Punxsutawney Phil in Punxsutawney, PA; Chuck in Marion, OH, Staten Island, NY, and Los Angeles, CA; Pierre C. Shadeaux in New Iberia, LA; and Wiarton Willie in Ontario, Canada. Sometimes he’s called a whistle pig or a woodchuck, but on February 2, midway between the winter and spring solstice, he’s known as a groundhog. He finds his place on the news even in years with vast political shenanigans to answer an important question.
Will there be six more weeks of winter or will spring come early? The questionable answer comes in whether he most famously sees his shadow in the official town of Punxsutawney, PA. Crowds arrive rivaling those of big football games to observe what could be as accurately predicted in the toss of a coin since Phil has been right about fifty percent of the time.
Yesterday amidst a crowd singing and dancing, the men from the Groundhog Handlers’ Club coaxed Phil from the ground on Gobbler’s Knob, a couple of miles out of town. He immediately saw his shadow and supposedly returned to his burrow to finish his nap during another six weeks of winter.
Of course, in South Mississippi this year, the whole question is moot. Winter has yet to show its face with December and January temperatures most often reaching a daily high in the seventies. We still have February when it might turn up, but you can see that my azaleas and daffodils are already in bloom with the snowdrops just ready to burst open.
There are those who would call him Phil the Phailure, but I say give him some slack and let him sleep. He’s only a rodent doing the best he can.