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On the Other Hand — A letter to Phil and Chuck PDF Print
Saturday, February 01, 2014 9:00 PM

This is a letter to Phil and Chuck.

Not the bearded scamp on Duck Dynasty and the martial arts and fitness guru but rather Punxsutawney Phil and Buckeye Chuck.


While Phil and Chuck are surely cute beyond measure and hold us captivated each Feb. 2 while their chubby bodies are hauled from their warm beds and thrust into the blinding TV camera lights as the eastern portion of the United States awaits breathlessly to find out if spring is just around the corner or there’s more winter to come, I am hoping for a certain outcome here.


For the town of Punxsutawney, where famed weather prognosticator Phil resides, Sunday will mean an epic flood of people, as crowds of thousands converge on Gobbler’s Knob for the weather reveal.

A native of Ohio, Chuck began predicting the arrival of spring in the 1970s. In addition, the Ohio General Assembly declared Buckeye Chuck the official State Groundhog in 1979.

Phil and Chuck — I’m hoping you’ll see things my way on Sunday. I have shoveled and scraped and salted and chipped and swept away snow and ice all I care to this winter. I’ve watched as money pours down the drain to keep my pipes from freezing in subzero temperatures, donned boots and hats and scarves to prevent frostbite and gotten stuck — at least once — in my own driveway. I have spent countless moments putting Ringo’s boots and coat on and reversing the process only to repeat it several hours later. Our schoolchildren have only been in class for a full day three times since before Christmas.

It should probably be noted that Phil and Chuck are wrong more often than not. Seems to be the norm for weather forecasters. You know, these are the only people we allow to fib to us on a regular basis and still tune in every day to see what they have to say.

The Groundhog Day celebration is rooted in a Celtic tradition that says if a hibernating animal casts a shadow on Feb. 2, the Pagan holiday of Imbolc, winter will last another six weeks. If no shadow was seen, legend says spring would come early.

The ties in Pennsylvania may actually come from Germans, when clear skies on Candlemas Day (Feb. 2) were said to herald cold weather ahead. In Germany, the tradition morphed into a myth that if the sun came out on Candlemas, a hedgehog would cast its shadow, predicting snow all the way into May. When German immigrants settled in Pennsylvania, they transferred the tradition onto local fauna, replacing hedgehogs with groundhogs.

Anywho, come on, guys; we need some relief. No shadows on Sunday!

Perhaps a better way to fix this problem would be to send Phil and Chuck to the Super Bowl. That way they’ll be too busy celebrating and preparing for the game to notice if they cast a shadow or not.

Last Updated on Friday, January 31, 2014 9:23 PM

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