I don’t know about Punxsutawney Phil but I saw my shadow mid-morning on February 2nd! Evidently, that means nothing here in Texas because some rodent looking, pampered, slightly overweight groundhog in Pennsylvania is America’s prophetic weather predictor. How did we let this happen?
Being the inquisitive sort that I am, I did a little internet research. It seems the official location for Groundhog Day (it irritates me that there is no day for dogs…or even cats) is Punxsutawney, Pennsylvania. The tradition is if it’s sunny, Phil the groundhog will see his shadow and scamper back into his burrow, predicting 6 more weeks of winter. If it’s cloudy, Phil somehow interprets this as winter is about over and predicts an early spring. Is this making any sense to any of y’all?
Sounds to me like Phil has it backwards – it also tells me he is a weenie, scared of his own shadow! I don’t know about y’all but when I go out and the sun is shining, it tells me it’s probably going to be a nice day…and we could possibly have more of it!
Evidently this folklore originated in Europe (now there’s a group who knows a lot about Texas weather) where a badger and a bear predicted the weather. The American version of this charade, held at Gobbler’s Knob (now they’re bringing in a turkey…talk about a “rocket scientist”) in Pennsylvania, started in 1887. I will give the groundhog an “A” for perseverance.
Thousands of people (no dogs – we have better things to do) gathered this year in pre-dawn, sub-freezing temperature, chanting “Phil…Phil…Phil” and watched Phil’s prediction of an “early spring” instead of ” 6 more weeks of winter.” I don’t begrudge the fine folks of Punxsutawney their clever ceremony and their number one tourist attraction but the odds are pretty good that on February 2nd in a location northwest of Pittsburg, not far from Lake Erie, and just down the road from Niagara Falls that winter is likely to last 6 more weeks anyway. It would make more sense to me if they did this on April 2nd.
Finally, Texans have risen up. Our state Senate passed a resolution making February 2nd Armadillo Day in Texas. February 2nd makes a lot of sense for Texas because at this point in time, winter can go either way and we need a good predictor. My problem is their choice of the armadillo. We’re not talking about the “brightest bulb on the tree” here…and armadillos are known for their horrible eyesight. I chased one before I became a “town dog” and it literally ran head-on into a mesquite tree! I felt so sorry for it, I just let it go.
And even though this first event with the armadillo “Bee Cave Bob” (yep, it’s held at Bee Cave outside of Austin) was last year, they are touting that “Bee Cave Bob” has a 98.6 percent accuracy rate. It appears to me that after just one year, he would either be 100% correct or 100% wrong…but I digress!
But they did get a lot of things right. They do this at 11:30 in the morning which is a more respectable time than pre-dawn and they serve chili. And “Bee Cave Bob” doesn’t make his appearance until 12:30, allowing time for the chili and beer to take effect making whatever he says more believable.
I don’t know why the dog has been overlooked as “man’s best weather predictor” – we could tie it in with that “man’s best friend” thingy. It’s not that difficult. When your dog goes out and they come back in wet, it is raining. When they come back in white, it is snowing. When they don’t come back in at all, there may be a tornado in the area.
This is Miss Lillie the Meteorologist signing off…and predicting somewhere between 1 and 8 more weeks of winter!