Wednesday, February 1, 2006
What Are You Doing to Celebrate Groundhog Day?
Tomorrow is Groundhog Day. I'm going to party. It's just a small affair, immediate family only, and not even they are required to come. If they do come, they can watch the movie Groundhog Day with me . . . and I will feed them "mystery meat." If they don't come, I'll watch and eat alone, which isn't as sad as it sounds. This may inspire some questions in your mind . . .
Tomorrow is Groundhog Day. I'm going to party. It's just a small affair, immediate family only, and not even they are required to come. If they do come, they can watch the movie Groundhog Day with me -- available locally at Target on DVD for $7.99, last I checked, since there's not enough time to order it over the Internet -- and I will feed them "mystery meat." If they don't come, I'll watch and eat alone, which isn't as sad as it sounds.
This may inspire some questions in your mind:
Q: Why do you celebrate Groundhog Day? Are you some sort of pagan?
A: I really like the Bill Murray movie, I can use the break, and I enjoy the face my daughter pulls when she hears the phrase "mystery meat."
Q: Have you ever eaten groundhog?
A: Yes or almost, I'm not certain. The groundhog is a type of marmot. In Idaho, we had a type of marmot we called the "rockchuck." (I suppose we called it that because it is like a woodchuck, but lives in the sparsely-vegetated lava beds, not the forest.) I don't know whether they are the same type of marmot. In any case, one day the migrant laborers on the farm invited me to share their dinner, which they had been cooking all afternoon. It smelled wonderful and was very tasty. I didn't know until later that it was rockchuck. So I have either eaten actual groundhog or something closely related to it. By the way, the only ill effect I suffered from the dinner was momentary, slight queasiness upon learning what I had actually eaten -- and only until I realized that it probably came with some minor bragging rights. I have never attempted to reproduce the recipe and likely never will.
Q: Does that mean the "mystery meat" at your party won't actually be groundhog?
A: Probably, but who can say? It's mystery meat.
Q: Are you the only person who celebrates Groundhog Day, outside of Pennsylvania, that is?
A: Apparently not. Look at all the Web sites.
Q: Are there songs one can sing about Groundhog Day?
A: Yes, a whole bunch, I sang some of them for my family at dinner the other evening. You should, too. When you're done, I can recommend either a good family therapist or someone who knows a good divorce lawyer, as needed.
Q: Are there any good reasons to celebrate Groundhog Day?
A: Well, there are mine and at least eleven more.
Q: Don't you find all this rather strange?
A: Yes. What's your point?
Q: Are you really doing this because you're tired of politics?
A: Probably. But that tends only to happen during State of the Union week, and even if it happened more often, it wouldn't matter. I'm an addict.
Q: Have you ever been to Punxsutawney, Pennsylvania?
A: Yes. Long ago, in a galaxy far, far away, I was called to preach the gospel for two years to the groundhog-worshippers of western Pennsylvania. I was in Punxsutawney itself a few times, even slept there once, on some other missionaries' living room floor. I didn't sleep particularly well that night, as I recall, but I did wake up the next morning (as opposed to the same morning over and over again). When I awoke, I saw (asleep across the room) not Andie MacDowell, but my missionary companion. But the movie hadn't been made yet, so who knew?
Q: Western Pennsylvania, as in Pittsburgh?
A: Yes, you geographical whiz, you. By the way, I am fond of the Pittsburgh footage at the beginning of the movie. The other night, my children thought I was going to spoil the party by watching the whole movie early, but I was really just watching the Pittsburgh footage.
Q: So are you rooting for the Steelers in the Super Bowl?
A: Definitely, but don't tell my wife. She's from Seattle -- where, by the way, they don't have winter enough to justify their own groundhog, either, but they may be smart enough to realize that, unlike folks in certain other temperate climes.
Q: What if I can't find the DVD at Target, and Blockbuster is out, and Hollywood is out, etc.? Can I come to your house and watch the movie?
A: No. You might be out of luck, unless it's on cable or satellite TV, which I don't have. I ran a search earlier this week at MeeVee.com, and was told, "'Groundhog Day' isn't on any of your available channels in the next 12 days." Alas. Next year, plan ahead, right?
Q: Is Punxsutawney Phil the only groundhog-meteorologist?
A: According to GroundhogsDay.com there are at least this many others:
Q: Are you finally finished?
A: Yes. Happy Groundhog Day.
Copyright 2006 by David Rodeback.