Thursday, February 2, 2012


L to R - Magnus, Aidan, Zander, Atlas

Detroit Harbor, Washington Island -

For the record, it was cloudy this morning and it stayed overcast all day.

We don't have groundhogs on Washington Island, or burrowing gophers, either.  Maybe the deepwater following the glacial melt kept them from our shores.  (These mammals are found on the peninsula, however.)  If it weren't for the news media repeating the results of several staged February 2nd groundhog events held around the country, I doubt I would know what one looked like.

Our grandsons could have cared less as they ignored the outdoor weather and came straight to our room, crowding in our bed to watch cartoons and play Angry Birds on my iPad.  Their attention was trained on  TV cartoons until a new cartoon show began that the oldest two claimed was "for girls."  Once they made this declaration, not even the youngest two cared to watch and the bedroom emptied quickly.

But about that creaky groundhog folk tale.  I suppose it was originally based on actual observations made by pioneers, or perhaps it was a European tradition carried overseas to the New World.  Given what seems a thin connection between the whims of a groundhog and predictions for more or fewer weeks of winter, (there is disagreement between StormFax and Accuweather as to the accuracy record of the leading groundhog's predictions) we could just as well make up our own traditions, starting today, regarding climate and weather conditions, and link them to the economy, as a fun example. (Low Lake Water correlates to Low Economic Activity, etc.)  There are also believers that industrious, fat fall squirrels portend a rough winter ahead. (Squirrels that are not fat in December probably won't be around for the census in the spring.)

I'm going out on the limb, of course, but I will say that four well-fed grandsons in our bed before 6:30 a.m. means we are blessed grandparents.   Groundhogs be damned.

- Dick Purinton

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