Sunday, February 3, 2008

Adventures of Philipsburg Phil


This blog is dedicated to my grandchildren in Florida who have eternal spring and summer...

In a small town in central PA, lives a second generation groundhog Beanie Baby named Punxatawn-e Phil, named after the original furry prognosticator, Punxatawney Phil.

My Phil was born in 2002 and came to live with me in Indiana, PA, about 40 miles from Punxatawney. When I moved to Maryland a year later, Phil decided to come along because he had never been south of the Mason-Dixon line. He often whispered to me that the weather in Maryland was worse than PA since we were in the mountains and got far more snow.

Phil was tickled pink when we moved back to Philipsburg,PA last summer, only 60 miles away from his cousin in Punxatawney and he hoped he could at last go and meet his famous cousin. "I don't think so," I said. "There's too many people - you wouldn't even be able to get close to him. Besides, we'd have to get up way too early."

"I want to be a season predictor, just like my cousin even if we can't go and meet him.," he told me on Friday, February 1.Right then and there he changed his name to Philipsburg Phil so no one would get confused.

"Are you sure about that?" I asked. "Punxatawney Phil is awakened from hibernation and pulled from his burrow early in the morning each year on February 2 to see if it's time for spring or if there will be six more weeks of winter weather."

"Oh yes, I'm sure," Phillipsburg Phil nodded his head eagerly with an excited gleam in his eyes.

Well, I didn't even have to wake him up or pull him out of his warm shoebox burrow. As a matter of fact, I felt his furry little hands on my cheeks early on February 2, patting me and pinching my nose to wake me up.

I quickly got dressed and took him outside, wondering what his prediction would be. "I don't think you will see your shadow today, little Phil," I said. "It's gray and cloudy out here."

I helped him sit on the rail of our deck and took his picture. As the camera flashed, Philipsburg Phil squealed, "I saw it! I saw my shadow! There will be six more weeks of winter!"

By this time he was dancing all over the rail. Since it was icy, I was afraid he might slide right off, so I caught him and gave him a gentle squeeze. "I guess you really did see your shadow, after all.You are just like your cousin. He saw his shadow too."

I didn't have the heart to tell him that here in central PA, it would tale six more weeks for the crocus and daffodils to wake up no matter what either Phil said. I was just happy to let him come inside out of the icy cold weather and help me start my seeds for the spring planting in April.

Happy Groundhog Day, Philipsburg Phil!

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