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Coal Region Culture

Off to see the groundhog?

off to see the groundhog


It’s Groundhog Day. The day we all find out if we get six more weeks of winter or an early Spring. And we’re still not sure there’s a difference.

But rather than be miserable about Groundhog Day like those people who pretend to hate hearing about it, we celebrate it. It’s a fun, goofy day. Remember, Phil Connors didn’t see it that way at first.

“This is pitiful.
A thousand people freezing their butts off
waiting to worship a rat. What a hype.
Groundhog Day used to mean something in this town.
They used to pull the hog out,
and they used to eat it.
You’re hypocrites, all of you!”

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“I’ll give you a winter prediction. It’s going to be cold. It’s going to be gray. And it’s going to last you the rest of your life.”

If we don’t take advantage of these seemingly silly traditions, we’ll lose them. Eventually, people forget they ever happen.

OK, we’re no Chekhov and we’re no Phil Connors.

Remember, he said:

“When Chekhov saw the long winter,
he saw a winter bleak and dark and bereft of hope.
Yet we know that winter is just another step in the cycle of life.
But standing here among the people of Punxsutawney
and basking in the warmth of their hearths and hearts,
I couldn’t imagine a better fate than a long and lustrous winter.”

Phil Connors Groundhog Day Quotes

Phil had plenty of time to figure out the true significance of Groundhog Day. Yeah, it’s about the groundhog on the surface. But beneath it all, it’s about slowing down to appreciate the little things. Otherwise, you’ll miss the good stuff. Kinda like Groundhog Day.

So, in order to learn that lesson, Phil had to repeat the day over and over until he gets it just right.

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But we don’t have that luxury. This talent’s needed in the world and has to deliver.

call himself the talent

“Did he actually call himself the talent?”

So, why don’t we “celebrate” Groundhog Day a little more. Sure, we’d probably like to and should, but every day we have people chasing us around, expecting things, and we’re forced to deliver.

And every day, it starts the same way.

“OK, campers, rise and shine. And don’t forget your booties ’cause it’s coooold out there today.”

off to see the groundhog

“Off to see the groundhog?”

Truth is, not many people actually wake up to see if Punxsutawney Phil sees his shadow. Unless you’re going to Gobblers Knob, you need to be a die-hard fan of the holiday to wake up for the live prediction. It’s not unlike a lot of local traditions here in the Coal Region. You often don’t have time to make it but you want to know it keeps going.

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But then you look up one day and it’s gone.

Then There’s Ned

Why don’t we go to see the groundhog or wake up to see what he “does”? Well, because if Groundhog Day is on a weekend, we’ve had people like Ned Ryerson chasing us around all week.

ned ryerson bing

And if Groundhog Day happens to fall during the week, it’s because we’ve got a day of Ned Ryersons to deal with and frankly, what a groundhog sees at the crack of dawn isn’t priority #1.

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Doesn’t mean it’s not important though.

But if there’s no Ned Ryersons to deal with, there’s always a-hole drivers. Some days it seems like it’s Drive Like an A-hole Day.

And yeah, we want to know what the groundhog did earlier in the morning, but we have to repeat our mantra. It helps center us.

dont drive angry

Don’t drive angry! Don’t drive angry!

And these are the days we’re forced to repeat. Why don’t we repeat more of the good days and less of the ones that drive us mad?

Phil asked:

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“I was in the Virgin Islands once.
I met a girl. We ate lobster, drank piña coladas.
At sunset we made love like sea otters.
That was a pretty good day.
Why couldn’t I get that day over and over and over?”

Yeah, we’d all love to repeat the great days and have less of the not-so-great or bad ones. But in order to make the great days seem great, it seems we have to endure a string of the other kind.

So, we can choose to keep going at those days we’d like to forget or can’t remember the same way. Or we can start making the most of those ones in the middle. But still, we have to take the time to appreciate the special days, even if they’re not as special to us.

Of course, that’s what Phil attempts to do throughout Groundhog Day as he repeats it over and over. He discovers all the ways to make the mundane days unique until he finally figures it out.


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