Prognosticating groundhogs

Theirs is named Phil. Ours is named Jimmy. Theirs lives in a town with an almost unpronounceable name — Punxsutawney. Ours lives in Sun Prairie. Theirs is in Pennsylvania. Ours is in Wisconsin. Today, theirs claims 6 more weeks of winter. Ours says Early Spring!!! Here in Madison, we’ll go with Jimmy!

For more than 50 years, the Sun Prairie Groundhog Club has carried on a fun-in-February feud with Pennsylvania over predictions about the length of winter. On Jimmy’s website, a bit of history appears:

“A verbal exchange of Wisconsin and Pennsylvania Congressmen over the controversy is recorded in the Congressional Record of Monday, February 4, 1952. Representative Glenn Davis sent a copy of the Record to Emden Schey saying “A little nonsense now and then is relished by the best of men.” The story hit national news coverage by United Press.”

There was indeed a lot of nonsense in the 1950s.

We had just a few inches of snow last night and today, drifting down from a heavily laden gray sky. No sun at all, and no way could Jimmy see any shadows. On our way into work today, we drove on slushy slippery roads, slowly and carefully. Plows were out but there was a lot to do. As we traveled along on Old Sauk Road, down the big hill to Old Middleton Road, we noticed a school bus moving slowly up the hill. In slow-motion, the bus fish-tailed but continued slowly, slightly sideways, up the hill!  We moved a bit to the right to allow more room, figuring that an encounter with a bus would likely not turn out well. We passed it safely and continued on our way. It was a muffled morning of slowly moving vehicles, people, and yes, bicycles — after all, this is Madison. The silence felt comforting. But I wasn’t outside much; too much to do in front of my computer.

And now we know that for us here in southern Wisconsin, spring will arrive early, while for those poor coasties… NOT.

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