First of all, I don’t know if you’re supposed to say this but “Happy Groundhog Day”. I can never remember if people expect me to greet them with a “Happy Groundhog Day” or maybe a “Merry Groundhog Day” or whatever. What’s the protocol? Is today one of those special participation-optional holidays that gets a couple of minutes on the news but people who are not directly involved in groundhog wrangling and/or showmanship are not obligated to do anything at all and no one calls them Scrooge?
Speaking of Scrooge, there are basically two main North American schools of thought on Christmas dinner: turkey and ham. These foods make perfect sense and address two different non-conflicting aspects of that holiday. I figure turkey became a traditional Christmas meal as a commentary on the credulity of Clausists and maybe ham got on the menu because of the actors in all those Christmas specials on TV.
My friend The Dane’s family has a Christmas goose, which kind of makes sense given the Scandinavians’ sexy reputation. Us Greeks have lamb at Easter, which is kind of odd when you think about it. Christ is the shepherd and we are his flock so eating lamb at Easter feels a bit cannibalistic to me, so generally I make turkey (in no small part because there’s so much more you can do with turkey leftovers). But there’s no widely-accepted traditional Groundhog Day meal, is there?
In fact there’s nothing about how to throw the perfect Groundhog Day soirée on the covers of the women’s magazines at the grocery store check-out so what’s a person to do? In the absence of handed-down tradition, I make stuff up. Here’s how I celebrate Groundhog Day…
- On Groundhog Day Eve I go shopping and stock up on anything I might need for the holiday.
- If I have time I stop by the pet store and visit the guinea pigs, which look a lot like mini groundhogs if you squint your eyes up real tight.
- After a couple of rounds of hot chocolate laced with plenty of Kahlua, I call my friends and family using the Star-67 calling feature and sing Groundhog Day carols over the phone and then hang up.
- Even before looking for gifts in my plaster of Paris groundhog burrow, on Groundhog Day Morning I call in sick to work — there’s no way I’m going in to face everyone and wonder if I should be greeting them with a “Merry” or a “Happy” greeting or none at all. I disconnect the phones and the doorbell and abstain from all social networking sites.
- Just like a real groundhog I have a salad for breakfast but I have it with salad dressing and radishes and other stuff a real groundhog would avoid like the plague.
- I go back to bed. Groundhogs are one of the few animals that truly hibernates so I waste a few hours on this most special of days sleeping in protest of the several thousand volts they must jolt through the various celebrity groundhogs to awaken them from their winter slumbers just to drag them out in front of a bunch of people to see if he sees his shadow.
- I wake up whenever the hell I want and watch TV.
- I make pork chops for dinner [groundHOG—get it?] but the recipe varies. I’ll have BBQ on days when my nearest local celebrity groundhog predicts an early spring and I’ll have pan-fried pork chops when he predicts a long winter. Because my neighbourhood groundhog was up a tree this morning I guess I have to make pork and rutabaga soup.
That just about covers it. Do you have any special Groundhog Day traditions?