I Have a Couple of Groundhog Day Questions…

WTF? A groundhog in a tree? Does this mean we can expect six weeks of flooding?

WTF? A groundhog in a tree? Does this mean we can expect six weeks of flooding?

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?

About HoaiPhai

I'm up late digging up the dirt. View all posts by HoaiPhai

11 responses to “I Have a Couple of Groundhog Day Questions…

  • T. D. Davis

    Praying that the snow will stop. 🙂

  • The Hook

    I thank Bill Murray for being so awesome. Then I get on with my life.
    Spectacular post, old friend.

    • HoaiPhai

      Bill Murray’s one of my Groundhog Day traditions, but I thought it was understood so I didn’t bother mentioning it. We really must have coffee one day, neighbour.

  • Donna Holland

    I think you should have to wear some kind of token ground hog hat, I haven’t really decided if it should be from a real groundhog or not yet. I will let you know what I come up with there…Happy Groundhog Day to you too!!!

    • HoaiPhai

      I think you’re on to something there! Assuming that the space you put between “ground” and “hog” was an error, someone could make a lot of money selling groundhog hats (albeit for just a couple of days a year but, what the heck, right now I’m not making lots of money any days of the year!). I’m thinking a Russian ushanka sort of thing made out of synthetic fur with a rodential face in the front flap, a tail hanging off the back, and little paws at the four corners.

      On the other hand if the space was intentional and you are thinking of a hat made out of presumably-cooked ground pork, I’m right with you there, too! Properly spiced it would stay preserved throughout the groundhog festivities and including a bit of cayenne in the marinade and/or seasoning would discourage gulls from swooping down and taking bites out of people’s headgear. Generally I make it a point never to attempt to eat anything larger than my own head but I just might make an exception in the case of your Hog Burger Derby!

  • pussyhasfurballs

    I just brought (bought? Stupid useless grammar) a leg of lamb today for Easter dinner. Should I be feeling guilty? Also, I’ll be working on Easter. I’m just telling you that so I get pity.

    • HoaiPhai

      I only made leg of lamb once but for Valentine’s Day. I roasted it in a fishnet stocking and a garter in an effort to inspire my wife to buy and bring home to model some complicated lingerie for me. The message did get through but, unfortunately, not exactly as planned. When I got home from work she greeted me wearing nothing but a thin layer of mint jelly.

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