Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Wednesday's Words for February 3, 2010

Yesterday was a day eagerly anticipated each year in the Ashbury family: It was Groundhog Day. On the way to work yesterday morning, my beloved chanted his Groundhog Day mantra, “cloudy, cloudy, cloudy” in his attempt to influence the weather and thereby the prognosticating rodent. I know my eldest also had his fingers crossed for a positive outcome. Knowing him, he didn’t utter a mantra, but likely spent some time looking up recipes for groundhog stew—so the critter could know the price of failure. And truly, we awoke to overcast skies and great hope.

Too bad those overcast skies didn’t appear over Wiarton, Ontario or Punxsutawney, Pennsylvania. Sadly, and in a rare show of solidarity, both groundhogs saw their shadows which means six more weeks of winter, instead of an early spring.

“Not too bad,” the man on the radio said, “it’s been a good winter so far, so it’s not like we really needed the break of an early spring this year.”

I’m a writer, well acquainted with literary devices, and that radio D. J. demonstrated one in his pronouncement. “Good winter” is an oxymoron if ever I heard one.

Now that is just my personal opinion, of course. I hate winter. I loved it when I was a child, but then when I was a child winter had fun things to do. There was mostly skating for me, as I rarely went tobogganing, and I don’t really recall if I ever actually owned a toboggan. Yes, later when I lived in the same house I grew up in, raising my own family, husband and kids would go to the Quarry property behind us and slide down the big hill. But as a child, I was forbidden to go near the place.

No matter, there had always been skating on the pond across the road from our house. Often, coming in out of the cold on days my mother had off from the hospital (she was a nurse) meant coming in to wonderful homemade soups and hot cocoa. So I do have fond memories of winter.

And as an adult living in Canada I appreciate that there are many people whose livelihoods depend on our having a proper helping of cold temperatures and lots of snow every year. But that doesn’t mean that personally I have to like it.

Just when I was grumbling into my coffee cup about rotten rodents and winter doldrums, my spirits got an unexpected boost. While surfing the Web I learned of a third groundhog! It seems that the great State of New York also has a weather predicting rodent. His name is Chuck – Staten Island Chuck – and he has an accuracy record that blows old Phil right out of It seems that Chuck has been on the job for 29 years and has been right 22 of those years – that’s 76%! Phil, on the other hand, doesn’t even have a passing grade, being right only 39% of the time.

Staten Island Chuck predicts an early spring! Yes!

Here, now, is proof that what I’ve always said is true. Everything is a choice. You can look at the glass as half empty, or half full. You can choose to believe one groundhog, or you can choose to believe the other.

I’m the sort of person who, when it comes to winter, hedges her bets. For example, I consider winter to run from October 1 to March 31 inclusive. Six months. Yes, I know the calendar says three. But what does it know, really? It says that in Las Vegas, Indianapolis, and Key West, too. Now, maybe in those places, the three-months-per-season average works.

Take my word on it; it doesn’t work where I live.

The advantage of my approach is that sometimes, we don’t get real cold winter weather until the middle of December and then I can say to myself “when this month is over, winter is half done already!” Thus, we are now four-sixths the way through this dreaded season. And it was Groundhog Day yesterday.

Surely, that has to be a sign of something?

That is, something other than an indication that those of us who await anxiously the so-called predictions of a furry critter really need to get a life.

Coming Soon from Morgan Ashbury and Ménage Amour
A novel so bold, so daring, it could only be called...
Brazen Seduction

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