Sunday, February 01, 2009

Happy Groundhog Day!

Blake's grandfather's favorite holiday is not Christmas. It's not even Thanksgiving. It's Groundhog Day, which falls every year on the 2nd of February. A family of woodchucks, or groundhogs, led by patriarch "Johnny Chuck" resides in the barn at the back of our family's cottage in Clinton, Connecticut (see the house here on the Clinton Harbor Webcam; it's the white house, second from left), and all the Blakeys therefore have a soft spot for the animal made famous in the Bill Murray movie by the same name. The main Groundhog Day celebrations in the US take place in Punxsutawney, Pennsylvania, where a groundhog known as "Punxsutawney Phil" emerges from his deep winter hibernation. If he sees his shadow, he's therefore scared and goes back into his burrow for another 6 weeks of winter; if he doesn't see his shadow, spring is right around the corner. I remember one summer making a stop in Punxsutawney, PA - the place really does exist and the groundhog lives in a big window in the public library, if I remember correctly.
Interestingly enough, I've just learned that other places have Groundhog Day weather prediction events, including Charlotte, NC, about 45 minutes from Hickory, where I grew up. Their groundhog seems to be called "Queen Charlotte", also the name of the hospital where Blake was born here in London!
Anyway, to wish Grandpa John a happy Groundhog Day, we had a photo shoot with our very own "Johnny Chuck," courtesy of Aunt Nancy. You can see the all the photos here:
Groundhog Day photo shoot

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