SCORES & OUTDOORS: Woodrow Charles – A gopher’s gopher makes another bold prediction

Roland D. Halleeby Roland D. Hallee

It’s that time when I have a love-hate reaction to this day. The love: It’s February and I get to go visit my gopher friend, Woodrow Charles. The hate: I have to trudge through snow, cold and wind to his lair in the woods of Center Vassalboro. Woody is a weather prognosticating groundhog that I visit every year for his prediction on the length of the remainder of winter.

Folklore has it that if Woody sees his shadow, we are in for six more weeks of winter-like weather. If he doesn’t see his shadow, we can look forward to an early spring.

So, I bundle up and head out. It’s a cold, sunny day. The snow is not deep, but there is ice as far as the eyes can see. Actually, with the sun shining on the icy surface, it is a rather beautiful sight, like diamonds spread out on the snow.

I finally arrive at Woody’s den. The light is shining through the window, and the smoke is billowing from the chimney. He’s home.

As I approach, I notice the Christmas wreath still hanging from the door. Kind of unusual for my little furry friend who is usually so meticulous about his surroundings. I knock gently.


Woody answers the door, dressed in a smoking jacket with an ascot, holding a glass of brandy and a cigar. He looks quite distinguished.

“Hi friend,” he greets me. “Come on in. Can I get you something?”

“I’m fine, thank you.”

“What brings you out here in this weather,” he asks.

“lt’s February,” I respond. “How come your Christmas wreath is still up, and what’s with the cigar?”

“Oh, I’ve been really busy,” he answers. “And the cigar is just a phase I’m going through, to kind of celebrate the moment.”

“How busy can you be,” I inquired.

“Well, the stock market is up, and I check my portfolio a couple times a day. I’m doing very well at this time. I’ve been trading and making moves. I’m investing in steel and concrete. Plus, with the new tax reform law that was just passed, I’m trying to figure out how that will affect my bottom line.”

“That’s only for really rich people,” I come back.

“Hey, my finances are my business,” he snaps back.

“That takes up all your time?” I ask.

“No, I also have to get ready for the Super Bowl. The boys are coming over again, and I have lots of cooking to do. You must remember Frank, Butch and Slim? By the way, they say ‘Hi,’”

“I’m glad they remember me. Why don’t you ever go to their place,” I ask reluctantly.

“What, and hang out in those drafty places where they hole-up for the winter. It’s much more comfortable here.”

“Any prediction?” I ask.

“It’s going to be a really tight game, as usual when it involves the Patriots. But I think they will win 27-17. Nick Foles will look like a backup quarterback against the Patriots defense, and Brady will, … well, Brady will be Brady.”

“No, I’m talking about the weather. It is Groundhog Day, you know.”

“Oh, that again,” he says with a sigh.

We both sit there, uncomfortable, for a moment. We glance at each other. What is he thinking?

“Well, if I must,” he snorts. “OK, February will bring below average precipitation and slightly colder weather, maybe one degree below normal. March will be warmer than normal, about five degrees above normal with about one inch above normal precipitation. It looks to me that we most probably will have another six weeks of winter, but with a possibility of an early spring.”

“Hey,” I interrupted. “You’re starting to sound like a weather man, even worse, a politician.”

“Isn’t that what you want,” he snaps back.

I guess he is right.

As I headed toward the door, I stopped, turned, and looked back.

“So, why concrete and steel?” I inquired.

“Don’t you read the news? Last, week the nine prototypes for the wall on the Mexican border were tested, and all contained either steel, or concrete, or both. I may as well get in on the action.”

I shook my head, turned and walked out the door.

“See you next year!” he called, as the door slowly closed behind me.

Roland’s trivia question of the week:

Which NFL player has scored the most individual points in a single Super Bowl game?

Answer here.


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