SCORES & OUTDOORS: It’s Groundhog Day; what does Woody have in store for us?

Woody on Zoom.

Roland D. Halleeby Roland D. Hallee

While I was checking my calendar last week, I realized that February 2 is next Tuesday. Where does time go?

It’s time for me to take my annual trek to visit by little, furry friend, Woodrow Charles, the weather prognosticating groundhog.

Folklore has it that should Woody see his shadow on Groundhog Day, we will experience six more weeks of winter, whereas, if he doesn’t see his shadow, we can plan on an early spring.

As I looked out the window, it was a beautiful day, brilliant blue sky, nary a cloud in sight, and temperature hovering in the mid-30s. It has been a remarkably mild winter thus far. For the first time, the hike up to his domain in center Vassalboro will be an easy one. No snow and I’ll be walking on bare ground. After all these years, it’s getting harder and harder to get up the energy to take this annual trip.

As I walked to the closet to fetch my coat and hat, I figured I should check my emails one more time. After all, I would be gone for most of the afternoon.

Scrolling down through the many emails I receive each day I noticed one from Woodrow Charles.

I opened it wondering why he was getting in touch with me this way. He’s never done that before.

In his message he said, “Sorry to inconvenience you, but because of the Covid-19 pandemic, I would rather you didn’t come out this year. I have set up a Zoom account, and we can do it that way.”

Well, to be honest, I have a dislike for Zoom conferences. For some reason, they seem impersonal. But, what was I to do.

At the designated time, I logged on to my computer, and waited for Woody to make his appearance. I sure hope he’s wearing pants.

After about ten minutes, his face came up on my screen.

“How’s everything going? Are you OK?” I asked.

“Sure, everything is good,” he replied. “Keeping my distance from everyone. We don’t know how that virus would affect a groundhog should he become infected. Not much science on that.”

“Well, I was hoping maybe you’d be available again this year,” I stressed. “It’s been 17 years, you know. I didn’t want to break the streak.”

Woodrow replied, “Well, it’s best to do it this way this year, and be able to resume our tete-a-tete next year.”

“I will miss your great raspberry tea,” I continued. “The warmth and coziness of the wood fire, and the aroma of the wax melter in your abode is magnificent. Who can not like the scent of Essence de Cabbage.”

“Well, all that aside,“ he came back. “It’s also gonna be different this year. You know how I host a Super Bowl party each year. My buddies, Frank, Butch and Slim won’t be able to come over to watch the Super Bowl. At least the grocery bill will be less this year. They are such moochers.”

“Can’t you wear masks and social distance?” I asked.

“Well, my place is a little cramped. Best to be safe. Wouldn’t want to spread the virus throughout groundhog land. And besides, those masks don’t go well attached to our ears.”

“So, what do you have for me this year?”

“I stopped making predictions,” Woody said. “Seems whatever team I root for, always comes out the loser.”

“If you’re like me,” I answered, “Even though you don’t say it out loud, just thinking about which team I want to win seems to be a jinx on them, anyway.”

Woody rubbed his chin, looking like he was thinking of something serious. “I have to say I have to go from the heart this year, and wish my old buddy, Tom, the best of luck.”

“Well, said. So how about the rest of the winter?”

“The way I see it,” he started, “early February will see sunny and mild temperatures, with rain and snow showers through mid-February, followed by sunny and mild temperatures into the third week of the month. Late February will see rain and snow showers, again, with cold temperatures at first, turning mild later on. The temperatures in February could be as much as 5 degrees above normal with slightly above normal snowfall. We will experience a period of snowy weather in mid-March.”

“What are you trying to say,” I asked.

“I guess what I’m trying to say is that even though the weather seems milder and warmer than usual for a Maine winter, snow will not leave us until at least the middle of March. Plan on six more weeks of winter.”

“Well, I can’t argue with you. You nailed it right on the head last year, compared to those other groundhogs around the country.”

“What can I say,” replied Woody, a little flauntingly, “I have my reputation to uphold.”

With that, we said our adieus, and signed off.

I sure miss our little person-to-groundhog visits.

Roland’s trivia question of the week:

How many playoff wins does Tom Brady have?

Answer can be found here.


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