Punxsutawney Phil, Top Hats & the Weather


UPDATE: Phil was named the Honorary Coin Tosser for the 2017 Puppy Bowl! Phil and his friends looked pretty chill and happy to be there. Great job Phil!

For those who are curious about the coin toss, it was tails.

Groundhog being held aloft by man in top hat

Phil and Friend

Punxsutawney Phil is a local legend where I come from. Punxsutawney, Pennsylvania is in the local television market, so we get live updates from Gobbler’s Nob. They even break into national programming to bring Phil, his friends, and the prediction as it happens. I’ve known a lot of people who spend February 2nd in the freezing cold waiting for the rodent to get drug out of his little temporary home. There may be large amounts of alcohol involved as well. I’ve never been there so I won’t incriminate those who’d like to remain innocent, or can’t remember for sure that they were there.

Guys in top hats with Punxsy Phil

Phil and his Inner Circle

Just in case you’ve been living under a rock, Punxsutawney Phil is the name used by a long line of groundhogs who live a pampered life in the Punxsutawney Library. In exchange for the luxurious room and board “Phil” puts up with people tapping on the window to his enclosure, conjugal visits from his “wife” Phyllis, makes public appearances throughout the year with a group of guys in top hats, and in the early morning hours of February 2nd every year he gets pulled out of a lovely heated manmade tree stump, held up in front of a screaming mass of people and bright lights in order for a guy in a top hat with an old stick to “talk” groundhog-ease with him and tell the world whether the furry little guy has seen his shadow.

groundhog20day20livestreamI don’t have anything against Phil. I mean he was great in Bill Murray’s movie. He’s a local hero for Pete’s sake! I just feel bad for the poor guy. Obviously, he is not a morning person…er…groundhog. I mean the Inner Circle has to wear heavy gloves on February 2nd because Phil has taken a chunk out of the hand or more than one of them. They usually have a hard time getting him out of the nice warm, dark burrow that they put him in on the stage. He usually glares at the camera when they pull him out. Put it all together and I would say Phil is not all that happy when sunrise rolls around.

29906170001_5307778419001_5307762324001-vsThis year Dear Old Phil saw his shadow, which means we can expect 6 more weeks of winter. If he doesn’t see his shadow spring is supposed to be right around the corner. People have questioned his accuracy over the years. He’s a groundhog. It’s not like the guy’s in the library window studying weather maps. What do you expect?

Here’s my take on Punxsutawney Phil – if he sees his shadow it means six more weeks of winter. If he doesn’t see his shadow, spring will be in six weeks. Which is probably a more accurate description of what happens.

2016-02-02t14-02-14-133z-1280x720-today-vid-canonical-featured-desktopOf course, where I lived growing up we had Phil’s cousin – Tire Hill Ted. He usually contradicted Phil out of spite. I’m not going to guess at the family dynamics, I just hope that in today’s political climate the two can put aside their differences and find agreement on travel restrictions for groundhogs.

Whether we get six more weeks of winter or spring arrives in six weeks, we all know one thing for sure – Punxsutawney Phil is best weather rodent in the world.