Interview With A Groundhog

groundhogAs you may know, on Groundhog’s Day our esteemed weather forecaster Punxsutawney Phil did NOT see his shadow and so predicts an early spring.When I heard this news, the thermometer at the Palatial Horvath Estate had not yet topped twenty degrees.  I wondered if perhaps Phil was insane.  I wondered if I’d misheard and/or misunderstood.Then I had a thought.  It took me a moment to recognize it, but a thought it undoubtedly was.  What, I thought, what if Phil is not the only member of the subspecies Marmota monax with the ability to predict the weather?

This opened up some intriguing possibilities.  I decided the only way to be sure was to go talk to the groundhog living under the shed in my backyard.  Perhaps, I thought, he would be able to confirm or disprove Phil’s meteorological observations.  Following is a transcription of our interview.


Hello, Mr. Groundhog.


What is your name?

I’m Pennsylvania Paul.

Pennsylvania Paul?

I don’t specialize by region.

Uh huh.  I wonder if you happen to know Punxsutawney Phil?

Fifth cousin.

I just heard that he predicted an early spring.

Yeah, me too.  *snorts*  Loser

Ah hah! Vindication!  Are you telling the readers here at Betsy’s Blog–


Shut up.  Are you telling us that do NOT agree?  Are you telling us you feel Phil is WRONG?

I’m telling you that’s not what my computer model shows.

Oh.  You, uh, use a computer model?  Not your…shadow?

For God’s sake.  It’s the twenty-first century.  That shadow thing is soooo 1700’s.

But where do you have a computer?

Where do you think?  Under the shed.

Wait!  Under MY shed?


How big is that hole anyway?

I don’t think you want to know.

Okay, okay.  *shakes head*  But, Mr. Groundhog–

Call me P.P.

Very well, P. P.  If you disagree with Punxsutawney Phil, perhaps you would give us your own forecast.  Exactly when, P. P., do you think that Spring will come?

Oh, that’s easy.  March 21st.

March 21st?

Sure.  Spring equinox.  Happens every year.

But the weather, P. P.  What about the weather?

I’m thinking it will be be cold for another month or so.  Then it will get warmer.

There you have it folks!  Straight from the mouth of the groundhog living under my shed.  Spring will come on March 21st after it has been cold for another month or so.  Thank you so much, Pennsylvania Paul.

No problem.  Are we done here?  I’ve got to go pull apart some trash bags before I track that Nor’ easter coming in off the coast.

We’re finished and thank you.  Just, um, stay out of my trash.






  1. Valerie Eichlin says

    Hey Betsy! You did not forget about Punxatawny’s southern rival, General Beauregard Lee? From the years 1990 to 2004, when I lived in the metro Atlanta area, I noticed that our southern ground hog would (almost without fail) predict the exact opposite forecast for these next six weeks. I think he was more than a little ornery towards Punxatawny Phil. General Lee has never forgotten the bitter battle against the North. How different Bill Murray’s movie would have been if “Ground Hog Day” was filmed in the South!

    • Betsy Horvath says

      @Valerie Eichlin: Why Val, I did not even KNOW about General Beauregard Lee! This just confirms my experience with Pennsylvania Paul – ALL groundhogs can predict the weather! Maybe that’s where some of the weather forecasters on television get their information…hmmm….

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