Groundhog Stew

groundhogWell – I almost made it through winter without getting sick, but the germs finally got me.  Maybe I let my guard down.  I may have become overly optimistic when our state rodent, Punxsutawney Phil, predicted winter would end on March 16th.  Then again, leaving a relatively temperate Pennsylvania for a few days over President’s Day Weekend only to return home to a scene from Dr. Zhivago probably didn’t do great things for my sinuses.  I ended up at the doctor’s office first thing President’s Day morning.  Sitting home sick for the rest of that day, I found myself actually succumbing to the “warm side”.  I spent the frigid afternoon surfing the internet looking at pictures of Airstream Trailers parked on Arizona real estate.

I could have endured the record cold better if I stopped listening to the wind chill component of the weather forecasts.  Why don’t they include the wind chill when giving the forecast during the summer?  Working outside in August, if I were to hear “A high of 90 degrees today, but a 20 mile per hour westerly wind will give us a comfortable wind chill of 75 degrees” that would certainly make me feel better.  I tromped through the rest of that cold week, my only consolations for the arctic weather being the seed and swimsuit catalogues I delivered.  I faithfully took my prescription and dressed in enough clothing for four people.  I looked like Ralphie’s little brother from the “Christmas Story” movie.   I began to wonder why we let groundhogs predict our weather.

March 16th came to pass, and I was sick again.  This couldn’t be happening; not on the day the rodent said winter would end!  I had seeds to plant and bicycles to get out of the shed; porch furniture to clean and BBQ grills to prepare.  I couldn’t be sick!  But the rodent was right – warmth, beautiful warmth had returned.  Hail to the groundhog; all was forgiven.  I would never doubt again. Phil had rescued me from this horrid winter. On that one 65 degree day of spring, I was actually able to spend some healing time sitting in my Adirondack chair in the sun.  Birds were singing, baseball was being played in Florida and Arizona and all was well except me; spring had sprung!

I must have been too sick to see the insidious plot unfolding.  Winter was not completely gone!  Just like when I used to drive the icebreaker through the harbors, clearing away winter’s glass; more ice remained under the piers waiting for us to move on so it could retake lost ground.  Winter must’ve been lurking – hiding in the moss on the dark, north sides of trees and under covered boats.  The cold returned and my celebration of all things spring came to a screeching halt. Curse you winter (except for your mosquito killing capabilities).

I always try to look for a silver lining, even when that lining is mercury.  While it remains cold outside, I’m wearing my blanket lined denim shirt-jack over a turtleneck and I feel comfortably warm.  I’ve been eating lots of hot soup and consuming large quantities of therapeutic Netflix shows like Ken Burns’ “Baseball” and old episodes of National Geo Channels’ Rocket City Rednecks (which my daughter loves BTW).  While waiting for my bronchial tubes to return to normal, I even caught some gardening and cooking shows.  I’m going to have to see if they archived any shows about making groundhog stew.

© 2015 Curt Savage Media

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