Growing up the daughter of an Army officer, we moved every 1-3 years for much of my childhood. Most vacations were spent visiting family, resulting in summer trips to Punxsutawney.
I think Punxy is where my affection for small towns began. Although my visits were only occasional, if I was with Joe and Mary Jordan, everyone knew who I was. From the workers in their store – The Jordan Store, to the waitress at Ruth and Harry’s, to the ladies a the Presbyterian Church, to the clerk in the stationary store, the town always felt like family even though I never lived there.
When Groundhog Day comes around, I feel a bit nostalgic of my birth town. I remember my grandparents; playing in their store; listening to my grandmother play the piano or church organ; going to the penny candy store and the DQ with my grandfather; listening to summer concerts at the bandstand. I remember walks up Woodland Avenue to Gobbler’s Knob picking berries along the way. Seeing Punxy Phil in the town parade was quite the thing for a little kid. I even have the requisite Punxy Phil weather books, stuffed animals, commemorative garden stepping-stone, and a poster (circa 1970) I’ve been hanging on to.
Now that I live in Maine, it makes me quite happy to know that Punxsutawney Phil is predicting an early spring considering the Farmer’s Almanac predicted a bad winter.
I was surprised when this little guy visited my porch the other summer. I snapped a picture and sent it to my dad. He was a bit horrified that I had to ask, “Is this a groundhog?”