It's easy to spot a Canadian groundhog in February . . . [Image submitted]

It’s easy to spot a Canadian groundhog in February . . . [Image submitted]

Thirty below again this morning.  Celsius or Fahrenheit, it matters not, because it’s still damn cold.

We’re on a streak.  It’s been a week of thirty below in the mornings.

And another thing.  I haven’t seen a groundhog yet, so the rumours are true.  They are engaging in what the unions call a strike.  You know, what the teachers call a withdrawal of services, and what the civil service calls a normal day.

I knew it was coming.  I didn’t even try very hard on February 2nd, the official Groundhog Day, to spot a groundhog.  I just knew they’d be underground.  I can safely say that in the month of February, so far, I have not spotted a single groundhog, on cloudy days or sunny days, nor do I expect to sight one.  They are, my friends, on strike.

How do I know this?  Because I have the minutes of their meeting.  You know, the meeting held on August 2nd, last year.  It was sort of a spontaneous, grass-roots kind of thing.  And if anybody knows about grass roots, it’s groundhogs.  You can take that to the word bank.

If you walk around with your eyes closed and your earholes plugged, you probably missed it.  I can, however, provide you with some excerpts:

BE IT RESOLVED [says one motion] that we groundhogs will no longer tamely and unprotestingly submit to being poked and prodded during our annual hibernation.

And another one:

BE IT RESOLVED that we groundhogs contact our fellow marmots that have nested in this our native soil before the recent immigration of that horde of pokers and prodders, and we offer to join paws in solidarity, and touch incisors in friendship.

And BE IT RESOLVED that we marmots shall not budge from our burrows on any day during the Canadian winter, be it cloudy or sunny, unless we each, personally, get some quid pro quo.  Kodiak boots, wooly mufflers, and goose-down parkas come to mind.

And BE IT RESOLVED that for the purposes of these declarations of independence, a Canadian winter be defined as any month in the calendar with the letter A or E in it.

Well, my friends, the declarations have been published to the underground.  You will recall some of the more celebrated rodents on the groundhog circuit:  Punxsutawney Phil, and Wiarton Willie, and Shubenacadie Sam (Pronounced just the way it is written: SS – AM).

Well, sad to say, but there are members of the beautiful marmot race who are scabs.  Yes, scabs.  Ugly encrustations on the bleeding wounds of groundhog freedom.  Phil and Willie and Sam (pronounced SS – AM) have turned down the opportunity to support their fellow marmots. 

Which is understandable.  Those weasels get only thirty days of winter, if they are lucky.  Some of them, maybe even all of them, poke their snouts out of their burrows VOLUNTARILY on the coldest day, which may be minus three or thereabouts.  Just to enjoy the scent of apple blossoms and the aroma of a Tim Hortons cappuchino.

Understandable.  But deplorable.

So, I’m telling you, if you want to see a groundhog before next July (Note the absence of As and Es) in this part of the country, where we get real winters, you will have to show groundhogs some real respect.

Most of them, I understand, now accept credit cards.  Along with freedom, they get credit ratings.

Think Marks Work Wear House, and Penningtons, and Walmart.

82b Groundhog&July


About EJ Lavoie

Writer and independent publisher with website
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