Our story today begins in a small remote town in Pennsylvania … Punxsutawney. It used to be charming … classy … the best kept secret in the state. It’s a little different now.
Tom, a post-middle-aged retired professional has taken up photography and is looking for bridges … in hopes to take pictures of them as a freelance photographer and sell them to someone.
But all he can see is Groundhogs.
Enter Lorraine … a woman who reminds Tom of somebody from his past … and who becomes his accomplice in literary crime.
Tom: There is something about you that rings a bell. Can’t quite put my finger on it … but it is something good. Would you mind helping me get some pictures here in town?
Lorraine: I was just going to have some iced tea and split the atom, but that can wait.
Lorraine: Thanks … I thought it was unique.
The dynamic duo set off to see what might work as interesting shots around town.
Lorraine: Why don’t I just drive around a bit, and you can let me know when you see something you want a shot of.
Tom: That sounds like a plan. I’m looking for some bridges. I think it would make a great book.
Tom: Sure … Hey … it’s … a groundhog.
Lorraine: Oh. So it is. Hadn’t noticed.
Tom: I could really go for a cup of coffee.
Tom: It’s … another groundhog.
Lorraine: Wow. It sure is.
Tom: Good coffee.
Lorraine: Well, I have a few errands to run … but keep your eyes open and I’m sure you will see something to shoot.
Lorraine: Oh. Her. She is some blogger who looks for things to be happy about each day or something. Then she writes about it.
Tom: Well, that’s a dumb premise for a blog.
Tom: To each his own, I guess.
Tom: What the … there’s another groundhog.
Lorraine: One Dollar Phil? Well, now that you mention it I guess he is a groundhog at that.
Tom: They are pictures of a tourist groundhog … taking pictures … for a postcard.
Tom: Sure. Hey … is that a groundhog dressed up as a Mail Carrier over there?
Lorraine: Uh. Yeah, I guess it is.
Tom: (in a feeble attempt at humor) Well at least it’s not a Mail Marmot.
Tom gets out of the car and wanders around in search of something to shoot. And he sees the centerpiece of the local plaza.
Lorraine: Nice shot.
Tom: What’s with all the groundhogs?
Lorraine: Well once a year, on February 2nd people show up from all over to see if a groundhog can see his shadow.
Lorraine: So they can know whether winter is going to go on for another six weeks or so. We even have a Weather Museum here … let me drive by for you.
Tom: There’s … another groundhog.
Lorraine: Would you like to see where they do the whole groundhog thing?
Lorraine: (before he can ask) Yes that’s a groundhog too. He’s in front of the Real Estate office to let folks know what a A Philnomenal Place this is.
Tom: Um. Right.
Lorraine: Let’s take a quick run to Gobbler’s Knob?
Tom: Gobbler’s … what?
Lorraine: The shadow … the groundhog … February 2nd … the place?
Tom: Oh, OK.
Tom: What is that over there?
Tom: A groundhog.
Lorraine: Do I sense a little sarcasm there?
Tom: No. Not at all. What makes you think that?
Lorraine: I have to make a quick run to the dentist to make an appointment for a cleaning.
Tom: Lead on. I’m not seeing any bridges, though.
Lorraine: Well, keep your eyes open … I’m sure you’ll see something unique around here to take pictures of.
Lorraine: Why don’t I drop you off here in the center of town while I run over there to the dentist?
At this point Tom starts mumbling to himself as he sees … another groundhog or two. This time it’s a Firefighter Groundhog outside the Fire Station … and Liberty Groundhog outside of City Hall.
Lorraine: I’m back! Did you see anything unusual around town while I was gone?
Tom: Nope. Not a thing. Where did the name Punxsutawney come from in the first place?
Lorraine: Well, it is from the word Ponksutenink … a native American word for sand flies … and “town of the ponkies” became Punxsutawney. It’s all explained here on this …
Lorraine: Yes … groundhog. I’m detecting a little irreverence on your part here. This is what we are known for after all.
Lorraine: Yes, Groundhogs.
At this point Tom decided that maybe he needed to check into a hotel for the evening.
Lorraine: Sure … there is a classic old hotel in town here. The Pantall.
Tom: Is that a … never mind. I’ll catch up with you tomorrow morning.
And Lorraine went home to get ready for the next day.
At the florist. With the groundhog in front. Of course.
This one was of a coal miner. One of the many industries of the area.
Tom: Here, Lorraine … these flowers are for you. I wanted to thank you for running me around yesterday looking for … bridges.
Lorraine: I guess we are not having much luck with that, are we?
Tom: No, but I am having a lot of fun.
And off they drove toward the only paper in town which had … a groundhog in front.
Lorraine: Did you want to get some more pizza for lunch today?
Lorraine: Actually there is. Lets go.
And off they started toward the restaurant to get some take-out breakfast.
Tom: Sure. I can find something to keep me busy while you are gone.
A short while later, Lorraine returned with breakfast … and a small gift for Tom. A silver charm he wore around his neck … of a groundhog.
Lorraine: So, do you want more eggs or should we just look at pictures on the linoleum one last time? By the way, thanks for cleaning the floor for me while I was out.
Tom: No problem. The pictures are more fun to look at on a clean floor anyway.
Lorraine: I am sorry we never got any pictures of bridges for you.
Tom: The old dreams were good dreams; they didn’t work out, but I am glad I had them.
Tom: You mean?
Lorraine: Yes … Phallic Phil. Although they say it’s all about a butterfly …
Tom: You could have fooled me.
Lorraine: I will never forget you.
Tom: And I will never forget you … and the groundhogs.
The Groundhogs of Jefferson County.