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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.

front yard philTom: Nice statue in the front yard, by the way.

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.

chocolate philLorraine: Would you like some chocolate to munch on?

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.

It's Springtime for Phantastic Phyllis It's Springtime for Phantastic Phyllis 2Lorraine: Okay, I can drive through the McDonald’s here.

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.

Look At The ViewTom: Who is that woman posing over there? By … the groundhog?

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.

Look At The View 3 Look At The View 2Lorraine: I thought so too. But it seems to make her happy.

Tom: To each his own, I guess.

One Dollar PhilLorraine: I suppose. I need to run through the bank if you don’t mind. I’ll just use the drive through.

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.

Postcards from PhilLorraine: I need to make a quick run through the Post Office to mail these post cards.

Tom: They are pictures of a tourist groundhog … taking pictures … for a postcard.

Lorraine: Yeah. Well, they were the only ones I could find. Oh here we are. Can you wait a minute while I go mail the Post Cards and get a few stamps?Philatelic Phil

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.

Mail Marmot PhilLorraine: No, the Mail Marmot is across town at the new Post Office. Be right back.

Tom gets out of the car and wanders around in search of something to shoot. And he sees the centerpiece of the local plaza.

downtown philTom: I found something to take a picture of over there. It’s a small statue … of a groundhog.

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.

The Wizard of WeatherTom: And they do this … why?

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?

A Philnomenal Place A Philnomenal Place 2Tom: (seeing yet another statue) Um … sure … let’s go.

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.

gk1 gk2 gk3 gk4

Tom: What is that over there?

metal philLorraine: Over there? Oh it’s a project that the students from the metal arts department did a few years ago it’s a statue they welded … of …

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.

dental philTom: Nothing unusual is jumping out at me yet.

Lorraine: Why don’t I drop you off here in the center of town while I run over there to the dentist?

Tom: Fine.

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.

Freedom PhilFireman PhilFireman Phil 2

Lorraine: I’m back! Did you see anything unusual around town while I was gone?

Ponksutenink PhilTom: 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 …

Ponksutenink Phil 2Tom: … groundhog.

Lorraine: Yes … groundhog. I’m detecting a little irreverence on your part here. This is what we are known for after all.

Tom: Groundhogs.

Lorraine: Yes, Groundhogs.

At this point Tom decided that maybe he needed to check into a hotel for the evening.

Phil'd With ServiceTom: Any recommendations?

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.

Get Your Phil of RosesTom, on the other hand felt a little badly about how he had reacted to all the groundhogs … and went up the street to buy Lorraine some flowers.

At the florist. With the groundhog in front. Of course.

Philtuminous The Heritage Hog 2 Philtuminous The Heritage HogThe next morning, Tom and Lorraine met at a small gazebo next to … another groundhog.

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.

The Spirit of PunxsutawneyLorraine: I was thinking we could do some more driving around today. Maybe something will jump out at you. We could always go over to the newspaper. They might have some ideas.

And off they drove toward the only paper in town which had … a groundhog in front.

Through the Eyes of Pizzaria PhilTom: Well, I am getting a little hungry. Last night I went to a pizza place. That was great.

Lorraine: Did you want to get some more pizza for lunch today?

gimmicks Breakfast Sounds GoodTom: No, actually I am a big fan of breakfast … any time of the day. Is there a good breakfast place in town somewhere? Maybe we can get something and take it back to your place.

Lorraine: Actually there is. Lets go.

And off they started toward the restaurant to get some take-out breakfast.

There's Work to be Done 2 There's Work to be DoneLorraine: Do you mind if I just drop you off here at my place for a minute while I go out and pick up a few things at the hardware store? I’ll get the breakfast on my way back.

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.

hospital Phil Your Dreams With Butterfly WingsLorraine: You know there are a lot of other groundhogs you haven’t seen yet. There are a lot at all the schools in the area, the playground, the banks … and my favorite. The one at the hospital.

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.

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