Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Reporting Live from Gobbler's Knob...

It's a "bucket list" item for sure. Everyone, before they die, should take time to visit the "weather capital of the world:" Punxsutawney, PA around Groundhog Day, which is exactly what I did this past weekend. A classmate of mine (Fr. Martin) and I took time off from paper writing, piled into "Sacerdos 1," and drove the four hours to West-central PA; first to visit St. Marys, PA and the "Eternal Tap" at Straub's Brewery (more on that part of the weekend later...), and then to meet up with a former classmate (Fr. Chris) in Punxsutawney. The pastor at the local parish was kind enough to let us be his guest for the weekend.

While it is true that the movie was filmed not in Punxsutawney, but in some town in Illinois, it still captures perfectly the quirky little Pennsylvania town that is home to the most famous groundhog weatherman in the world: Punxsutawney Phil. We had tickets to all the big events, including the very exclusive "Groundhog Breakfast" at the Punxsutawney Elks Club, which meant up-close encounters with the famous marmot himself. We were able to visit "Gobbler's Knob" just outside of town, where the famous prediction actually occurs. We met the "Groundhog Inner Circle" (a.k.a. "The Punxsutawney Groundhog Club" - many of whom are Catholics...) who were most generous (they dropped off a whole load of groundhog memorabilia to us at the rectory one night). It was hard not to get a little too worked up over the whole experience. I mean, who doesn't love an ill-tempered groundhog that is reluctantly pulled out of a stump once a year to make a prediction about the weather?

In the accompanying video (which is sure to go viral on Youtube...), you can detect the uncontrollable giddiness that comes with simply being in a place such as Punxsutawney, where life revolves around an animal with supposed mythologic powers. Enjoy! And by the way: Happy Groundhog Day!

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