05 February 2013


Groundhog Day, a tradition dating back to the 1800s and a true holiday only to those in Punxsutawney, Pennsylvania, is Paul’s favorite holiday. It is a holiday that celebrates a stupid American tradition in a scheme that just doesn’t make sense. On February 2 every year, people pull a groundhog, most famously Punxsutawney Phil, out into the world. Folklore says that if the weather is sunny, the groundhog, in nature, of course, will turn around and head back into his hole in the ground, meaning Americans should expect six more weeks of winter. If the weather is cloudy, however, and no shadow can be seen, the groundhog will stay outside for a bit, indicating spring is near.

Is the groundhog’s prediction accurate? No. The record of correct predictions stands around 30 to 40 percent. Does that stop people from celebrating and parading and pulling a groundhog out of the ground in front of a million camera phones? No.

So why is it Paul’s favorite holiday? The answer is: nothing. Other than the brief news excitement in the morning, nothing else happens. There are no celebrations in homes across the country. There are no gifts to be bought, no people to see, no decorations or celebratory foods to be ingested (again, unless you are from Pennsylvania). It is a holiday about nothing…kind of like Seinfeld.

Though Paul loves the holiday, he never seems to remember when it happens. This is where I come in.

I had been planning a special date day for weeks, knowing that Paul would be home and completely clueless. My plan was to give Paul everything he would ever want in a day, beginning with a locked door. When he arrived home from a trip Friday night, I told him to lock the door and not open it ‘til Sunday. That didn’t happen exactly as planned, but here’s what did…

Too excited to sleep well, I was up and down most of the night, wishing I could sleep and waiting for Paul to also be as awake as I was. When he finally moved – and by moved I mean turned over and blinked his eyes a few times – I grabbed my phone to pull up a clip from the first alarm scene from the epic namesake Groundhog Day movie starring Bill Murray and Andie MacDowell.

“I Got You Babe” started playing and, within five seconds, Paul turned his head around, popped up from the pillow, a smile emerged across his face, excitement was present in his eyes and he exclaimed, “Oh yeah, it’s Groundhog Day!” And then he laughed.

I made pancakes and eggs for breakfast and then we chilled for a short while. The next thing I knew, Paul was telling me that we would be leaving the house in 20 minutes to run an errand for a friend. “Hello…we’re not supposed to be leaving the house today,” I yelled back. “I know but it’s one little thing and this guy has helped me out so many times before.” So, during the time that I had blocked to watch one of Paul’s top-five favorite movies, Master and Commander, we left.

We ran the errand and had a walk in the process, so it wasn’t a bad morning – just a hot one. By the time we got back, Paul was screaming for food. We had lunch, chilled for a bit and then took a nap. After the nap, I was forced into the kitchen because Paul has become the food nazi but that’s another story.

We did watch the epic Groundhog Day classic and Paul loved every minute of it. “I want to see more days,” he said. “Like all of the conversations he had with the people in the diner.”

In the end, we accomplished most of what I had planned: we ate pancakes and pizza, we watched the movie, I surprised him with the wake-up clip – it was a good day. 

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