Tuesday, February 2, 2016

Local Rodent Facsimile Refuses to View Shadow

I hope you rose and shone this morning, campers! Here's your Andrews Sisters soundtrack for today's holiday post.

This morning we also played the Frankie Yankovic and Lawrence Welk versions because, as a Pennsylvanian, I'm entitled to hear to the "Pennsylvania Polka" as much as I want, which is once a year, tops.

Each year on this day, the Proper Bostonian rises early, grabs her Resident Rodent Facsimile, polkas a few steps with him, and deposits him near a window where he may observe his shadow and prognosticate about the arrival of spring.

There is an unfortunate dearth of groundhogs in the Back Bay, which is why I have to designate a substitute each February 2. We used to hold competitions for Best Rodent Facsimile but no more. It became pointless and too disappointing for the younger cats because Possum always won, having a rodent-y name and the most groundhoggy shape and disposition of the five cats. He works hard to maintain that flabby, pear-shaped silhouette all year, so how could we deny him this annual honor? Last year the other cats inducted him into their new Groundhog Facsimile Hall of Fame.

The Resident Groundhog Facsimile was uncooperative and refused to view his shadow.

The Groundhog Facsimile then fled the window and took out his
frustrations on the Turbo Star Chaser scratching mat.

Afterward, he curled up for a restorative bath and nap.

I hope he's forgiven us again this year.

Possum has a tradition of being very cranky about seeing his shadow, but groundhogs aren't exactly sunny, pliable creatures, either. It further proves that he's a natural as the Resident Rodent Facsimile.

This year, he rendered no decision about the arrival of spring. He was even more annoyed and cantankerous than usual during the polka steps. Then he sat squinting and squirming in the window, refusing to discuss the visibility of his shadow. A few seconds later, he fled.

So we reached no verdict due to a technicality: WE saw his shadow but he's not saying if HE saw it. And I believe it's only the groundhog's view that counts. If the groundhog stubbornly points his long white snout and pink little nose up in the air and keeps his eyes mostly closed, it's an ambiguous situation. So we got nothin' this year.

But consider this: we had spring yesterday, when it was in the 60s. We could wear sandals on Christmas Eve. Spring comes and goes all the time these days, seemingly on a whim. So who cares what our Rodent says?

On that note, I wish you, on behalf of all of us here — feline, human, and quasi-rodent — a Happy Groundhog Day and a long and lustrous winter tax season.


  1. It's been a very confusing winter this year. I can't wrap my mind around it being February as the weather is more a November-y sort of feel. What kind of winter has the sandals still in the hall and the winter boots still in the closet? It feels like some sort of prank, especially after last winter. Like it's going to snow for the entire month of March, just when we stop holding our breath.

    1. Our coat rack is exploding with everything from cotton jackets to our heaviest shearling. Let me know when you're going to be in my 'hood and have some time!

  2. from your fellow Pennsylvanian, this has been a confusing season. Not sure what exactly we will be escaping when we head west for a couple of weeks. Happy whatever!

  3. I think it is because your local rodent facsimile things you shouldn't attempt to prognosticate the future. He is probably smart enough to know it isn't a good thing.

  4. On a very tangential note (B flat), here is a link to a story that only a royal relative of the Norwegian Forest Cat family could have pulled off.... http://www.nbcnews.com/news/world/clive-cat-missing-year-found-fat-happy-pet-food-warehouse-n511711


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