Phil’s alarm went off before dawn. He distinctly remembers not setting it. Momma groundhog strikes again. He buries his head under his pillow. The alarm shouts again as his little brother, Joe, comes bursting around the corner into Phil’s nook of their hollowed underground home.
“Today’s your day!” The smaller rodent pounces on his brother.
“Come on Phil, isn’t it a blast to have the whole country waiting to see what you’re going to do?” Crawling closer to Phil’s ear he whispered, “What are you going to do? Will you see your shadow, or not?”
Phil moans and pushes his little brother away. Just as he’s about to dose back to sleep, instead of the alarm the shrill song of his mother jolted him awake. “Philly! It’s Groundhog Day.” His mother showed up with his bow tie.
“Seriously mom? A tie?”
“Philly, this is our family’s legacy. We come from a long line of #Punxsutawney groundhogs. Your cousins over in Harrisburg think they’re big stuff because they were around for the big war. Ha! It’s our line that has always held the honor of predicting spring’s arrival. People like that and get so excited. Every year. Your father, grandfather, great grand…”
“I get it, the men in our family had nothing to do on February 2nd but humor the humans up top. So, they joined the winter festival and became the star of the show.” Phil rolled out of bed, scratching behind his ear. “How did I get so lucky?”
“If Phil doesn’t want to do it, I’ll go, I can look for my shadow.” Phil’s brother bounced around with the bow tie.”
“No, no, it’s always the eldest son.” Mama said. “Come with me Joe to finish Phil’s breakfast, we want him to be bright and sunny today!”
His brother and mom scurried away. Phil sat on the side of his bed and scratched again. He stood and strapped the tie around his neck. What will I do this morning? It’s been a pretty long winter, maybe it is time for a little hope that spring is coming.
Phil finished his breakfast and licked his snout. “Oh Philly, you look so handsome. Every year you do our family proud.” She sniffed back a mother groundhog tear, “your father would be so proud to see you carrying on the family tradition.”
Phil’s shoulders softened as he leaned into his mother’s warm coat. He did miss his father. And it really didn’t take long to go out, hear the cheers and the declaration read from the man in the tall hat.
“Thanks for reminding me mom. I’ll do the family proud.” His mother opened the thatch door and scooted Phil out. Drawing back inside, she heard the muffled cheer of the #Punxsutawney people.