How’s the Weather?

By Tony Moorby April 11, 2018

Maybe the Punxsutawney Groundhog Members of the Inner Circle, those strangely attired individuals who surround that pesky rodent’s hole, should fill it in and go home and think of some other PR ruse to attract folks to that small city in Pennsylvania. Seriously, it’s nothing short of astounding that they’ve been pulling this nonsense off since 1887. They must be laughing their rear ends off on their way home from Gobbler’s Knob – the very name of the place conjures up images that offend.

This year, along with many other years, the groundhog lied through his ugly buckteeth. Even now winter hasn’t made one grudging move of retreat and spring was supposed to have sprung over a week ago.

Not only has it been interminably, crunchingly cold, it’s been wet too. February here was the wettest on record by a considerable amount. Those poor folks in the Northeast are still digging out. March came in like a lion and looks like it will leave like a grizzly bear – not a lamb in sight. A polar bear may be more apropos than a ground hog.

It makes you wonder how such silly stories find their way into lore, after all, there was no TV then and even radio had another few years to go before its first public broadcast. Heck, there wasn’t even Facebook! How did the local Gobbler’s Knob Gazette decide that this most unlikely of connections – a yawning, bleary-eyed woodchuck, roughly roused from comfy hibernation and the certainty of the sooner or later onset of spring – had anything to do with one another? The local mayor must have been one hell of a good snake oil salesman.

Frosts and freezes have played havoc with this year’s spring blooms for those that go early; Magnolias like purple and white cups and saucers were on display for only a couple of days before browning and dropping. Bradford Pears, those prettiest of bastard hybrids were scorched in their prime.

Maybe someone should whisper something about global warming in Punxsutawney Phil’s ear! I’ll bet The Farmers’ Almanac could do a better job of predicting our weather, or silk worms. Maybe grandma’s bed socks. Who knows? But that’s the whole point really – no one.

In general, the weather people do a pretty good job these days with all their technology. Up to ten days out, they’re quite reliable but the change of seasons predicted by some Pennsylvanian prognosticating ground pig is a distinct take on.

Perhaps each state should have its own mammalian medium. Here in Tennessee we could have Rocky Top Raccoon gazing off into the distance through the Smoky Mountain haze, while Alabama gets a possum from Pelham, opining from the suburbs of Birmingham – “you tell ‘em, Pelham!”

How about Austin Arnold, the Armadillo in Texas who can predict when it’s warm enough to cross a road. Florida gets a gator for a gazer, making a snappy job of reptilian rumormongering.

Enough! The more you can make up, the more absurd the whole thing becomes. But talking about weather that’s either just been or is about to be, has captivated man forever. I can see a cave man licking his finger and sticking it out the mouth of the cave to feel the temperature and pace of the wind before deciding whether to take down another Wooly Mammoth

If you think Brits talk about nothing but the weather, they don’t. They assume it’s going to rain and are pleasantly surprised if it doesn’t.

When I first came over here and spoke on the phone to folks all over the country, the universal introduction was always about the weather. I thought, ‘Wow, these people are more paranoid than we are’.

Yes, paranoid enough to give credence to some grumpy, myopic mammal that just wants to be left alone in bed for the duration.

 

Last modified on Wednesday, 11 April 2018 20:34