by Maria Schulz
Good news, everyone: a number of rodents, a.k.a. “Groundhogs,” have spoken their weird groundhog language, confirming that they did not in fact see their shadows. So we’re NOT going to have six more weeks of winter! Whew.
Unfortunately, I’m not as delighted as I expected. Even though I wake up every morning praying: “Please no more snow. PLEASE NO MORE SNOW,” I also realize that I’m about 10 years behind on my goal to weigh less so I look good in a bathing suit. If spring comes early, I’m in trouble. But then again, what good will six weeks do for me?
Despite Punxsutawney Phil’s proclamations, I know in my heart of hearts that he’s probably not telling us anything weather related. If his translator really spoke “groundhogese,” he would probably declare to the crowd:
“Phil says get lost!”
“Phil wants to know WHAT THE HELL YOU IDIOTS WANT, anyway.”
“Phil says his name is really Florence.”
“Phil says that he comes from Iowa, and no, he will NOT predict the outcome of the presidential race for you.”
“Phil thinks Donald Trump is really Staten Island Chuck in a wig.”
Whatever it is that Phil is trying to tell us, I’m afraid that my delight in learning that he was shadow-less this morning will be short-lived. No sooner will I be getting my shorts and tank tops out of the attic then there will be a raging snow-storm and I’ll have to break out the shovels again.
Yes, I’m old enough to remember that February is the month that blizzards like to call home. The fact is, you don’t even have to be that old. You could be 2 and have fond memories of being buried in snowdrifts just last year.
One of my favorite snow memories comes from high school, approximately 300 years ago. I was in the 10th grade, and for some reason, I ignored the blizzard warnings and went into school. About ¼ of the way through our day, as we all stared out the windows, we realized that it looked like we were attending school in Siberia.
Being rational folk, everyone (teachers and students alike) began to panic at the thought of being stranded in school with…each other. Eeesh, perish the thought. So we all began to gather our things and get ready to rush out into the snow.
It was sixth period, and I had stayed behind to help my English teacher, Mr. Reines, gather some of his lesson plans together before we left. He began to fret that by staying behind to help him, I had put myself in danger (the snow was really piling up) and I wouldn’t get home all right.
“I’ll drive you home,” he said to me. “It’s not safe for you to walk all that way.”
“No thanks, I’ve seen how you drive. I’m better off walking.” I replied, in the obnoxious way of the beast known as the teenager.
“Seriously, you’re going to freeze out there.”
“No, don’t worry about me. I’ll be fine. I like the snow!” (This was possibly the last time those words crossed my lips).
I waved goodbye, much the same way that Brisbane (of Little Rascals fame) waved goodbye as he said “So long, Crabby!” to Mrs. Crabtree. Mr. Reines drove off, and I walked the opposite way towards home.
I had never been out walking in the eerie quiet of a major snowstorm. It was peaceful, beautiful, and just a little bit creepy. The streets of my neighborhood were blanketed in pristine white snow. For great stretches of time, the only things I heard were the snow crunching beneath my boots and the sound of my labored breathing as I got farther away from school and yet no closer to home.
It began to occur to me that I would be home by now if I had just let my teacher do something nice for me. Instead, I might just be found in a few months frozen in a block of ice. The worst part of all? Mr. Reines would forever know that he was right and I was wrong.
Occasionally, the quiet would be shattered by a gang of screaming teenaged boys that would run by, throw snowballs at me, and latch onto the bumper of the odd passing car. But mostly, it was a pleasant walk, filled with thoughts and dreams that included dozens of inches of snow so school would be closed all week.
By the time I crossed the threshold of my house, my hands, feet, and nose were frozen solid and it took a few hours to crack the snow off my eyelashes. Still, I remember that walk fondly, even if I did look like a Yeti by the time I got home.
Did I mention that it was April? I bet that ba$t@!d Phil predicted an early spring that year too.
This recipe from Good Housekeeping slashes the fat, sodium, and calories so you can have your pot pie and eat it too…plus (maybe) fit in that bathing suit if spring ever actually arrives.
So…what’s your favorite Groundhog Day story? Do you have any fond winter or snow memories? Which comfort food recipe is your favorite? Please leave a comment and let us all know.