Candles and Holes

Happy Groundhog Day yesterday! A friend wrote to remind me of a radio sketch we did back in high school which involved him as a news reporter stuck down a groundhog hole. This was three and half decades ago. I’m sure neither of us remember the punch line to the sketch.

My daughters are all about Groundhog Day. We checked the web upon waking and learned that there are six more weeks of winter. This suits Sally fine, since we are taking a family trip to Vermont this month and she needs there to be snow for sledding.

When Mabel was just a few months old, she was part of a road trip to a friend’s wedding in Pittsburgh. We stopped in Punxatawney, PA, for dinner. The main recollection of the place is having  to special-order vegetarian food at a Chinese restaurant. All is groundhogs and carnivores in Punxatawney, PA.

A New Haven-based kids-entertainer we admire, Les Julian, has a Groundhog Day anthem, titled “Punxatawney Phil,” on his 2009 album Good Things Happen:


The groundhog whispers in the emcee’s ear

As everybody strains to hear

Tophat nods and shouts the news

“Six more weeks of winter blues!”


Happy St. Blaise Day today! This is a remembrance my wife vividly recalls from her Catholic youth, when throats are blessed by making a makeshift crucifix with candles in front of believers’ necks. Does this help ward away vampires, having blessed necks? I researching the martyr St. Blaise last night, I was pleased to discover a long British tradition of bonfires in his name, which has no direct relevance to his life and works but is based upon a pun on his name: “Blaze.”