Lisa Gervais: On groundhogs and chicken little
|By Lisa Gervais - Editor | February 8 2018|
It was with shock and consternation that I watched the livestream of Groundhog Day 2018 from Wiarton, On. last Friday. Not because “the prince of prognostication,” as he was deemed, allegedly declared six more weeks of winter ... but the manner in which the whole livestream unfolded.
There were fireworks, live music and dancing and South Bruce Peninsula Mayor Janice Jackson and town criers, Bruce and McGregor, dressed up in some strange gear.
It was the 62nd annual Groundhog Day but this particular Willie’s debut. He’s a three-year-old albino pug-nosed groundhog found on a farm in Oro-Medonte a few years ago. His predecessor died in September at the ripe old groundhog age of 13.
In the lead-up to the day, Mayor Jackson was quoted as saying, and I’m not kidding, “he is an excitable little guy. He is much younger and more rambunctious and I am thinking he is going to be an awful lot of fun.”
Well, they piped Wee Willie in. He was encased in a glass enclosure not much bigger than himself. There was a lot of noise. And, Willie wasn’t moving. In fact, I don’t believe I saw Willie move during the entire “performance.”
After a 3-2-1 countdown, Jackson leaned down to the tank to listen to “the young king of perfect predictions” supposedly tell her six more weeks of winter.
Is it just me? Why did I have a vision of a somewhat free-range Willie popping out of his hole and either seeing his shadow or not and then being sent back to his comfortable lodgings to eat and sleep for the next 364 days? I had visions of PETA (People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals) rushing the stage.
But, hey, it’s a fun Canadian tradition, so who am I to judge? Besides, scientific studies show groundhog predictions to have a success rate of around 37 per cent.
Which leads me to chicken little.
All joking aside, Willie’s prediction is a good or bad thing depending on what business you operate in Haliburton County and how soon you want the cottagers to return.
We are into early February and those businesses that are not so reliant on winter are really starting to feel the pinch. They are getting into those lines of credit to see them through the lean days, in anticipation of spring and a return of their cottaging bread and butter.
But, the sky isn’t falling, folks. You’ve got this. You go through this every winter at this time. You begin to bite the nails and scratch the head and ask yourselves ‘why do I do this?’ But, you make it through. You always do. As the weather slowly begins to warm up and the tourists return, things will pick up. And, before you know it,
you’ll be complaining about how busy you are, working seven days a week, dreaming about post-Thanksgiving and a respite from all of that work.
Just as Groundhog Day is a tradition that will return for its 63rd year in 2019, many Haliburton County businesses, now in their traditional doom and gloom cycle of the business year, will also be back.
Lisa Gervais is the editor for The Highlander.