Thursday, February 16, 2023

An Early Spring? or Six More Weeks of Winter? - History of Groundhog Day


According to legend, the actions of a certain groundhog on February 2nd determines the arrival of spring every year. If it's cloudy when the groundhog emerges from its underground habitat, spring will arrive early. However, if it is sunny and he spies his shadow and burrows back into the ground, winter will continue for six more weeks.

So, how did it begin?

Groundhog Day has its roots in the Christian tradition of Candlemas, when clergy would bless and distribute candles needed for winter. The candles represented how long and cold the winter would be. Germans expanded on this concept by selecting an animal--the hedgehog--as a means of predicting weather. Once they came to America and settled in Pennsylvania, Germans continued the tradition. However, they switched from hedgehogs to groundhogs, which were plentiful in the Keystone State.

The first documented American reference to Groundhog Day was found in a diary entry, dated February 4, 1841, by Morgantown, Pennsylvania storekeeper, James Morris:

"Last Tuesday, the 2nd was Candleman day, the day on which, according to the Germans, the Groundhog peeps out of his winter quarters and if he sees his shadow, he pops back for another six weeks nap but if the day be cloudy, he remains out as the weather is to be moderate."

Groundhog Day was adopted in the U.S. in 1887. Clymer Freas, a newspaper editor belonging to a group of groundhog hunters called the Punxsutawney Groundhog Club, declared that Phil, the Punxsutawney groundhog was America's only true weather-forecasting groundhog. Phil has gained quite a following in recent years, thanks to the movie Groundhog Day, and many more make the annual trek to Punxsutawney to join in the fun.

There is no scientific evidence to support Phil's knowledge of weather predictability, nor does he understand what the fuss is about. Personally, I don't believe in a prediction from a rodent. As a native New Englander, weather in the tundra is a fickle woman, indeed. January could see spring-like temperatures while a snowstorm in May (I kid you not!) is always a real possibility.


Coming April 26th

She was branded as a traitor to the Union.
He was her sworn enemy.
A marriage of convenience would be perilous…wouldn’t it?
In the summer of 1864 in Roswell, Georgia, widow Sofie Bishop struggles to manage the small family vineyard on her own. The War Between the States took her husband and her way of life. Now, with her home in ruins her only option was working at the Ivy Woolen Mill. Her woes go from bad to worse when the Yankees arrive on Roswell’s doorstep.

Courteous and kind, Captain Seth Ramsey is not what Sofie expects from a Union officer. However charming he might be, she’s determined to keep her distance. Even when she finds herself branded as a traitor, arrested, and transported north to an uncertain destiny, she didn’t think she could lose much more to the Yankees.
But she was wrong.

Orphaned at the age of ten, Seth Morgan appreciated the life Aunt Lou and Uncle Tom had given him in Illinois. Though he had no interest in taking over his uncle’s business moving cargo down the Mississippi, it did fire his imagination for a far different career…as a soldier. Dedicated to his career, he’d never had time to entertain thoughts of a home and family.
But a chance encounter with a lovely, but heart-weary Sofie Bishop has him thinking otherwise. His plans to woo her takes on a sudden urgency when General Sherman orders the mill workers north to military prisons. Volunteering to accompany the women and children on the difficult and dangerous trek, he concocts a plan that would change the course of his life…and hers if only she’d agree.
Will his vow of love mend her wounded heart? Or would a marriage of convenience be the best she can offer?


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