An assembly of warmly-clad townsfolk hovered around the snow covered grounds at Mayor Al the Groundhog’s hole this morning, like giddy birds of prey anxiously awaiting the emergence of their dinner.
It has been the annual custom for 48 years now that on this day, February 2, Mayor Al is scheduled to come out of his hibernation, exit his luxury burrow and return to office. If it should happen to be sunny however (and it is today) there is a danger that Al might be frightened back into his hole by his own shadow, portending an additional six weeks of winter weather and political freeze.
Shortly after 11a.m, finally, one tiny gloved furry appendage poked out of the darkness and gripped the side of the hole, followed, slowly, by a second one.
Members of the crowd exchanged knowing smiles. Al always liked to make a big show of it, stretching the suspense and anticipation for drama. But then a third gloved appendage rose from the darkness and placed itself next to the other two, gripping the side of the hole, followed by a fourth, fifth, sixth, seventh…and eighth!
Everyone recoiled apprehensively, took a step back. This time, the exchanged glances were of alarm.
The tiny limbs tightened, shivered slightly, then out sprang a fat black furry spider!
As startled by the townsfolk as they were by him, the spider began to run in wild panicked circles around the hole like a ricocheting bullet of fur.
The panic was contagious. Screams erupted, arms flailed, children and poodles were swept up and everyone ran for their lives. One voice could be heard over the rest repeatedly screaming “It’s eaten our Mayor! It’s eaten our Al!”
By the time Al finally did poke his head out of his hole into the bright morning air (five minutes later), there was no one to be seen except the still circling – and still quite panicked – spider.
“I’m telling you Jimmy,” Al said with a yawn, addressing the spider. “You’re always welcome to drop in for coffee, you know that. But Jimmy, you’ve got to slow down, you always drink far too much too fast. You’re way too wired!”
Distracted and amused by little jittery Jimmy, Al did not notice his own shadow, nor did he even recall that it was Groundhog day. Could that mean winter weather is over?
Happy Groundhog Day from all of us in Wowtown,
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