|HAPPY BIRTHDAY, PHYLLIS!|
GROUNDHOG'S DAY 2015 IS TODAY. Let's celebrate Susanna Leonard Hill's famous picture book character Phyllis! Bring on the chocolate cake cuz Phyllis is 10! Bring on even more chocolate goodness because I am many decades older today than furry Phyllis. You can read all about Phyllis and her famous exploits here. And there are other great poems and even videos on Susanna's site, too. While you are eating chocolate, let me tell you my short story.
My parents started a Groundhog Party tradition which lasted from 1970-1980. Holy hogs, a decade of parties! (This was the adult party, not my actual kid event.) We had homemade banners (see pic to left) and even matchbook covers that spanned the years.
My dad, an elementary school principal, even created hand-made invites. The walls were festooned w/ shadows and a banner that stated,"It's February! May the Groundhog of Happiness Leave a Valentine in Your Cherry Tree!" People brought us groundhog books, groundhog beanie babies, even a cookbook entitled THE NEW GOURMETS & GROUNDHOGS & THE SECOND HELPING by Elaine Light. ( No worries, Phyllis. There's only 1 groundhog recipe, honest.)
|Antique matchbook covers from back in "the day"|
|Home-made groundhog made by Richard Hackman, my dad.|
My father died at 68 of early-onset Alzheimers, but my family carries on our Hackman hog tradition even today. My stepdaughter Megan created a plaque of a woodchuck one year for me, and my oldest niece Lauren has started the party tradition in Chicago! Now, let us carry on and continue the celebration with a poem for Phyllis created by the children's writer and human groundhog, ME.
Ode: Recollection Upon Groundhogs, Famous and Infamous
by Kathy Halsey
We celebrate, oh noble prognosticator.
For seasons mild. We’re done with wild.
Will spring come sooner? Or maybe later?
Oh, please, remove dark winter. It’s vile.
From Puxatawney Phil to Buckeye Chuck,
To lovely Phyllis 10 years today,
Block thy bright sun. Oh, send us luck.
Make February 2 overcast and gray.
To Phyllis bright, smart, eager; gay,
The weather cannot fool our furry girl.
You did wrest Uncle Phil’s mantle away.
‘Tis for you now, our banner we unfurl.
Grace us with melting snow, running brook.
Crawl from thy burrow, we’ll write your book!
We’ll celebrate with chocolates galore.
Oh, marmot Phyllis, it’s YOU we adore.