816 North

Susan Vollenweider | What happened when the groundhog saw his shadow

On Feb. 2, in Punxsutawney, Penn., a certain rodent failed to see his shadow. According to legend this indicated that spring was right around the corner.

The directions to the corner seems to have been misplaced. The past couple of weeks gave us a wild ride with no springtime destination in sight. Phil made a mistake. I should write him a complaint letter.

I should tell him what we all went through. How we were giddy with excitement as we completed our first Bread and Milk grocery runs with the thrill of a rare snow day ahead of us. Knowing that spring was right around the corner on Snow Day One we did everything.

Play in snow? Check!

Bake a cake? Check!

Make snow ice cream? Check!

Watch movies, sip cocoa and eat popcorn by the fireplace? Check!

Craft, read, shovel, take snow pictures? Check, check and, check!

Then came Snow Day Two.

We did most of the same things on Snow Day Two, but morale was still high because the storm had passed. By evening the house was full of drying snow gear, worn out people and freshly baked cookies. The roads were clear and the kids could go to school the next day…

…only the next day was Saturday. With a second storm coming it was also time for a second Bread and Milk run. Why are bread and milk so sought after? We used other items much more than bread and milk. Why not toilet paper and batteries? Floor mops and towels? Butter and eggs? Cheez-its and Franzia? (Don’t judge)

I know I’m not the only person who spent part of each day cooking comfort foods. Cakes, breads, soups and stews… maybe it’s the same instinct that has us make casseroles when someone dies. When in crisis, cook. I think it’s a control issue.

By Snow Day Three we had experienced just a little too much togetherness. Bekah spent hours outside creating “Snow Caverns of Doom.” Noah had gotten all of his video games taken away for mouthing off, and I was sneaking The Shining and Donner Party references into conversations. Everyone was in Button Pushing Mode and the snow days created Snow Daze.

I knew I wasn’t alone, though. Across the frozen tundra were houses containing Snow Parents just like Brian and me who were crushed when yet another snow day was announced. My friend Ehcks summed up our collective emotions when she said, “I am passed crying and have moved on to Zombie Screaming Ninny. I cannot believe the things they fight over!”

I’m going to include all of that in my letter to Punxsutawney Phil. Oh, yes I am. He can’t go making promises of spring then dump this on us!

At one point Brian and Luke became critical of my general housekeeping skills and set off to deep clean the house room-by-room.

They sure showed me.

We went on walks through the neighborhood – the gray and brown scenes of the past several months looked like alien landscapes covered with snow. The temperature was warm enough that we could be outdoors for a long time; warm enough to bring the whole neighborhood outdoors and together – something that rarely happens in winter.

Pictures filled my camera and social media feeds – smiling kids and dads making snowmen, moms sitting by the fireplace with their children at a time when they would normally have been at work or school. Three day-long PJ Fests, families spending bonus time together creating memories.

Yeah, I’m going to include all of that in my letter.

Dear Punxsutawney Phil,

Thank you.