Groundhog Day needs boost in Arizona

Groundhog Punxsutawney Phil saw his shadow this morning at the Groundhog Day ceremony in western Pennsylvania, officially predicting six more weeks of winter.

Illustration Ryn Gargulinski

Illustration Ryn Gargulinski

And nobody in Arizona cares.

Well, a few folks care. Pennsylvania transplants may give a hoot, as would those from surrounding regions who beg winter to be on its merry way.

I care – but I’m also originally from Michigan and spent 17 years in New York, where spring is synonymous with heaven. I’m also a big softie for rodents. My dad, still in Michigan, and I even bet on the Groundhog Day’s outcome every year. He now owes me $1. blogger and Hawaiian native Carolyn Classen cares, as she gave a nod to the furry creature’s day in her morning post. Yaay, Carolyn.

But I also recall my first year in Tucson when I bid others “Happy Groundhog Day” and was met with blank stares or, better yet, “What’s a groundhog?”

Since Tucson’s winter is similar to Midwestern and Eastern spring – and since Arizona has no groundhogs – we can’t really fault locals for not bothering with it.

Perhaps we could boost interest in Groundhog Day if we took our cues from a couple of other states.

We could go for our own personal groundhog, like New York City does, and to hell with Phil. We could ship in a groundhog, name him something like Tucson Tommy, and house him at the Reid Park Zoo. The Big Apple has Staten Island Chuck, who is one big bundle of fun. Last year he bit New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg.

Another option would be to follow Alaska’s lead and switch it to a different animal. Alaska now has Marmot Day, thanks to a bill introduced by Sen. Linda Menard and signed by that former governor who had delusions of becoming a vice president.

Javelina Day anyone?

Since Arizona already has a few cool concepts in place – like the lack of Daylight Saving Time and driver’s licenses that don’t expire for 35 years – it may only be a matter of time before Groundhog Day gets proper recognition.


What do you think?

Do you care about Groundhog Day? Why or why not?

Do you care about anything?


About Rynski

Writer, artist, performer who specializes in the weird, wacky and sometimes creepy. Learn more at
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26 Responses to Groundhog Day needs boost in Arizona

  1. Carolyn Classen says:

    Well, I timed my blog for exactly 6:00 a.m. when poor Phil in the movie wakes up to the radio screaming out, “It’s Groundhog Day.”   I had to laugh thinking about Hawaiians back home saying “it’s mongoose day”…no such thing.  Actually is a good day back home when you come across a dead mongoose on the road, as they are unwanted predators and scavengers.  P.S. What’s a marmot?

    • Rynski says:

      i was so tickled to see your groundhog post! i thank you – and phil thanks you – for caring. marmots are also furry little rodents.
      some sources say marmots are the same thing as groundhogs, just a different name for different regions. according to

      This animal has many different names. One name is a woodchuck. Other names are groundhog, whistling pigs, or marmot. Even though there are so many different names, they all mean the same animal. It is a member of the squirrel family.

      still think javelina day or mongoose day would make for a nice, regional flair.

      • Carolyn Classen says:

        Even as kids back home in the Pacific, we used to recite:
        “How much wood could a woodchuck chuck if a woodchuck could chuck wood?”  We used to say it w/o even knowing what a woodchuck was.
        How silly (but typical of kids).
        I’d opt for “Praise Dog Day” instead.

      • Rynski says:

        that’s cool the annoying woodchuck chant made it all the way to hawaii – even without the woodchucks.
        …and did you mean “praise dog day” – as in compliment canines? or prairie dog day?
        i’m all for praise dog day!!! haha

      • Carolyn Classen says:

        oops, typo– I meant Prairie Dog Day.  But praising and complimenting dogs works too.

      • Rynski says:

        i’m tellin’ ya – praise dog day is excellent!

  2. Jennatoolz says:

    Heya Ryn! When I was younger, I used to care about Groundhog’s Day, but only because my elementary school would have fun little crafts and stuff to go along with it. I don’t really pay much attention to it these days…in fact, I had completely forgotten about it, lol. I never really understood the superstition, or believed in it for that matter. However, if Tucson Tommy made a debut…I just might start believing again! Haha

    • Rynski says:

      hiya jenna!
      yaaay! one vote for tucson tommy! hahahah. i don’t recall any fun crafts for groundhog day, but i do remember counting down the minutes as we waited for groundhog to emerge and look for his shadow.
      also remember a student crossing guard who got frostbite on her fingers and they turned stiff and could not move.
      spring was very important.
      so glad you were reminded of the fine day – a little piece of sunshine in the otherwise weary early feb.

  3. radmax says:

    Mornin’ Rynski! Cute tale o’ P. Phil. I propose we south westerners have a Prairie Dog Pete to tell us whether we will get more or less rain than our usual negligible annual amount. He could emerge from his burrough with a waiting coyote ready to pounce on him every February. If the coyote is successful at grabbin’ the little beggar, it would bode for plentiful rainfall. If the slippery devil jumps back in his hole fast enough, the inverse.

    • Rynski says:

      hiya radmax –
      that is a fine weather prediction idea – and so a propos for southwest. also kind of reminds me of that smash the mole game or whatever it’s called – where you have a giant mallet that you use to bash in the heads of the popping up moles – hahah.
      but we can’t call him prairie dog pete since pete was name of groundhog before phil. we’d have to call him prairie dog paul or something.
      and as much as i like your idea, i still have to vote for javelina day or imported tucson tommy.

  4. Andrew Ulanowski says:

    Morning Ryn! Hello Carol, Jenna and Radmax!
    I lost interest in Groundhog Day except for the movie with Bill Murray which I love.
    I always look for license plates to change color around here to tell me when winter is coming or going. That and the great flocks of Winnebagos moving from North to South and back.
    As I always say: “Arizona, because you don’t have to shovel heat!”

    • Rynski says:

      hiya andrew!
      great way to gauge the weather – hahha – love the license plate watching.
      i watch them, too, but just to see how clever or silly some vanity plates are — never occurred to me it could also have a more useful purpose.
      i do, however, get to study up on state trivia. the other day i was surprised to learn one of maine’s plates said: ‘a national treasure.’
      i would surely have guessed maine would have said something about evil clowns, aliens in the deep forest or some other phenomenon a la s. king.

      ps dig your arizona saying – maybe we can get that on a state license plate!

  5. azmouse says:

    Maybe we should all be at the bar getting drunk for Groundhog Day. Isn’t that what holidays are for?

    I remember back in the day, ditching school or work to hang with my friends at the bar all day on St. Patrick’s Day. Ahhh, the good old days of walking around in a drunken stupor. lol

  6. Carolyn Classen says:

    This is a popular poll, with 145 voters so far, 62% saying “yes” (and I hope favorably).  Your other polls usually don’t get these many voters.  Look what I started with my blog today!

  7. Lori Faulx says:

    When I lived in PA (45 minutes from Punxy), I spent many a cold mornings up on Gobbler’s Knob to find the weather outcome.  Now that I live in AZ….people look at you funny when you say “Happy Ground Hog Day”………………..maybe we should have “Happy Rattler or Scorpion”…………Nah, don’t like the ring to it!!!

    • Rynski says:

      hhaha – i, too, miss the fanfare over groundhog day, lori.
      do like your rattler/scorpion suggestions…how cool you were so close to punxy. hope you had the pleasure of seeing phil, or pete, in person!

  8. koreyk says:

    How much ground could a groundhog grind if a groundhog could grind ground?

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