Punxsutawney, Pennsylvania has hogged center stage for one of the nation’s most significant holidays long enough. While I appreciate the wonderfully crafted film bearing the name of this celebration, Groundhog’s Day, starring the great Bill Murray, you must admit enthusiasm for the day has waned. I wouldn’t be surprised to see Halloween or even Thanksgiving surpass Groundhog’s Day in popularity.


As a passionate participant in all things groundhog, I have to confess its been more difficult each year to drum up enthusiasm for the day. The first sign came when I almost forgot to have my groundhog leisure suit dry cleaned in time for the annual parade. Further evidence appeared when I realized I hadn’t scheduled a choral group to join me in singing Groundhog carols in my neighborhood. And then I almost had to FORCE myself to head to the mall to get my Groundhog’s Day shopping finished. Much to my dismay, I found a great parking space with ease, didn’t have to fight crowds, and found everything on my gift list without a struggle. Free gift wrapping was no where to be found. Luster gone.


Its time for a change. Time to throw the chubby rat on the grill and find a new creature to take the spotlight. Predictably, my schnauzer began her campaign immediately. I let her down easy. “Sadie, you are already the most admired specie on the planet. Let’s give the honor to something less ballyhooed.” FYI, “ballyhooed” doesn’t translate easily into  German. 


After considering animals of many shapes and sizes, my committee narrowed its selection to the following underappreciated animals. The walking stick, hummingbird, and the American shrew mole were the candidates selected. 


The debate was fierce and extreme scrutiny was applied to evaluating the qualifications of each critter. The walking stick, while loaded with personality and athletic prowess was unavailable for an audition. We looked everywhere, for just ONE of these lanky crawlers. We even used a walking stick bug call to try and lure them out of the woods. While attracting a lot of admiration from the neighbors, the stick bugs stuck to their places of hiding. Questions were also raised as to how visible a shadow these wigglers could cast.


Hummingbirds are amazing birds. These nutty nibblers of nectar come in a variety of colors, make a delightful noise, and are quite photogenic. On the downside, however, the committee couldn’t get past the fact that the little buzzers are “fair weather friends.” Who cares if winter is sticking around another six weeks or not when you head down south for the season. Having such potential for great affection, however, (their hearts beat 1,260 times per minute), certainly led to a check in the plus column.  As such, we are considering having the hummingbird take Cupid’s place as lead promoter for Valentine’s Day.


By process of elimination, the panel is proud to announce the American shrew mole as the new face of the holiday formerly known as Groundhog’s Day! And what a face it is. 


I can already imagine stuffed shrew toys FLYING off the shelves and into the adoring arms of children across the globe. Gummy moles will be a favorite at your local candy store. And check out those diggers! Beautifully manicured paws that want to just reach out and hug you. Undeniably lovable. 


I trust you'll deeply dig the first annual Groundmole Day and all its festivities! Here’s hoping he DOESN’T see his shadow.