It’s February 2nd, Groundhog day. It’s a North American tradition, one of Punxsutawney’s local events and — at least in my country — national news.
Punxsutawney Phil didn’t see his shadow this year.
- “Punxsutawney Phil predicts 6 more weeks of winter”
CNN (February 2, 2021)
- “A gloomy Groundhog Day: Punxsutawney Phil says more winter”
Weather News, WTOP (February 2, 2021)
North American folklore says that this means we’re in for six more weeks of winter. Which, here in central Minnesota, is likely enough: cloudy day in Punxsutawney or not.
Groundhog Day’s folklore is, or was, superstition.
I see it as an opportunity for Punxsutawney’s VIPs to wear top hats, and a pleasant mid-winter break from shoveling and heating bills.
However, there’s no getting around it. Groundhog Day has roots in Pennsylvania Dutch superstitions. Or folklore. Depends on viewpoint, maybe.
Hoo boy. Groundhog Day’s roots could be trouble.
Being superstitious is one of the things we’re told is a bad idea. It’s religious feeling gone wrong. Really wrong. (Catechism of the Catholic Church, 2111)
If I was superstitious about, say, the Divine Mercy Chaplet, I’d think that the words and what I do with the prayer beads had magical effects.
They don’t. Which reminds me: I want to talk about the Divine Mercy chaplet again some time. But not to day.
If I burned berries before a picture of Punxsutawney Phil to lower the household heating bills: my wife would complain. And I’d be well-advised to rethink my attitude toward groundhogs. Which, I see, are the critters I call woodchucks.1
A Pennsylvanian groundhog’s presumed prognostications might lead me down the primrose path to perdition. If I took today’s cloudy weather as a Sign to the Faithful.
Which I don’t. And that’s another topic. Topics.
I talked, briefly, about family and children yesterday. (February 1, 2021)
Recapping, in part: our number-two daughter and son-in-law adopted their daughter. Which is okay. (Catechism, 2379)
The hoops they had to jump through in the adoption process warrant more attention than I’m willing to give today.
The good news, part of it, is that they finally had all the forms filled out. And could spend two months as residents in another state.
My son-in-law, happily, is the sort of entrepreneur who can take a two-month vacation and still have a ‘job’ when he gets back. Not everyone can do that.
I’m pretty sure that many couples who aren’t like our granddaughter’s adoptive parents would also make good mothers and fathers. But we’re not likely to find out, as long as American adoption regulations stay the way they are.
If you’re bracing for a rant, relax. My father and I have, between us, lived through eras that inspired today’s bureaucratic tangle.
Our laws and regulations were, I think, innocuous.
I think the folks who set up the system meant well.
How it actually works could use improvement. Much improvement.
Before I forget — this is my 21st consecutive daily ‘journal’ entry. But, important as this milestone is to me, I don’t expect to see it in national news. And that’s yet another topic.
Now, getting back to the adoption process.
One of the many forms and reports that number-two daughter and son-in-law filled out included instructions to describe, in three words, the prospective adopters’ parents.
Which, I think, makes sense. Or should. In any case, I’m impressed, relieved and pleased that number-two daughter’s three-word description of me didn’t cause trouble.
She, quite accurately, said that I was:
We’re not entirely sure about the second word, “scholarly.” Their copy of the actual report is on a disk drive that is on my son’s to-do list of things to fix. It’s a long list.
But she said I was scholarly or academic, or something like that. And I think she’s right.
She’s right about eccentric and eclectic, too.
Which should be obvious, from the stuff I write:
- “A Family Visit is Still in Progress: Kids and Adoption”
(February 1, 2021)
- “Plans, Prescriptions, an Exoplanet and Me”
(January 29, 2021)
- “A Gallimaufry: Politics and Prayer, A Dragon and Turkeys”
(January 21, 2021)
- “Rereading Christopher Marlowe’s ‘Doctor Faustus’”
(January 6, 2021)
- “Boston Charlie, Partridges in Pear Trees and Me”
(November 28, 2020)