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They say, whoever they are, you should deal with first things first. And what might that be? One of America's most important days occurred a few days ago.

That must be so, considering the amount of TV time allotted for the special occasion. It wasn't that total moon eclipse or the Super Bowl game, or ... you guessed it, it was Groundhog Day. Usually, I start trying to pound out a 'cuff about a week or so before it is printed. But this week it seemed important to wait until that Pennsylvania pundit put his two cents (sense?) into the ongoing kettle. So this is being written a few minutes after frightened Phil was pulled out of his Punxsutawney (Penn.) castle.

I have a great respect for that old mammal. I don't crawl out of a hole but, as you know, I go into a trance to make those formative predictions such as the annual one, "There will be a postal rate increase."

Often I share Phil's wisdom and predict the old feller will see his shadow and there will be six more weeks of winter. I completely forgot that possibility this year. If this 'cuff shows up a week late, blame it on old Phil. Talk about shifting blame; that seems to be the norm in this crazily mixed up political world in Washington, a condition that flows like molten lava over the entire nation. 'Nuff said.

Did you ever wonder how Groundhog Day got started? I pulled out that old 1970 World Book to get a little info. What was accurate 50 years ago must surely be right today. The old feller was attracting attention long before the days of the tube. According to "the book," Groundhog Day was introduced to America by immigrants from Germany and Great Britain and it has remained virtually unchanged. Following a winter sleep, the old codger sticks his head out of his hole and, if frightened by the sun, he hightails it back into the warmth and darkness for another six weeks' nap until spring is really about to begin. Nice figuring, eh? That critter would make a good politician, wouldn't he? When the goin' gets rough, he makes his statement and disappears for another nap.

To make this short 'cuff long, I'll have to confess I've often wondered why it's called Groundhog Day. Any ideas? The groundhog that sometimes makes his home under our shed is not a hog, but a woodchuck. Maybe we could give him a new handle such as groundwood. Or, to be more specific, how about Sawdust? If he must be a groundhog, why not just call him sausage? I know, I can hear the groans filling the air in Eagle Observer country. Just think of that old saying you often hear, "Just consider the source."

Now, on to better things, but it's still about a groundhog. I watched and learned that poor old Phil didn't stick his head out of his hole for his TV appearance. He was dragged out by a group of men wearing top hats, ties and other types of elite costumes. Facing the world of cameras, the pitiful old feller looked up, twitched his whiskers and began trembling from head to tail. He was more scared than if he had seen a sunbeam which, this year was hidden by clouds over that unspellable and almost unpronounceable Pennsylvania community. Seeing that celebrating crowd around him surely was enough to frighten a hippo. Hey, how about a hippo day?

Seriously, let's get down to business and figure out what kind of happening can happen in Eagle Observer country to attract attention on a special day. How about Eagle Day to celebrate those majestic birds which make their winter homes in our part of the world. We could promote that and include the playing of our National Anthem and have the crowd repeat the Pledge of Allegiance to our flag. This might attract nationwide attention -- sadly, even some protestors -- as we show our patriotic spirit. Maybe we could secure filming it, collecting support, and show the entire program at halftime during next year's Super Bowl game. I guess that wouldn't be politically correct. What do you think?

No takers? Just a thought. How about celebrating Armadillo Day? Certainly, that critter knows how to dig in the dirt while scattering rocks in the lawn to be hit by lawnmowers later this year. Already this spring, whoops, make that winter, old Acrobatic Andy Armo has been at his work as he sneaks out on milder winter days. Calling him Acrobatic is justifiable since he seems capable of jumping over a four- or maybe even a six-foot fence when you scare him. That's even more impressive than a shaking groundhog. And it also sounds almost political. Isn't it fun to see how the pro pols jump every which way, including up, when cornered in the political marsh ... not just in D.C. but in USA-see?

Admittedly this 'cuff was headed nowhere from its start, so it is appropriate to announce the final new year resolution that I abandoned. Honestly, in the last 'cuff I remembered the first two but that third one involved a lot of soul searching and it finally came to mind. The reason it was broken after New Year's Day was it had been broken from the start. What was it? "I resolve to quit watching those slanted news reports" with their self-ordained experts who, at the drop of a hat, either complain or mock or give derogatory names to their opponents, all the while grinning gleefully when things go their way ... or they growl like wildcats when things don't suit them.

So I still get my kicks from watching the national news. I grin or growl appropriately and then turn over to local news which, frankly, shows little from Eagle Observer country. But at least there are positive stories and sights from the broad area that reflect how great it is to be separated from a swamp. Here may not be an Eden, but it is great to call Northwest Arkansas home if you're from _________ (fill in the name of your local town or area). All qualify as a special place to live. And when you're away ... ain't it nice to come home to?

Dodie Evans is the former owner and longtime editor of the Gravette News Herald. Opinions expressed are those of the author.

Editorial on 02/07/2018

Print Headline: Sausage? Swamp? 0r Home?

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