The Shadow Knows

By Jeff Salter

This week, we’re all about Ground Hog Day. But since today is already three days past GH Day, I’m shifting the focus from the shadowy activities of that prognosticating rodent… to the larger matter — when will winter end?

Indeed, “winter” has so many different meanings (i.e., manifestations) — depending on which part of the globe you inhabit.

For example, during my year of a remote tour of duty within the Arctic Circle – Thule Air Base in N.W. Greenland – the symptoms of “winter” lasted some TEN MONTHS or so. And even the two “summer” months were not truly warm — they were merely warm-er than the winter.

And here’s a shocker: I have a friend and colleague – the former 4F1H fox, Iris Blobel – who lives in Australia. While we (in North America) are having summer, they have winter… and as we’re shivering with cold weather, they’re at the beach. So I wonder what the activities of Aussie groundhogs predict?

For my part – here in southeast KY, where I’ve lived for about 8.5 years – I can’t wait for the warm weather. Our 2014-2015 winter so far has been reasonable, but everybody says we’re in for two pretty harsh months before Spring arrives.

I hope they’re wrong.

Original Cinema Quad Poster - Movie Film Posters

A Fun Movie

While Groundhog Day (with Bill Murray and Andie MacDowell) is a funny and thought-provoking film that I’ve really enjoyed, there’s not any actual tie-in with GH Day itself. The very same plot and characters could have collected around any other winter day which may have brought a TV crew to a small town. It could have been Washington’s birthday, Lincoln’s birthday, Martin Luther King Jr.’s birthday, Valentine’s Day, etc. The very same story could have worked for any cold weather time and place.

I wonder why the writer(s) selected GH Day for their tale of a boorish man who has to relive a day over and over until he finally learns a few lessons?


All that said, I do have a single memory related specifically to GH Day. On Feb. 2 of 1962 (I think that was the year), my grandmother’s dog had puppies. She “gave” one to me and one to my sister, but those pups continued to live with Grandmother. I named the one allocated to me, Rex… ad I think my sister named the other one Happy. Though from the same litter, they bore absolutely no resemblance to one another. Rex was white and short, while Happy was black and taller.


Do YOU have any memories linked to GH Day? How do YOU feel about the remaining couple months of winter? Is YOUR winter of the type that a northerner would even recognize as cold weather?


About Jeff Salter

Currently writing romantic comedy, screwball comedy, and romantic suspense. Fourteen completed novels and four completed novellas. Working with three royalty publishers: Clean Reads, Dingbat Publishing, & TouchPoint Press/Romance. "Cowboy Out of Time" -- Apr. 2019 /// "Double Down Trouble" -- June 2018 /// "Not Easy Being Android" -- Feb. 2018 /// "Size Matters" -- Oct. 2016 /// "The Duchess of Earl" -- Jul. 2016 /// "Stuck on Cloud Eight" -- Nov. 2015 /// "Pleased to Meet Me" (novella) -- Oct. 2015 /// "One Simple Favor" (novella) -- May 2015 /// "The Ghostess & MISTER Muir" -- Oct. 2014 /// "Scratching the Seven-Month Itch" -- Sept. 2014 /// "Hid Wounded Reb" -- Aug. 2014 /// "Don't Bet On It" (novella) -- April 2014 /// "Curing the Uncommon Man-Cold -- Dec. 2013 /// "Echo Taps" (novella) -- June 2013 /// "Called To Arms Again" -- (a tribute to the greatest generation) -- May 2013 /// "Rescued By That New Guy in Town" -- Oct. 2012 /// "The Overnighter's Secrets" -- May 2012 /// Co-authored two non-fiction books about librarianship (with a royalty publisher), a chapter in another book, and an article in a specialty encyclopedia. Plus several library-related articles and reviews. Also published some 120 poems, about 150 bylined newspaper articles, and some 100 bylined photos. Worked about 30 years in librarianship. Formerly newspaper editor and photo-journalist. Decorated veteran of U.S. Air Force (including a remote ‘tour’ of duty in the Arctic … at Thule AB in N.W. Greenland). Married; father of two; grandfather of six.
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21 Responses to The Shadow Knows

  1. When I was about 6 my parents tried to explain the concept of GH day to us kids. I remember my dad cussing like a sailor when Phil saw his shadow and it meant six more weeks of winter. All was fine and dandy until supper time. Although to this day my Mom denies it was Phil, I am pretty sure that the “Rump Roast” served for dinner was actually “Roast Phil.”


  2. jbrayweber says:

    Groundhog Day…pppfffftthh. What happens with a rodent up North doesn’t mean flip down here in Texas. We don’t even have groundhogs. All I know is that it’s cold. I HATE cold. I hate cold and wet. I hate dreary overcast with no sun. It affects my mood terribly. Pretty sure I have SAD – seasonal affective disorder. Bring on the melting heat of summer!


    • jeff7salter says:

      That’s right, Jenn. Y’all have Prairie Dogs. Right?
      Wonder if anybody pays attention to their shadows…
      I also dislike the cold and the winter season in general. MUCH prefer spring, early summer, late summer, and autumn.


      • jbrayweber says:

        No prairie dogs where I’m at. Those are more in central Texas. We do have some at the zoo, though. 😉 We’ve got coons, squirrels, rabbits, possums, armadillos, nutrias…you get the idea. And besides, why can’t I just go outside myself to see my own shadow, hmm? 😉


      • jeff7salter says:

        armadillos — LOL. Remember a few years ago (well, decades ago, actually) when people in Texas were joking about buying armadillo insurance?


  3. Jeanne says:

    We don’t have groundhogs here in Australia, Jeff, and while it’s SUPPOSED to be summer here, it’s been a lot colder and wetter than usual, which makes it sort of like what winter is here. Temps very rarely get down to the single digits in Celsius, and with 0C being 32F you can imagine that ‘cold’ here is nothing compared to the cold you guys get. It does get colder where Iris, lives, though,(even though it’s only about a two-hour drive from here) and she even gets snow, which I haven’t seen AT ALL in the last seven years except for the time we went up to the mountains looking for it, but even then it was only the wet slushy stuff.


  4. I enjoy winter. I like getting out in the snow and playing. I enjoy nights curled under a blanket with a hot beverage in my hand and a good book plopped open. I like having numerous movie nights. I REALLY like that it is dark at the kids’ bedtime so there is no “Why am I going to bed when the sun is awake?” questions from my littlest.
    I’ve been told before that I am backwards. I have been known to spend more time outside in the winter than in the summer.
    So right now with over 9 inches of snow on the ground I am content.


    • jeff7salter says:

      well, you’re living in the right region if you enjoy cold weather. When I was in Mt. Pleasant, it was 20 degrees below zero on more than one occasion.


  5. Phil saw his shadow last year but Winter lasted until May, remember Jeff? Our mutual friend, author Lynn Shurr (Carla Hostetter), said they have their own Groundhog in her neck of the woods who had the opposite experience of Phil.We’re in between them, so who knows?
    I don’t know why Groundhog’s Day was chosen for the movie, except that it played well with the snow and Bill Murray running off with Phil.He never could have done that with Cupid or George Washington.However, why it was chosen for OUR topic is a darned good question! No one has left me much to say at the end of the week! I’ll come up with SOMETHING.


  6. Iris B says:

    Nah, no groundhog day here. It’s actually quite an interesting concept isn’t it … I’ve got “google” the whole tradition of “groundhog day”, I’m afraid, Bill Murray’s movie didn’t hold my attention … sorry!
    There’s something perhaps vaguely similar in Germany … it’s “Siebenschlaefer Tag” literally translated (Seven Sleepers Day – Siebenschlaefer is a dormouse I think) – it’s on June 27th and the weather on that day is supposed to determine the average weather of the next seven weeks.

    Interesting topic. Sorry I don’t stop by more often … I miss you guys! 🙂


  7. pjharjo says:

    Interesting article, Jeff! In answer to your questions, I’ve already mentioned my lack of memories to GH Day (and many others LOL!) Winter out here in the PNW has been quite different than for you all back east this year. I’m usually ready for winter to end because I don’t like to be cold, but not this year. 🙂 But I DO like to have the different four seasons. 🙂


    • jeff7salter says:

      yes — four reasonably distinct seasons is also what I like. Having spend over four decades in Louisiana, I had to live with a mish-mash of weather and both extremes (hot and cold) were intensified by the high humidity.
      I much prefer the weather here in KY, except I’d be pleased if they could dial back the intense cold & snow we’re having now.


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