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Without shadow of doubt, winter not relying on Chuck

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Dear Chuck,

I trust this note finds you resting peacefully. If you receive and read this note by Sunday, I hope you find it encouraging. On second thought, if you don’t wake up to read it until the end of March, all the better.

I just wanted to let you know that I was thinking of you. Realizing that on Sunday, like every Feb. 2, you may be feeling especially anxious about the peer pressure to meet others’ expectations. I apologize for the pack of paparazzi who will be standing at your front den, but I do appreciate that, for one day at least, we get to read and see some nice photos of you, instead of the Kardashians and Justin Bieber.

In case you are feeling the need to make an appearance, just read these facts:

Six more weeks of winter?

Legend says that if you, a woodchuck (groundhog), emerge from your den on Feb. 2 and see your shadow, six more weeks of winter will follow.

Well, Chucky, let me make it unmistakably clear. Whether you see your shadow or not, spring ain’t coming for another six weeks whether you take a hibernation break or not. Read the Farmer’s Almanac, for Pete’s sake.

The legend was brought to America by my people, German immigrants from Europe; but it was actually the badger whose emergence from his den foretold more winter to come.

So you see, Chucky, it really isn’t about you at all. And yes, I know lots of zoos have Groundhog Day celebrations, but they really don’t have any relation to actual weather forecasting and are as accurate as our local meteorologists.

Repeat after me: “No matter how flattering the attention can be, it’s not about me, it’s not about me.”

It’s stinking cold out here!

If I were you, I would most definitely stay in your den and keep hibernating. Everyone will understand — Mayor Greg Ballard shut down the Indianapolis city government on Tuesday due to the anticipated cold weather. You could use that as an excuse and not even make an appearance.

Put your family first.

I don’t usually use the fear factor, but I did see two coyotes wandering the farm field looking for lunch in broad daylight last Sunday. And must I really bring up those other local predators — dogs, foxes, eagles and bears — OK maybe I added the bear thing to scare you.

I’m trying to be bossy, but you do realize that you can hibernate the entire month of February

and still wake up in time for

your breeding season in March and April?

Well Chucky, this letter is longer than I had planned, but I wanted to mention one more thing since we are obviously the best of friends by now. I wanted to share how impressed I was when I saw you climbing the tree near the beehives last summer. I didn’t know that you could climb as well as you swim.

Nevertheless, as a friend, I wanted to set some boundaries. If I catch you or your kin climbing and eating from my fruit trees, you will wish you had never seen my shadow.

Your neighbor,


Janet Hommel Mangas, the third of seven children, grew up on the east side of Greenwood. The Center Grove area resident and her husband are the parents of three daughters. Send comments to letters@dailyjournal.net.

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