Autumn leaves on the east side of the United States brought Jerry and Carole Owen over the Rockies, eventually arriving for a stop in the town of Punxsutawney, Penn. last October.
During her visit, Carole had the chance to see Phil, the famous weather-predicting groundhog, shown to her by a former Inner Circle President Bill Cooper. The Inner Circle is tasked with taking care of the groundhog and his wife, Phyllis, in addition to interpreting Phil’s predictions.
Carole remembers teaching many first graders about Phil the groundhog during her 31 years as a teacher, thinking she’d stop to see him for herself.
“I thought it would be really interesting to see the place and I had read about a ‘zoo’ where Phil lived,” said Carole.
Arriving at Gobbler’s Knobb Hill, the site of each year’s Groundhog Day celebration in Punxsutawney, Carole found it smaller than it looked on TV. “It was still exciting to be there,” she said.
Next, they went back into town to see the zoo, which turned out to be a cage built into the wall of the Punxsutawney library. “It had windows on the library side, where kids could be in the library and watch the groundhogs,” she said.
Carole also noticed a window on the street side, but all she was able to see was a ball of fur. The only animal she could see was asleep and hard to get a picture of, she said.
With a stroke of luck, however, Carole ran into Cooper, who had been showing Phil at a conference with teachers. According to her, Cooper has been travelling with his wife and giving educational talks accompanied by Phil.
Carole was allowed to pet the groundhog and get a photo taken with him and Cooper. “I will be watching when Phil predicts the weather this year, knowing that I actually met and petted him,” she said.
On Feb. 2, Punxsutawney emerged from his burrow on Sunday and predicted six more weeks of winter.