Groundhog Day always reminds me how confused Mother was about this legendary tale. She could not remember whether Punxsutawney Phil seeing his shadow meant six more weeks of winter or was it the other way around? Mother always said that it really didn’t matter because winter would end “when it was good and ready to end.”
Husband Number Three, Tom, used to say that his spouse Mary was in the wrong place at the right time or the right place at the wrong time. My sister Abby and I never could remember which way he said it for sure. Truth be told, I think he periodically alternated. As odd a bird as he was, he did sometimes make my sister and I laugh with very unexpected, dry and witty remarks (usually muttered under his breath so Mother did not hear him).
Either way Tom said it, on the one hand it made no sense to me. But on the other hand, he might have been on to something. Abby had a theory that his cryptic utterance explained a lot about Mother’s life. I guess if she was in the wrong place at the right time, she had missed an occasion or an event. That would indeed be very much like our mother. And if she was in the right place but the wrong time, she was again on the losing end, which is the point of view from which she usually acted. I guess it didn’t matter which way it was. Mother had difficulty with daily living.
Groundhog Day was no different. If her confusion made others confused, she saw that as your problem. As always, she could take a rather innocent folklore tale and make it into a controversy. She also would say
Who has even seen a groundhog? I think the whole damned thing is made up!
This was but one of many conspiracy theories Mother considered Gospel. She also believed the Moon landing was fake and had another theory that nobody she ever explained it to was able to comprehend. It was something about a book she had allegedly written (no-one ever saw the manuscript, but she insisted she had penned it). It was based on the work she had (allegedly) written during community college: her own version of “The Canterbury Tales”. But this work of Mother’s went further to expand on some sort of a premise that our plane of existence was actually Hell or something like it and that we were living lives that were merely preparation for the actual and expanded versions of Heaven and Hell and that…well, you get the idea.
If you dared to question why she thought the whole “groundhog thing” was fabricated, she would loudly say
How would I know? I’m not the expert on groundhogs!
So, she finally admitted to not being the expert on something! I wonder if that had anything to do with the groundhog not seeing his shadow?