Today is Groundhog Day (first celebrated in 1887), and yes, Punxsutawney Phil did indeed see his shadow, which means another six weeks of winter. 

And so, in honor of his prediction, I offer the following:

Groundhog Pie
(6-8 Servings)

  • 1 groundhog skinned and cleaned
  • 1/4 cup onion
  • 1/4 cup green pepper
  • 1/2 tablespoon minced parsley
  • 1 tablespoon salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon pepper
  • 4 1/2 tablespoon flour
  • 3 cups brothBiscuits:
  • 1 cup flour
  • 2 tablespoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 2 tablespoon fat
  • 1/4 cup milk
  • Cut groundhog into 2 or 3 pieces.  Parboil for 1 hour.  Remove meat from bones in large pieces. Add onion, green pepper, parsley, salt, pepper, and flour to the broth and stir until it thickens.  If the broth does not measure 3 cups, add water.  Add the meat to the broth mixture and stir thoroughly. Pour into baking dish.

    For biscuits:  Sift flour, baking powder, and salt together. Cut in the fat and add the liquid.  Stir until the dry ingredients are moist.  Roll only enough to make it fit the dish.  Place dough on top of meat, put in a hot oven (400 degrees F.) and bake 30 to 40 minutes or until dough is browned.

    You’re cute, Phil, but payback’s a bitch.

    On a side note, Phil’s not the only weather-predicting animal who’s at work today.  In Texas, the first annual Armadillo Day is being held in West Pole. 

    Galveston is offering the second annual Penguin Groundhog Day. 

    And Alaska is holding its first official Marmot Day, per a bill signed by then-Governor Sarah Palin last year.  Perhaps that’s a fine example of her excellent leadership initiatives.

    It’s the anniversary of the opening of New York City’s Grand Central Station in 1913.  I love Grand Central – the ceiling is amazing, like walking under a starry sky, with constellations outlined. 

    The light through the windows can be magnificent – this is one of my favorite images (wish I’d taken it):

    I have fond memories of jumping in a cab and telling the driver, “Grand Central”, just as if I were in a movie.  And a stop at the Oyster Bar is always an exercise in classic romance (though I’ve never been there for a romantic visit).

    Recent diner reviews say that the service is terrible and the food is off track, but you can’t convince me that the atmosphere isn’t still worth it.

    Today marks the day that the Great Race of Mercy ended in Nome, Alaska, in 1935.  The inspiration for the Iditarod, 20 mushers and over 150 sled dogs relayed critical diphtheria vaccine 674 miles from Nemana to Nome in 5-1/2  days, a journey that ordinarily took 25 days.   One of Kelsea’s favorite books as a small child was about Balto, the lead sled dog (according to legend) in the relay.

    People and animals can do amazing things when lives are at stake.

    Nell Gwynne was born on this day in 1650. 

    Sometime whore, long-time mistress to King Charles, and a woman who spearheaded having females in female roles on the English stage, she was a witty, savvy realist who had no illusions and made no bones about who she was.  And that makes her, if not her actions, a woman to be admired.

    It’s also the birthday of Milvinna Dean, who was the youngest passenger on the Titanic (aged 9 weeks) and the last survivor, having died in 2009.  Her mother and brother survived along with her, though her father perished.  She herself died on the anniversary of the Titanic’s launch, while her brother died on the anniversary of the Titanic’s sinking.

    Kelsea and I (and E-Bro as well) have always had a fascination with the Titanic.  Perhaps many people feel such a pull, but I don’t know for sure.  I read Walter Lord’s book “Remember the Night” from the hallway shelves in my parents’ house when I was no more than nine.  Two years ago, when the Titanic Exhibition was travelling the country, Kelsea and I went to see it at the Natural History Museum in Denver.  The IMAX video made us both teary.  The staging of handing each waiting visitor an identity card of one of the passengers, yet not revealing the fate of that passenger until the very end of the exhibit, was brilliant.  The recreation of one of the ship’s hallways was a profoundly psychic experience for both of us, especially since we were alone in the hallway until a maid, complete with costume and brogue, came in.  She enhanced the effect tremendously. 

    Being able to sit in the light-outline of a lifeboat, to see one of the statues from the Grand Staircase, and especially to be able touch a piece of the ship, again brought us to tears.

    Today marks the death of Bert Parks in 1992.  Host of the Miss America pageant for 24 years, he was fired in 1979 by organizers who thought a new host might attract more viewers.  The Miss America pageant aired a couple of nights ago – I caught the last half of the parade of states – on The Learning Channel, I think, and was hosted by Mario Lopez.  While I was an avid watcher as a dreaming little girl (what little girl from the 1960’s didn’t want to be Miss America?), I’m not a fan of beauty pageants now.  But I can honestly say that this once pure American tradition has certainly become a travesty of its former self.  Poor Bert must be spinning in his grave.

    And finally, it’s the anniversary of the death of Gene Kelly in 1996 – he of the bright smile, fair voice and athletic dancing. 

    His style always felt somewhat more effortful than my dear Fred Astaire’s, but he is fun to watch.  He was incredibly dedicated to perfecting his craft, rehearsing until the wee small hours, and his “anti-tuxedo” attire contributed to making dance seem more masculine and more accessible to the film-going masses.  Of his body of work, my personal favorites are “On the Town”,

    and “Brigadoon”.

    Musicals have gone by the wayside in modern culture (and I’m sure many men are cheering about that.)  It was nice though, to have some classy, athletic role models on the screen, who worked hard and didn’t kill anyone.  How times change.

    Thus endeth the history lesson.  Hope you feel slightly enlightened.