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  Thursday, March 5, 2015
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xtra xtra!
February 6, 2014
Groundhog Day in Southie
By Rick Winterson

South Boston Online checked out this prediction with our local marmot, Andrew Square Annie, who has set up housekeeping at the bottom of a burrow in the large planter at the intersection of Preble and Dorchester Streets.  
This gives Annie a fine, rent-free view overlooking Andrew Square (which will never be renamed “Andrew Village”).  She subsists on the scraps of food thrown into that planter by rude and messy passers-by from outside of Southie.  Livin’ the dream, our Annie is!
Anyhow, Annie definitely encountered sunshine last Sunday.  It was thin and watery sunshine, to be sure, but it was strong enough to cast a shadow behind her.  That, of course, means that South Boston will have another six weeks of winter, confirming what Punxutawney Phil and many other American groundhogs predicted.
Annie’s shadow seems to have been accurate – we have another snowstorm visiting us at midweek.  Amounts up to nine inches of snow were predicted by our local weather forecasters.  That’s almost as deep as the drifted piles of commentary from the very same local weather forecasters.
However, Online must admit that countrywide groundhog predictions are highly inaccurate.  We’ll see how well Annie’s shadowy prediction holds up.
The tradition of the groundhog has roots in Elizabethan England, because the Feast of Candlemas falls on February 2.  In merrie olde England, clouds on Candlemas meant that spring was at hand; this morphed into Groundhog Day among immigrants to America.  Furthermore, in the process of changing from the Julian calendar to the Gregorian calendar around 1700, some American colonists got Groundhog/Candlemas Day and Valentine’s Day confused.  Even today, a few remote settlements in Appalachia observe both Groundhog Day and Valentine’s Day on February 14.
No matter.  Whatever your beliefs, spring will come eventually, even to Andrew Square. 

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