And Gutenberg Lived Here: Talk To Me When Punxsutawney Phil Becomes A Saint.

Yesterday was,

of course,

Groundhog Day.

And Gutenbergers being what they are-

a historically based and bonded nation,

holidays here are set by the Catholic church.

And history.

Even carnival,

the crazy, loopy, “let’s beat winter to death” holiday,

where you’re supposed to dress up like witches,

and beat the winter to death with twig brooms.


That’s what it’s for.

All those hundreds of years old carved wooden witches’ masks,

and padded old women’s dresses,

floor length with heavy underskirts,

And sleigh bells,

And Alphorns that wake you at dawn,

to joint the parade,

ring bells,

and beat up winter.

Not that it’s our tradition here in Gutenberg land-

it’s all political here-

the one chance in the year to roast a politician or two,

or twenty,

on television.

Which politicians have to take it-

with a fake smile-

or not be seen on the tube.

In an election year.

And then, of course, there are the parades.

With floats with political themes,

And school kids dressed in blue plastic garbage sacks-

with head and arm holes, of course,

each carrying a sign with something like “plastic sacks are good-recycle now.”

But, of course, you need a picturesque element every once in a while in the parade.

Fred and Wilma Flintstone and friends-

nearly naked in the cold-

or the motorized rubber duck that wears a corporation cap and,

about the size of a small VW,

tries to keep order in the parade,

or the six of the seven dwarfs who are the mascots of the ZDF-

the second national television,


get ready for it,

the foreign visitor units-

accompanied by trumpet groups so off-key they have to practice to get that bad.

And of course,

the alphorn playing, flag twirling, evil sisters who bash winter.

Members of the Swiss carnival.

On vacation before theirs starts.

Which brings me back to carnival.

And February,

and foreign imports,

like the US entry to carnival month:

no, not the US military band that plays the parade each year,

although they are definitely beloved here for their jazz and swing,

No, what I meant was:

Punxsutawney Phil.

Who, through the Bill Murray classic Groundhog Day,

has become a real celebrity here.

And is the secret star of the

since nothing else is going on yet here on the second of February,

more or less secret pre-carnival groundhog day parties.

Complete with a band,


and a film showing in a side room-

usually ignored by all but students,

high school students,

and the film school-based at the U.

And most especially, the Catholic church,

which doesn’t much believe in wonder-working groundhogs.

but does very much believe in Maria Lichtmess-

the moment on the second of February,

when, historically, Christ was first presented in the temple,

exactly forty days after Christmas,

and which is,


the moment where the sun decides to,

for the first time in months,

stick around later than 5 pm,

and arrive before 8.

Which means, we finally get our lives back.

And green plants.

And the lazy hazy crazy days of summer.

And stop drooping around enough to get ourselves to a church service,

take a look at a groundhog film,

and then put on a wooden mask,

pick up a twig broom,

and whap the heck out of winter.


Copyright 2016 All rights reserved.

3 thoughts on “And Gutenberg Lived Here: Talk To Me When Punxsutawney Phil Becomes A Saint.

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