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    February 2, 2006

Holland Huck predicts good times - At least 50 people attended the sixth annual Groundhog Day celebration this morning at the home of Terri and Charlie Hoag in Springfield Township. Pics inside.

I attended the 2004 event. Here are Blade stories for 2003 and 2005.

The Hoags and Huck have an interesting story. From the two Blade stories:

"For those unfamiliar with Hucky's climb to local celebrity status, it began [in the spring of 2000] when Mr. Hoag noticed a coyote had killed a mother groundhog on his property. A day later, he "discovered" Hucky, then about 3 weeks old. He took him to the house where he and his wife, Terri, nursed him to health, and he's been their house pet ever since."

"Hucky came close to not being able to make his prediction this year. After last year's festivities, state wildlife officials confiscated him because the Hoags didn't have a license to keep him. He was returned a few days later because the peanut-butter-and-toast-munching critter was too tame to make it on his own."

The story has a bit more to it. Ask Charlie or Terri some time. It's illegal to own an animal like a groundhog. I guess the rule of law has to apply. I think some dweeb finked on the Hoags in 2002. The person who showed up to take Huck told Charlie that either Charlie or the groundhog would be hauled away.

Huck was taken away to be rehabilitated and released back in the wild. Fat chance brainiacs. Huck had been a pet of the Hoags for almost two years.

After Huck was confiscated, Charlie spoke with someone who knew someone who knew someone in Columbus, and the order came down from above to give Huck back to the Hoags and issue the Hoags the proper permit to legally own Huck. Plus, I think it was obvious even to the rehab people that Huck wasn't going to easily give up eating peanut butter and toast, potato chips, fish crackers, and gerbil food.

Huck sleeps from November to April, so being rousted from a three-month nap isn't easy for Huck. Huck sleeps in the basement in a small pet carrier or a cat litter box filled with towels, and this carrier/box sits inside a dog cage.

People started arriving at the Hoag's home around 7:00 a.m. Charlie brought the Huck cage upstairs into the livingroom. We hung out in the livingroom and kitchen, chatting, watching Huck sleep, drinking coffee, and eating doughnuts. Then a little before 8:00, it was time to head outside.

Huck trying to sleep and dreading going outside.

Every now and then, Huck would poke his head up and look around as if saying, "Oh no, not again." Then he would try to bury himself in the towels.

Appropriately decorated cupcakes were available for consumption.

It's time. Everybody outside. After Charlie pulled Huck from the coziness of his box, the two are either sharing a touching moment or Huck is threatening Charlie to never do this again.

This picture was taken after the celebration was over and is posted out of order to show what Huck's weather station looks like and where we gathered to watch.

First, Charlie placed Huck inside the little cave.

Second, Charlie pulls Huck from the little cave and poses for a photo op.

Third, Charlie placed Huck on top of the whatever it's called, and this is Huck making his forecast.

I guess the offical ruling was Huck saw his shadow even though it was cloudy, but it didn't matter. This morning's temps were comfortable, no wind, didn't need gloves, Huck was well-behaved, less grumpier than usual. Good times. Seeing the shadow means six more weeks of winter. If it's like the last five weeks, who cares?

The little boy in the upper right corner didn't approve of Huck's forecast because he started crying. Huck is either trying to comfort the boy or he's telling the boy something like, "Look pal, I'm the one woken from a three-month nap, so who are you to complain?"

You can't escape politics no matter where you go or what you're doing. After making his forecast, Huck decided to address the crowd and announce he's running for Lucas County Commissioner. Huck started his speech with, "My people." If elected, Huck promises to make the speed limit on every road only 5 mph to protect fellow groundhogs. He definetly has the varmint vote locked up.

A group photo of most of the people attending this morning's festivities. These are also the people on Huck's campaign staff.

The gracious hosts of the Groundhog Day celebration: Terri, Charlie, and Huck.

Huck is a handful. He's short-hair slippery, squirmy, and quick. But you can pet him on his back.

After all the photos and yucking it up outside, Charlie took Huck inside the house and put him back in the cage. Huck collapsed. He was tuckered out. After a while, he finally crawled back in the box of towels, curled up in a ball, burried his face, and went back to sleep.

posted by jr to weather at 2:43 P.M. EST     (5 Comments)

tags:   GroundhogDay   HollandHuck  

Related Topics
Celebrate Groundhog Day with Holland Huck - February 1, 2007
Holland Huckleberry predicts early spring - February 3, 2003
Holland Huck: no shadow, early spring - February 2, 2004

Comments ...

Alas, Punxsutawney Phil did not fare so well today, and efforts to revive him failed.
posted by Subcomandante_bob at 02:55 P.M. EST on Thu Feb 02, 2006     #

That was awesome Jr, thank you. I had no idea I was living in such close proximity to such a star.


posted by psyche777 at 04:50 P.M. EST on Thu Feb 02, 2006     #

Pretty cool story.
posted by Foolkiller at 02:58 A.M. EST on Fri Feb 03, 2006     #

I quote from a Blade 2003 story above where it says:

"After last year's festivities, state wildlife officials confiscated him ..."

Obviously, that should have been edited to say:

"After [the 2002] festivities, state wildlife officials confiscated him ..."

posted by jr at 08:58 A.M. EST on Fri Feb 03, 2006     #

I was recently told that the official Groundhog forecast goes like this: If the Groundhog sees his shadow, there will be six more weeks of winter. If the Groundhog doesn't see his shadow, we can expect spring in six weeks.

With such expertise at covering all bases, it's no wonder Huck would be running for political office! :)

posted by valbee at 10:15 P.M. EST on Fri Feb 03, 2006     #

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