From the assistant editor

Groundhog Day, Wiscasset style

Posted:  Wednesday, January 31, 2018 - 7:45am

I still enjoy watching Punxsutawney Phil prognosticate on Groundhog Day morning to Pennsylvanians. It’s edge of your seat television or radio or computer. Whether you believe he will get it right or not, he stands as good a chance as any of us predicting six weeks out, degreed in meteorology or not.

Wiscasset could use its own Groundhog Day, not the kind in the Bill Murray movie. No re-living of recent years’ issues over car-washing or road names. Those had important points and were resolved democratically and civilly, just as the differing views over parts of the state’s downtown project can continue to be, if not easily.

Wiscasset’s Groundhog Day – perhaps a Wolverine Day with an artificially intelligent stuffed animal mascot – could center on the predictions. Just as the mascot’s real life rodent contemporary has a 50-50 shot at being right, the faux wolverine could be  programmed to randomly select from two options.

Let’s make them fun: Will the next Fourth of July parade fall on another scorcher, or a cooler day uncharacteristic of recent years? If Maine Department of Transportation ever gives another site walk on its project, will the skies again open up with a deluge of rain the whole time, or will Mother Nature shine on the streets?

The best thing about Groundhog Day isn't really the prediction, of course. Some of us will have fingers crossed as always for an early spring, but it’s the coming together that makes the tradition fun. We’re all in the same boat, watching each year or catching the recap later, but enjoying a tradition that doesn’t happen to be religious or political. It is joyous in its silliness. And amid the debate over downtown, we could all use some community time, silly included.

Until a Wiscasset version of Punxsutawney Phil comes along, if ever, this week's new rounds of snow should benefit the silliness and other fun at Winterfest, Feb. 2 and 3 at Wiscasset Community Center.

Have fun, together.