What does Phil know? Poor Richard predicts an early spring (somewhere)
If you are worried there will be six more weeks of winter, rejoice! Poor Richard says there will be an early spring.
Contrary to what his live cousin in Punxsutawney said Thursday, the taxidermized rodent of the York Slumbering Groundhog Lodge gave the good news to small band of followers at Elks Lodge 213 in York.
A tradition that dates back 95 years, the York Slumbering Groundhog Lodge has held this annual event to draw attention to our natural resources and preserving them.
While he was at it, Poor Richard also predicted the Philadelphia Eagles would win the Super Bowl.
Groundhog Lodge "Grand Communicator" George “Skip” Lehmann told of Poor Richard’s predictions with a bit a poetry. Lehmann has been with the Groundhog Lodge for the past 36 years, 30 of those as the top groundhog whisperer.
“We predict the weather through the means of Poor Richard, who is a taxidermied groundhog,” Lehmann said. “He sends his spirit down to us.”
Poor Richard also gets a little help from the Farmer’s Almanac, which has helped the lodge members predict correctly what will happen weather-wise for the next six weeks 93 of the 95 years they have done it.
While the overall prediction is for an early spring, depending on which region of the country, that may not be the case. Poor Richard predicted six more weeks of winter in the east, north and south. In the west, it will be an early spring.
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“This year, we’re going to be right and wrong,” Lehmann said.
While the York Slumbering Groundhog Lodge has a lot of fun with the event, the members have a serious side as well.
“Seriously, we want to protect our environment and that we also want to protect our own fellow man,” Lehmann said. “That’s not a joke. We really mean that. The funds that we raise go out to children’s charities or if there is a need in the community, we provide that money.”
Three new members, or “babies” as they are called, joined the groundhog lodge on this occasion. Dressed in a baby bonnets and bibs, Ruth Topper of Shiloh and Kitty and Scott Kurz of York took the club oath and cemented their allegiance to the club planting a kiss on Poor Richard.
Kitty and Scott Kurz weren’t too sure about kissing the groundhog.
“Our neighbor wrangled us into this and he’s out sick,” Kitty Kurz said.
Scott Kurz said the neighbor didn’t inform them about the baby gear or the kissing part. They still participated with fun in mind.
“We figured it would be fun to come down,” Scott Kurz said.
They came away with a patch and a membership card signifying their membership in the York Slumbering Groundhog Lodge.
“We are now members of the Slumbering Groundhog Lodge, York, PA, the third oldest lodge in the U.S.,” Kitty Kurz said. “How many people can say they're members of that?”