by Bob Hazlett
“Wake up Phil”
“Have you forgotten?”
“I guess so. Why?”
“Today is the Fersommlinge,” said Nora, Phil’s wife.
“Oh, yeah. The shadow thing again”, groaned Phil.
The Fersommlinge Festival is an annual event held in several locations but most famously in Punxsutawney, Pennsylvania. Phil and his wife Nora accepted the task of organizing the celebration. Their charter was to make this day better than any Groundhog Day in history. A big task by any measure, so Phil and Nora had started early – almost a year ago.
For the most part, Groundhogs don’t travel. So getting the most famous to make the trip was a real chore. Phil sent invitations to several hundred. For example General Beauregard Lee from Stone Mountain, Georgia; Fred la Marmotte out of Quebec; Chattanooga Chuck from Tennessee. and many more.
Some were polite enough to RSVP, others not. So Phil and Nora were anxious about the probable attendance today. They expected those from nearby to attend such as Rosie from Dayton, Ohio and Huckleberry Holland also from Ohio.
Then there was Mrs G in from Lincoln, Massachusetts and T-Boy Nutria out of New Orleans who might be able to attend.
Of course, Octorara Orphie from Quarryville, Pennsylvania, and Buckeye Chuck from Marion, Ohio had no trouble getting there.
They were doubtful about those from far off; like Shubenacadie Sam from Shubenacadie, Nova Scotia, and Wiarton Willie all the way from Wiarton, Ontario. But Chuckles from Manchester, Connecticut, and Jimmy from Sun Prairie, Wisconsin had responded that they would attend. So did Pierre C. Shadeaux from New Iberia, Louisiana, and Bill newly relocated to Birmingham, Alabama.
Phil and Nora made their way to City Hall.
“Oh my,” exclaimed Nora, “our friends are here by the hundreds, and they took our advice and dug their holes in the soft well-manicured grass of the City Hall front lawn. Isn’t that a beautiful sight?”
“Oh, there’s Queen Charlotte and Sir Walter Wally from North Carolina. I didn’t expect them to make it.”, said Phil.
“… and over there is the New York crowd: Dunkirk Dave, Holtsville Hal, and Malverne Mel”, replied Nora.
Greta, from Chimney Rock, North Carolina, spotted Phil and Nora and hurried to greet them. After exchanging pleasantries, Greta asked, “How does this Fersommlinge work? I’ve never been to one.”
“Well,” explained Nora, “We are going to party all day, then when the shadows grow long we’ll have the ceremony.”
“What ceremony?” asked Greta.
“Oh, that’s the best part,” said Phil.
Nora couldn’t contain herself. “After work, when Mayor Richard Alexander, comes out of City Hall, if he sees a Protest, there will be six more weeks of winter.”
# # #
Flash Fiction Prompt: shadow, hole, groundhog. Word count: 442
Our Cast (in alphabetical order)
Birmingham Bill – Birmingham, AL
Buckeye Chuck – Marion, OH
Chattanooga Chuck – Chattanooga, TN
Chesapeake Chuck – Newport News, VA
Chuckles – Manchester, CT
Fred la Marmotte – Quebec, Canada
Gen. Beauregard Lee – Lilburn, GA
Greta – Chimney Rock, NC
Holtsville Hal – Long Island, NY
Huckleberry Holland (“HuckyToo”) – Holland, OH
Jimmy – Sun Prairie, WI
Malverne Mel – Long Island, NY
Mrs. G. – Lincoln, MA
Norristown Nora – Montgomery County, PA
Octoraro Orphie – Quarryville, PA
Pierre C. Shadeaux – New Iberia, LA
Punxsutawney Phil – Punxsutawney, PA
Queen Charlotte – Charlotte, NC
Rosie – Dayton, OH
Shubenacadie Sam – Nova Scotia, Canada
Sir Walter Wally – Raleigh, NC
T-Boy – New Orleans, LA
Wiarton Willie – Ontario, Canada