Craig Allen’s Punxsutawney Story
Phil the Groundhog saw his shadow Friday morning. Six more weeks of winter. Yadda, Yadda, Yadda! So, just when you thought you were done with stories from Punxsutawney, I have one more.
A few years before the 1993 Bill Murray movie made a stylized, fictional version of Punxsutawney a part of celluloid history, I passed through the real Pennsylvania town in a rather unique manner.
Instead of getting in the car and driving out to Madison Wisconsin (or flying) for my senior year in college (like a sane person), I decided to do the trek on my bicycle, with my father. Yes, over a thousand miles in the blazing summer sun. We'd get up at sunrise, and peddle til sunset, covering as many miles per day as possible. After all, I had to be in Madison on time to sign up for classes...
Up one hill, and down another, mile after mile we peddled the back roads...coasting into picturesque Punxsutawney one evening at sunset. We made our way down the main street until we saw a little restaurant. It was a pleasure to have a warm, sitdown meal! The food was really good, and the help was very pleasant...including the owner.
She asked where we were from, and where we were headed. We shared a few stories from along the way, and she shared the history of her hometown. It was a very pleasant conversation, and she was very taken with the idea of a father and son riding bikes together, cross-country.
When we tried to pay the check, the owner returned, and said that she would not take our money. She was honored that we would bike through her town, and that we would choose her restaurant! As I wrote in the card (on the left) a day or two later, there were many "random acts of kindness" along our way.
All these years later, I still feel a special connection to the home of Phil the Groundhog...and would gladly repeat that August day from all those years ago!
Oh...and I made it to college on time!