It has not been a particularly grisly winter, but even the most ardent snow and ice fans start to get a bit twitchy around this time of year.

Winter in the northeast is nice if you like to ski and you live near a mountain. Other than that, it pretty much stinks. Snow and ice make traveling difficult and is impossible to walk or run on. The air hurts my face when I am outside and it gets dark so darned early. I am not a fan of this winter stuff. I am the quintessential summer baby.

This is why every Feb. 2 I look forward to Groundhog Day. This is a big-time event. Hundreds of people wake up before dawn to stand outside at Gobbler's Knob in Punxsutawney, Pennsylvania to see if the world-famous groundhog, Punxsutawney Phil will see his shadow and retreat back to his lair.

According to the legend, that would mean winter will extend for another six weeks. Should Phil not see his shadow and decide to hang out above ground for a while, we are in for an early spring. I am not exactly sure how all of this got started, but it has been going on for 132 years now. Seriously.

I am a sucker for tradition. I like it. Days like Groundhog Day are completely meaningless in terms of what will or will not happen with the weather for the next six weeks. But, it's a road marker on the journey during an otherwise dreary time of year. Groundhog Day brings hope for renewal and new beginnings. And it's fun.

For the record, Phil saw his shadow this morning. So, prepare for six more weeks of Winter...or maybe not. What the heck does a stupid groundhog know about the weather anyway?

At least the Patriots are in the Super Bowl on Sunday.

Editor's Note: Barry Richard is the afternoon host on 1420 WBSM New Bedford. He can be heard weekdays from Noon-3pm. The opinions expressed in this commentary are solely those of the author.

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