In Honor Of Groundhog Day: Friday Flashback

Friday Flashback Blog Post from…I dunno…..a long stinkin time ago:

Mrs. Flansburg, Your Groundhog is Causing a Ruckus! 
Ah, residential living.
Here in the hoppin metropolis of Baxter, we enjoy wildlife on a day-to-day basis. Squirrels run amuck, fat robins hop around, and there’s even been an occasional deer raiding our birdfeeder. But none were more memorable than PHIL. 
Phil was a groundhog (woodchuck to you Minnesotans)….and may I say he was a honkin BIG groundhog. About the size of cocker spaniel to be exact. My hubby claimed on more than one occasion that he was the biggest groundhog he’d ever seen. Most people would have freaked and called the DNR.  Not us. Not only did we embrace this critter’s presence in our backyard by naming him (“Phil” as in “Punxsutawney Phil”), the kids would eagerly watch for him daily. We collectively agreed Phil could live in our backyard in peace and tranquility as long as he behaved himself. 

Someone forgot to get Phil the “behave” memo.

He was a good little groundhog for two weeks. Then he started getting brave. And naughty. Slowly reports from adjoining neighbors filtered in that Phil had been up to no good. Raiding gardens and digging holes in yards deep enough to trap elephants. Our neighbor’s tones changed from amusement, to annoyance. 
We began to get worried. 
I had a dream one night that I answered a knock on the door, only to find a police officer on my front step. Not a regular cop mind you, a motorcycle cop with the white helmet, mirrored shades, and the puffy pants.
 
“Mrs. Flansburg,” he barked sternly. “Your Groundhog is causing a ruckus!”
That was the last straw. Phil was going to have to find a new place to reside.
Phil’s reign in our backyard came to an end a few days later when my hubby spotted him up on his hind legs, clinging to the chicken wire surrounding our garden, eyeballing the forbidden feast like he just discovered the Salad Bar of the Century. Bub-bye Phil.
When the kids asked why Phil hadn’t been around, we just said he was probably out chucking wood (“how much wood can a woodchuck chuck if a woodchuck could chuck wood”) and they seemed fine with that. Within days they found a new object of desire, a family of toads living under the front step. We breathed a sigh of relief at the lack of “Phil-drama” and concentrated our efforts on keeping the toads outside…where they belong.
The neighbors too were silent again because, let’s face it, you just don’t hear many reports of rogue toads ravaging neighborhoods.  But I do miss Phil. The memory of him waddling around the yard, the sun glinting of his red-brown fur…priceless.
Finding toads stuffed in pockets and under the couch..not so much.
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