When I was a junior in high school I found myself in a haphazardly thrown together group for a girl’s choice dance. Other than Emily, my best girlfriend, and her date, I barely knew any of the other group members — including my date. It was just one of those weird circumstances that was destined to be an awkwardly long evening that would be followed by weeks of avoiding one another. Such is high school. The only saving grace was that the dance was happening on Groundhog Day.
Emily and I were able to veto the other girls’ suggestions of bowling and scavenger hunts and convinced them that the only appropriate thing to do was to celebrate this quirky, under-appreciated holiday. It was a crazy idea, and had a large potential to backfire on us producing not only an awkward date, but a lame one. Still, we knew where a conventional date’s path would lead us, so we gambled that a little insanity might make a positive difference.
The date started with a short lesson on the history of Groundhog Day and was followed with each couple making a flag out of old sheets and painting Groundhog Day memorial rocks. We went on a memorial march at the local gravel pit where we climbed to the top of a hill, shared our most sacred thoughts about this special day, and piled up our rocks. Following dinner we enjoyed a screening of Groundhog Day and finally went to the dance. It was a carefree, silly evening. There wasn’t much talking, but there was plenty of laughter. No one hooked up after the date and honestly no new friendships were even formed, but every time we saw each other in the hall we were able to make eye contact, share a genuine smile, and chuckle quietly to ourselves.
I’ve celebrated Groundhog day every year since; this year marks the 8th annual celebration. The holiday has livened hard weeks of studying, put a smile on my face during anti-Valentine’s Day Februarys, and warmed my heart during the dead of winter. Every time I pull my Groundhog Day flag out of storage I’m reminded that it’s the little things in life that are worth living for, that sometimes being a little crazy is the only way to keep your sanity, and that attitude makes all the difference.
I hope you all have a wonderful Groundhog Day!