Mama's Not Scared of a Groundhog's Shadow

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Take the weather in the South as it comes.

One of Southern Mama's fine qualities—and she has many—is resilience. Mama is unflappable. No matter what the situation, she is a get-hold-of-yourself-and-take-charge kinda gal. No whining. She once put her turkey in the pressure cooker a little too late and forgot to remove the giblets altogether. Did she panic when she took the lid off and saw giblets floating around a semi-cooked bird just as 40 family members began arriving for Thanksgiving? No, she did not. She fired up that cooker and kept everybody entertained with coffee and conversation till her turkey was up to snuff.

So if you think some rodent in Pennsylvania can rattle her, think again. Mama knows there’s a good side and a bad side to everything, including Groundhog’s Day. You just have to focus on the positive. Or as Mama puts it, “Sometimes you’ve just got to back your ears and do things you don’t want to do.” (Like cleaning ashes out of the fireplace in March. Or serving on the church nominating committee.)

If you’re thoroughly put out with Punxsutawney Phil and his extended chill, Mama's got some great advice for you:

Winter weather lets us postpone three of our most dreaded moments of summer.

“Did the groundhog see his shadow?” Mama says. “Well, bully for him. Thanks to that rascal, it will be six more weeks before I have to try on a swimsuit, find cute summer tops that aren’t sleeveless (unless I somehow develop triceps by spring), or shop for self-tanner that won’t turn my legs orange.”

Two words: coat sale!

“We’ve all got sense enough to buy our dress coats in the off-season, but now we don’t have to wait till next winter to wear what we just got at 60 percent off—80 percent with coupons,” Mama says. “It’s like a little belated Christmas present to ourselves. See how nicely that works out?”

Now we’ve got more time to plan our gardens.

“I’m as guilty as anybody of getting carried away with the garden catalogs,” Mama confesses. “I usually start ordering before the red bows are off the mailbox at Christmas. One year, I got so enthralled with all those colorful pictures in the dead of winter that I somehow ordered 30 Better Boys, 15 Cherokee Purples, and enough daffodil bulbs to cover a cotton field. Six weeks for chilly reflection is not a bad thing.”

Let’s go to the beach, girls!

“No woman in her right mind wants to get cooped up in a condo with a bunch of bored teenagers who came to work on their tans but instead are stuck inside watching Netflix,” Mama points out. “That crew will stay home during winter weather. So this is a great time to get away with the girls. We don’t mind a winter forecast because we aren’t going to the coast to work on our tans. We’re going there to visit and eat shrimp when the restaurants aren’t crowded and we won’t have to make the early-bird special to get a table with a view.”

Six more weeks for Daddy to complete the honey-do list (as in, “Honey, will you do a few little things for me?”)

“It’s good for him to keep busy,” Mama smiles. “I told him painting the house would strengthen his golf swing. Bless his heart.”

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