General Beauregard Lee, Georgia’s version of Punxsutawney Phil, did not see his shadow today, signaling that spring may be less than six weeks away.
Awoken by the ringing of bells, TV camera lights and cheering, General Beauregard Lee emerged from his antebellum mansion at 7:35 a.m. Friday, went around to the back of his house before a crowd of 100 people and saw no shadow.
Beau’s northern colleague, Punxsutawney Phil, saw no shadow either.
Tradition holds that it means spring will come early. If the groundhog had seen his shadow, Georgia would have been in for six more weeks of winter.
“It’s hard to believe we’ll have six weeks of not bad weather,” said Art Rilling, owner of the Yellow River Game Ranch where the Georgia groundhog lives. “But that’s what he says, that’s what we’re going to live with.”
I know I am quite excited for “six weeks of not bad weather.” So how exactly do they get General Beauregard Lee to come out of that sweet Lilburn, Ga. mansion in the freezing cold?
Rilling said “Beau” comes out of the mansion on his own, but just before the annual forecasting event, a “scattered and smothered” supper dish of Waffle House hash browns is placed before his door to entice him to come out.
The warm winter prompted one change for the Georgia groundhog _ for the first time, he’s been sleeping in a hole that he dug in front of his house instead of inside his straw-filled mansion, Rilling said. But the groundhog moved back inside the mansion when weather turned cold again earlier this week.
But surely he cannot be right ALL of the time… can he?
No official records of Beau’s forecasts have been kept. His owners claim a 94 percent accuracy rating.
Close enough. So happy spring!