By Alkali Springs Correspondent
This week the total readership of this column (the two old bachelors from Cleveland) are burning with desire to find out if the Bear Paw groundhog, Marmaduke Marmot, saw his shadow or not and if there are to be six more weeks of winter.
As you out there in readership-land know, for the past 20-some years that Marmaduke has been predicting the end of winter or not, it has just been plain horrible to get anything out of him. Either he is drunk, lazy or both about getting to his door up White Pine Coulee on Feb. 2. As a result, predictions have been met with confusion and even anger and rage in some quarters.
It was apparent several years ago that the animal world and the muggle (human) world could not do a thing about Marmaduke.
So it came to pass that some of the White Pine garden gnomes suggested that they could send an owl all the way to Hogwarts in merry old England and contact someone like Harry Potter to do a spell (just a tiny spell, frankly), and get Marmaduke to be the kind of a marmot that north-central Montana expects him to be.
A message was owl-carried from the little people of Clear Creek along with the garden gnomes' and before you could say Slytherin, in came Harry Potter himself on his Nimbus Two Thousand broomstick.
He sat down with the gnomes, little people and furry brethren of the Bear Paws and listened to them tell of the despicable way in which Marmaduke Marmot has not done his job year after year after year.
Harry was aghast! Never in the history of the world had he heard of a marmot defying the animal, muggle and wizard world quite as badly as Marmaduke had.
Harry said that it was apparent that something had to be done that had not been done before. He suggested that at Hogwarts they train a hedgehog to predict Montana winters and then send him to White Pine along with his family to live and do the job that he was trained for. Further, he suggested that Marmaduke Marmot be left strictly alone and soon enough he would just leave the country and try predicting the weather in Great Falls or somewhere else where they are not particular about weather or weather predictors.
To the assembled masses, that sounded like a great answer to a decades-old problem. But what about this year, they asked in unison?
Harry Potter asked what they wanted the weather to be for the next six weeks after Groundhog Day?
All shouted that they wanted mild weather but snow, snow and more snow, to be followed by three weeks of nice gentle rains all night long and bright sunshine during the day.
Potter said some magic words, waved his wand around White Pine Gulch, and proclaimed that that is what is going to take place in this part of Montana this year.
With that he took off for Hogwarts on his Nimbus Two Thousand for he had end-of-quarter tests to take. He promised that by the middle of July, Norbert Hedgehog would be in place along with his family, as the predictor of all weather-related issues in this part of Montana.