On Friday, I made my second excursion to see Buckeye Chuck with no more planning than the first and with worse timing. In 2016 I arrived long enough before sunrise to look around a little and down a free SPAM sandwich before the big event. I cut it a little closer this year and, while I did have a few minutes to wait, the SPAM (i.e., ground hog) sandwiches provided by local sponsors were all gone. To be honest, they weren’t entirely gone but the last few had been distributed moments before I arrived and all I could do was watch them disappear into the mouths of nearby spectators.
My arrival preceded sunrise by only about ten minutes and co-hosts Scott Shawver and Paul James filled the time with banter and guests including Marion Mayor Scott Schertzer. I’m guessing that Schertzer appears every year (he did in 2016) but this year he has a little extra claim to fame. Just two weeks ago, Cincinnatian Connie Pillich picked him as her running mate in her campaign for governor. Pillich is an occasional patron of the place where I eat pizza, drink beer, and play trivia. When James and Shawver polled the crowd to see who came the farthest, my shouted “Cincinnati” was the apparent winner but, because there was no one from out of state, not much was made of it. Actually nothing was made of it at all.
James and Shawver claim to alternate duties but, having only been here in two even numbered years, Shawver is the only one I’ve personally seen deal with Chuck. He bravely — it was 12 degrees Fahrenheit — stripped down to shirtsleeves and briefly studied the situation before announcing the obvious. In the bright sunlight. Buckeye Chuck couldn’t help but see his shadow and predict six more weeks of winter.
Before leaving town, I again satisfied my need for ground hog with sausage and eggs at Baires Restaurant then stopped by President Harding’s memorial. Look at those clouds and consider how much different Chuck’s prediction would have been if delivered just a short while later.