“Ground Hog” by The Watson Family


My mother grew up in Punxsutawney, Pennsylvania, where groundhog was served at a ceremonial dinner she attended in high school, but she declined to try it. In Virginia, where I live, I met a man who said he liked it pickled. In this song, groundhog is a treat (“They love that groundhog stewed and fried!”) and a springboard for embellishment: humor-filigree on a life of toil. “There’s two in a hole and one in a log; two for ma sugar baby, one for ma dog.”

You go out to shoot a rodent because the only food in the house is “a piece of bread laying on the shelf” and it’s an hour and a half until you come back with the meat, but when you do, your brood is elated and sated; what’s adventure, if not this? I hear a whole way of life within the boastful line “Make the best shoestrings ever was tied.” There are various versions; compare and yell along. As odd and perfect as Mother Goose, and as likely to stick to the ribs.

-Erika Howsare

HeadShot1Erika Howsare, with Kate Schapira, is the author of the collaborative book FILL: A Collection, published last year by Trembling Pillow Press. She has also published several chapbooks with horse less press and Octopus Books. She lives in the Blue Ridge Mountains.

Questions, compliments, (hopefully not) complaints?

Contact Jackie Clark: jackie [at] coldfrontmag [dot] com.

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