July 1, 2012
My name is John Griffiths. For those of you who don’t know me I am one of two people known as Phil’s Handlers. For those of you that do know me, my sincerest apologies. I am writing this, the inaugural edition, of The Handler’s Ramblings. It is our hope to give you an inside view of what it is like to take care of the "World’s Most Famous Groundhog."
Phil does many appearances throughout the course of a year and we will delve into some of those in more depth, but for now let me just use a broad brush and try to paint a typical trip for you.
We usually make preparations the day before by moving Phil to an adjoining room just off the “Burrow”. This just helps speed up the process of moving him to his carrier for the trip. That is unless he has gotten out of the cage at some point through the evening before. When that occurs it quickly turns into a safari to find which nook or cranny he has decided to hide in. Upon locating him, (our hog senses tingle) we tell him that his adoring fans are waiting and offer him a granola bar. Not sure which of the two is the deciding factor, but he does come out. We then prepare his carrier with the best alfalfa hay money can buy. We set him up with a sumptuous gourmet breakfast and a bottle of the finest mountain spring water. We enclose a copy of our local newspaper and just lately, one of his favorite books. I had found a romance novel in the burrow and Ron Ploucha (co-handler) swore it was Phil’s. With carrier in the ready, it is now time to transfer Phil. While Phil loves to interact with his faithful followers, he is a bit of a prima-donna. We are required to brush his coat at least 200 strokes and his whiskers must be trimmed to his specifications. When that is done he will finally allow us to place him in the carrier. From that point on it is a waiting game to see when the rest of our brethren in the Inner Circle are going to show up in the “Philmobile”. It becomes a little tense at those times as Phil taps his paw and keeps a watchful eye on the clock. Upon their (usually late) arrival we load him into the “Philmobile” and on to a purple velour cushion for his ride to the destination.
I hope you enjoyed this as much as I enjoyed writing it. It is now your task to sift through this journal and decide what fact or exaggeration.