t’s the most wonderful time of the year!
No, I’m not talking about Christmas, you silly geese. I’m talking about the one and only Groundhog Day! Also known as the biggest holiday in February in my books—although Shrove Tuesday is a close second. (No need to worry, readers; I’ll write something on pancakes for that week’s Editor’s Corner!)
I absolutely love Groundhog Day. Punxsutawney Phil and his shadow (or lack thereof) never fails to amuse me. Groundhog Day is a celebration so quintessentially American precisely because it “makes no damn sense,” according to my father–the resident grump in the family.
“How is a groundhog supposed to predict the weather? He always gets it wrong.” Geez, nothing gets past you, dad.
To celebrate the reason for the season, I watched the iconic 1993 film “Groundhog Day” starring Bill Murray and Andie Mac-Dowell. While watching the film, I found myself gaining a newfound sense of gratitude for those brave souls who venture out into broadcast journalism as a career.
I’ll be frank: I simply cannot imagine being on television like Phil Connors. Not because I hate Groundhog Day, of course, but because when I was a freshman in college I once went to an informational meeting for my school’s student on-air news organ and felt absolutely exhausted at the end of it. Reporting live on TV is a lot harder than it looks, and you always have to look and sound impeccable. Back then, I concluded that I’m not cut out for the busy limelight, even if it’s just reporting on a groundhog seeing his shadow.
Different strokes for different folks, I suppose. The good news is, there is always plenty of fun, interesting stuff going on in Bryan County for me to write about for print–so I don’t feel like I’m in an endless time loop where I’m trying to avoid an old high school classmate and an icy pothole on the way to work.
Going buck wild for Buc-ee’s
Speaking of brown animal mascots, let’s talk about Buc-ee’s. Last weekend, the Texas- based convenience store chain officially broke ground at a new location down south in Brunswick–a massive, 74,000 sq ft. store with 120 fuel pumps just off Hwy 99 and I-95. It’s reportedly going to be the nation’s largest Buc-ee’s store, and is set to bring around 200 full-time jobs to the area when it opens sometime in early 2025. (Forget Hyundai, when is Pembroke going to get a Buc-ee’s?)
I was informed of this breaking news by my brother, who is, above all else, a total spendthrift– as evidenced by his TokyoTreat candy subscription. He regularly stops at the Bucee’s location in St. Augustine whenever he’s driving home from one of his big photography gigs in central Florida.
And just last weekend after a trip to Orlando, he brought me a plushie of the Bucee’s mascot as a gag gift, and I didn’t know whether to laugh or chuck it out my bedroom window.
Luckily, the beaver was spared a terrible fate, and he found a place on my desk at work. (I named him Bailey–Bailey the Beaver! I wanted to keep up the art of alliteration.)
Andrea Gutierrez is the editor of the Bryan County News