… And Cal has good news

By on February 5, 2014

Cocalico Cal makes his way to the stage in Ephrata’s Tom Grater Park to deliver what turned out to be very good news about spring.  (Photo by Stan Hall)

Cocalico Cal makes his way to the stage in Ephrata’s Tom Grater Park to deliver what turned out to be very good news about spring. (Photo by Stan Hall)

With the winter of 2013-14 bringing more snow than anyone can remember, local citizens are eager to be released from the dreadful Polar Vortex, and that most likely is the reason approximately 200 residents went to the Ephrata Park on Saturday morning to see Cocalico Cal.

Ephrata’s own groundhog has achieved “Rock Star” status with a cult of people who hate cold weather and come to the chilly park every year to hear his prognostication. His papal-like infallibility is not questioned because he is the only “grundsau” who has been correct for the past 11 years.

This year’s event was underwritten by corporate sponsor Martindale Airlines. As people entered the park, they enjoyed coffee and doughnuts at the Eicher House, while the Boston Symphony Orchestra was performing a medley of polkas in the park bandshell. Many brought items for the Ephrata Area Social Services Food Bank. The pageant was broadcast live on WHOG radio by well-known DJ “Bee Bop” Martin. Genial local attorney and politician A. Anthony Kilkuskie served as master of ceremonies.

Last year, Cal’s lodge, the Lincoln Lodge of the Maximus Marmot, had presented the miraculous “Weather Rock” as a gift to the community. It is an ancient boulder suspended on a tripod constructed of petrified cypress, which helps Cal predict the weather. It will remain in the park forever. When an uninvited guest, Groundhog Gus, (former lottery ticket promotional mascot) caused a ruckus during the ceremony last year, he was placated with an official position of caretaker of the Weather Rock. With little evidence that Gus had dusted and polished the Weather Rock during its first year in the park, Gus was fired and dispatched to the taxidermist Saturday.

As Lodge Potentate Geoffrey Simmons was giving his annual “State of the Lodge” speech, a Russian appeared. It was rumored to be DelMar Putin, second cousin, twice removed, of the leading Russian administrator. He had come to America to entice Cocalico Cal to go to Russia to help with the planning for the Winter Olympics by forecasting temperatures and snowfall amounts. Cal then arrived carrying the Olympic torch, accompanied by U.S. Olympic team members but his “friend” (shyster lawyer) Attorney Hinnershitz demanded money from the Russian as Cocalico Cal’s agent. He had enough cash to satisfy Hinnershitz and Cal then proceeded with his prognostication for the weather in Pennsylvania Dutch, which translated is “And so we gather here today….under skies so dark and gray….you guys are pumped for spring I hear…well party on; it’s fairly near.”

The grande finale was the Initiation Rite of Immersion for the new “Lodge Baby.” The crowd followed Little Tommy Haldeman to the Cocalico Creek where he was ceremoniously dunked. When he surfaced, he was a full-fledged member of Ephrata’s groundhog lodge. With passport in hand, Cocalico Cal left the park to go to the airport, and by now, his Martindale Airlines steam powered jetliner has landed in Sochi.

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