Groundhog Day MAG

By Teresa Rivas, Riverton, NJ

   My first road trip changed me forever. I was a senior, in the middle of a very difficult year when my best friend and I decided to get away from it all and take a trip. For our first solo sojourn we chose Punxsutawney, Pennsylvania, Groundhog Day weekend.

Early on the frosty morning of February 1st we set out on the six-hour pilgrimage. Instantly we felt the freedom and excitement of the open road. Neither of us had ever been there before, but with me at the wheel and my best friend as navigator, we fared well through scary rest stops, pumping our own gas, and a rebel tractor trailer driver from Nebraska who would not let us pass.We loved every second. But our adventure was just beginning, and by its end I came to understand why they had chosen to make "Groundhog Day," the movie about a strange twist of fate set in Punxsutawney, because there truly is something intangible and inexplicable at work there.

Our first stop in that town was to get souvenirs. Just as we were walking out of a store, a news crew from "Good Day Philadelphia" walked in. At first they ignored us,but when we explained we were from Burlington County, New Jersey, they put us on the air! After this television debut we ate at McDonald's, leaving our car there while we saw a showing of "Groundhog Day."

When we came back it was so cold our key snapped in half as we tried to open the door. It was already after nine, and we went on a wild goose chase trying to find a store that made keys. Finally we asked the police for help and they drove us around trying to find an open store, but again without luck. They ended up calling one of their own locksmiths, but when he arrived he spoke with such a rural accent we could not understand him. Apparently he could not help us, because he left.

By then we were cold and frantic, and we tried to flag down the police again, but they thought we were saying hello, so they waved back and drove on. Daunted, we considered taking a taxi to our hotel 20 miles away, but we didn't want to miss Phil, Prognosticator of Prognosticators, we had traveled 300 miles to see.

Finally the locksmith returned and we listened carefully as he told us to wait at the local hardware store because he had called the owner, who was also his friend, to come to help us. When he arrived and fixed our key, free of charge, his name was none other than Bill Murray, just like the star of"Groundhog Day"! As we drove to the motel, we could not believe what had happened. The next morning we got up at five to see Phil, but I will never forget that fateful Groundhog Eve when through the strangest chain of events - I got on TV, rode in a police car, and was saved by Bill Murray in Punxsutawney!

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i love this so much!


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