May we always value and protect the gift of freedom.
Make A Friend Day – February 11th
It’s always a great day to make a new friend. So it seems very fitting that there would be a “Make A Friend Day” on the calendar to complement so many other special appreciation sort-of-days. Personally, I have found there is no better way to make a new friend than with a nice, cold, delicious, locally brewed and bottled beer.
In my experience, any time I am giving out beer samples, people are usually up for at least a brief conversation, if not a much longer conversation that delves into the very meaning of life. It’s really a trust building exercise. They rely on my knowledge to let them try the beer I have, and to also guide them in recommending a beer to please themselves, a significant other, or a group of people for whom they are buying.
Beer permits a certain commonality between all types of people. You really get a feel for someone when you know what their beer-of-choice is and why they drink it. Craft beer or domestic? Full-flavor or light? Porter/stout, IPA, hefeweizen (wheat), or fruity-flavor beer? Do you like a shot and a beer? Those people aren’t messing around and are probably the toughest people you will come across.
Whether it is “Free Beer Friday,” “Turn Up Tuesday” (as the young-uns call it), “Thirsty Thursday,” or any other day of the week, a new friend in need, needs a beer, indeed. So go ahead and invite the neighborhood over, crack open a cold Iron City, IC Light, Blockhouse, or American. Or buy a stranger a beer at the bar, pay-it-forward, and make yourself a new friend. I’ll drink to that.
There are many groundhogs around the country that are said to be able to predict whether winter will stay or spring will come, but those in Pennsylvania recognizes that the original weather-predicting groundhog is the one-and-only, Punxsutawney Phil. Phil gives notoriety for an otherwise small town an hour and a half north-east of Pittsburgh. On February 2nd , throngs of people, many local, many from other parts of the state, and even some from all over the country, will travel to the “Weather Capital of the World,” Gobbler’s Knob. Many others will be watching intently by internet and TV for his prediction.
The tradition of having a groundhog wake from hibernation to see his shadow actually comes from folklore belonging to some of the original settlers of Pennsylvania: The Germans. On this day, if the weather were sunny, it was said that winter would have another go before giving way to spring. Likewise, if Punxsutawney Phil sees his shadow, he returns to his burrow for another 6 weeks of winter. Of course, if he doesn’t see his shadow, then we are to expect an early spring.
The famous Phil can be found in just about any direction you look in Punxsy. By the fire station, he is at the ready, dressed as a firefighter. At the library, he dons the stovepipe hat that his “Inner Circle” and handlers wear during his events. Other statues include Phil draped in an American flag, holding proud the key to the town, playing the bagpipes, and working hard as a carpenter, among many others.
Throughout the years, Phil has enjoyed a infamy, and perhaps a few Old German beers as well. (Hey, does anyone really know what’s in his “elixir of life” they give him every summer?). The Punxsutawney Groundhog Club (www.groundhog.org) even includes a fun-fact for all you alcohol aficionados out there: “During Prohibition, Phil threatened to impose 60 weeks of winter on the community if he wasn’t allowed a drink.”
Atta boy, Phil.