The Opening Scene: (Voice of Narrator, who has a British accent. After all, a good nature documentary will have a narrator who speaks with a British accent. Besides, I could’t get James Earl Jones to be the narrator.) “It’s midday. The groundhog awakes from a slumber. Or whatever it was doing. The groundhog is hungry. He begins a search for sustenance, which common folk know as food. However, I am British.”Scene Two: “The groundhog pauses...keeping very still...on the alert for predators, such as lions. Never mind that the nearest lion is thousands of miles away. But think of the drama which would ensue if a wild lion showed up in Union County. The groundhog looks around. He is peeved. He does not like having his picture taken.”Scene Three: “The groundhog can’t believe what is happening. Some idiot is still taking his picture. All he wants to do is find something to eat. And maybe take a nap.”Scene Four: “The groundhog makes a stealthy move. He waddles around the corner of a building. He is going to ditch the photographer. No matter what.”Scene Five: “The groundhog waddles to the far side of a hillock. He knows that nobody will find him there, because nobody in America knows what a hillock is. Again, I’m British. I am going to use strange and weird words that no American will understand. But, since I’m British, the words will sound quaint and Americans will think they are hearing something that sounds educated.”Scene Six: The documentary, mercifully, comes to an end. Music from “The Lion King” can be heard again. The viewer comes to his, or her senses, turns on the television and watches a British “football” game, which really isn’t football, no matter what millions of people around the world might say or think. Look at it this way: at least there weren’t any commercials.”

This week: the debut of 'The Groundhog King'*

Please read this. . .

This week, dear readers, you have an opportunity to experience a landmark chapter in the history of this column with the debut of our first nature documentary.

As far as I know, the newspaper has never presented a nature documentary. I suppose that’s mainly because it would be a little difficult to present a video on paper. Then again, who knows...maybe in 10 or 20 or a hundred years, such a thing will be possible...

The idea of creating the newspaper’s first documentary came to mind after The Other Half and I watched an episode of “Nature” one evening last week. 

The episode was about squirrels. I did not know that there was so much to learn about squirrels. For example, did you know there are approximately 12,000 species of squirrels? Well, there aren’t. I just made that up.

One species of squirrel does have a very unique way to scare away a rattlesnake. This is a good thing, because a rattlesnake would like to have a squirrel for lunch. Not as a guest. As the main course. If you want to know what the squirrel does, check out the “Nature” episode about squirrels, which you can find online.

 Enough about squirrels. Now, let’s get really nutty...

At this point, you are now required to use your imagination, mainly because it’s a little hard for me to share a sound track with you. So, in your mind, you are now hearing music from “The Lion King.” 

However, instead of a lion wandering around somewhere in Africa, our hero will be a groundhog, or woodchuck, wandering around somewhere in Union County.

In keeping with the sound track which is filtering through your mind, and won’t ever go away now, I guess we’ll call our documentary “The Groundhog King.” Or, if you prefer, “The Woodchuck King.”

One day last week, your intrepid documentary photographer happened to spot a groundhog doing whatever groundhogs do in the middle of the day. Mostly, the critter seemed to do its best to get away from the photographer.



*or, 'The Woodchuck King,' depending on what you happen to call the critter...

The Gazette-Democrat

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Anna, Illinois 62906
Office Number: (618) 833-2158

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