It was twenty below zero, early in the morning, not a cloud around, the sky overhead like black velvet with stars everywhere, and there we all were, five thousand separate souls standing on a hilltop, waiting for the guest of honor.
A psychiatrist could have made a fortune that morning because we all needed to have our heads examined.
The scene was Gobbler’s Knob and we were in the court of the Royal Rodent.
Misery was the common denominator until we heard something that instantly united us.
The sound system started blaring, “Joy to The World!”
No. The other one with lyrics that went:
“Jeremiah was a bullfrog, and he said he was a friend of mine…”
Yes, Three Dog Night’s classic bridged the emotional gaps between us as we looked at one another, grinning, and started to jump straight up and down in time to the beat, ramrod straight, arms at our sides in a tribal dance.
It looked like mob scene Whack-a-Mole.
Then the music stopped abruptly and so did we. Punxatawny Phil came out of his burrow using one of his designated humans, blinked and squirmed and yawned toward the crowd, and we all went nuts, right on cue.
It was one of the dumbest things we had ever done.
And one of the best times we’d ever had.
Every now and then we need to do something supremely silly – to stay in touch with the part of us that causes uncontrollable giggling; the part of us incapable of anger, frustration, embarrassment, fear, or harm. The part of us that allows the kind of unrestrained joy that causes eyes to water, noses to run, and any differences between us to disappear.
It felt good that day. And still does.
Until next time, this is Jack Bogut.