This I Believe

Kelley - Baltimore, Maryland
Entered on July 20, 2006
Age Group: 18 - 30

Go Ahead and Laugh at Groundhogs

I believe it’s o.k. to go ahead and laugh hysterically at groundhogs.

When I was a child, I was always angry; angry at the microwave for overcooking my bagel, angry at my pile of shoes for tripping me, angry at my life for being so unfair.

My mother was always laughing- at me. The angrier I was, the harder she would laugh- and I thought she was crazy for it. She would laugh at my rubbery bagel and then throw it away and get me a new one. She would pick up my shoes, playfully stick them near my nose, laugh, and then put them in my closet. And then there was what she called the crazy girl eyes. She would smile with her mouth wide open and her eyes bulging. I would always shout,

“Ew! Stop mom. You’re creepy!” But, every time she did it, I would burst out in uncontrollable laughter moments later.

Once, I was sitting in my room, staring at the wall when all of the sudden my mom was shouting at me,

“Kel! Come here! Look outside, quick!” I moped into her bedroom, and then peered out through the blinds, not particularly enthusiastically. And there it was- fat, hairy, and short, awkwardly waddling across our street towards the woods, in a way that looked almost like slow motion.

“Ew Mom. That’s stupid looking!” I said, turning away in disappointment.

“Just watch it Kel!” She said, with a chuckle. Looking out the window again, I caught a glimpse of the groundhog’s two big front teeth, sticking out above its furry jaw, right before it disappeared into the brush. I squealed with pleasure at its big old’ buck teeth; my mother and I both burst out in laughter a moment later.

I still think my mom’s a little crazy. But, she does have a good philosophy.

Driving home from college a few weeks ago, I spotted a groundhog curled up on the side of the road. Sitting up in my seat, I quickly realized that it was dead, with splotches of red staining its coat. Its front teeth were protruding out in a way that never ceased to give me a good, belly laugh. I was utterly sad for a moment or two. Without really thinking, I said a prayer for the little guy. And a moment later, I prayed again. I prayed to see more groundhogs, romping around in the years to come.