Groundhog Day Festivities to Take Place Monday, February 3 … Really!

For Immediate Release: 
Jan 16 2003

Groundhog Day Festivities to Take Place Monday, February 3 … Really!

Athens, W.Va. - Concord Charlie’s weather prediction will be made Monday, February 3 . . . albeit a day later than Punxsutawney Phil, but hey, our source is more reliable!

The prediction will take place at 8:00 a.m. in the College Center Cafeteria Annex on the Second Floor. Cost for the breakfast is $6.50—a real bargain considering you will hear first-hand, a gen-u-ine weather prediction from a real-live college president … who listens to groundhogs!

Concord College is readying ham and eggs—a veritable Appalachian feast—for the hundreds of participants who will gather for the 25th Annual Groundhog Day Breakfast on the Campus Beautiful.

This year, the Grand Groundhog Watcher will be Dr. Jay Banks, a retired physician who currently resides in Union, West Virginia, with his wife Martha Ann (Marty).

“After reading the long list of the notable Grand Groundhog Watchers, I feel very insignificant,” stated Dr. Banks. “I hope I can approach their degree of “Watching.”

Banks wrote House Calls in the Hills: Memoirs of a Country Doctor in 1997. The book is available at The Open Book in Lewisburg and Walden Books at Crossroad's Mall in Beckley and Mercer Mall. It is also available at Barnes and Noble, or can be ordered directly from Mountain State Press, University of Charleston, 2300 MacCorkle Ave. SE, Charleston, WV 25305.

Dr. Banks will have copies of his book available for sale at the breakfast.

Mountain State Press is presently considering another manuscript, Trophies I Can't Hang on the Wall, written by Banks.

“Writing House Calls started back when I was in practice in Beaver and I started ‘keeping a journal,’” stated Banks. “That didn't last but a week or so before it got put aside, but always with the intention of getting back to it. I started writing down lists of things and names to remind me of other things, about ten years ago, and eventually the book came together. Donna Lewis, one of the editors, was taken with the opening paragraph where I had just begun [my] practice, and asked to start the book right there and I agreed. She made a good decision, I think, except she also asked me to take out some of the last [portion of the manuscript] which she said was ‘too preachy.’ It was preachy, I'll admit, but with reason. It chastised younger physicians for neglecting the Art of Medicine, which was taught for thousands of years. In everyday, modern parlance, it is called ‘bedside manner.’ I still got in a few digs though. [As a physician] I was inspired by my father who was a physician, and I am honored by the fact that my son, Jim, elected to do family medicine . . . .

“Some day I might redo the part that was cut out [of this book], and I'm going to insist on ‘being preachy.’”

“I’m looking forward to the advice that Doctor, or perhaps I should say ‘Preacher’ Banks will give us,” chuckled Concord President and Weather Prognosticator Extraordinaire Jerry Beasley.

Cost for the breakfast is $6.50, payable at the door or in advance. For more information or to make reservations, call 1-304-384-5348 / 6056 or e-mail


Charlie’s Notables: An old Scottish couplet predicts: If Candlemas Day is bright and clear, there be two winters in the year. February 2 is the ancient date for the Christian celebration of Candlemas. A tradition among European settlers in America developed that if the groundhog sees his shadow on the morning of February 2, he is scared back into his burrow and takes spring with him, producing six more weeks of winter.