Let Willy Be

A Geezer’s Notebook, By Jim Foster

I was horrified to read in the Toronto Star on February 1, that some yo-yo is suggesting we pension off Wiarton Willy and replace him with a raccoon.

Please forgive me for waiting so long to protest this heartless attack on one of our dearest and, no doubt, Wiarton’s only famous citizen, but when I first read this atrocious suggestion, and surely that is what it is, I went into a blue funk so serious I had to be committed to six weeks in a rubber room for an assessment by an eminent psychiatrist, or failing that, given an enema. The original doctor’s handwriting was so unbelievably bad no one could decipher it, so just to be safe I was given both.

Now as I was raving, what an asinine idea it is! To even think of such an idiotic proposal is not only abominable and underhanded to say the least, it is a clear violation of several Provincial labour laws and possibly Mr. Willy’s rights as set out in the Canadian Charter of Rights. You can’t just fire someone or something without cause.

Let us first discuss the cruelty of this suggestion. Mr. Willy applied for this position some years ago shortly after his predecessor died during a particularly violent mating session. Wilhelmina, his betrothed was still in a state of hibernation, and never heard him say ‘Willa, dear, are you awake?’ Had he lived he probably would have rethought his approach and nudged her first.

The present Mr. Willy sailed through the interview session, the medical, and the Q & A about his political affiliations. He was notified by registered mail that he was the official weatherperson until (and this is important) he was physically unable to carry out the duties of his profession. At that point he would receive a daily supply of water and greens, a small clothing allowance, and a bed of straw until death and he did part.

Our Mr. Willy has an exceptionally clean work history. He never missed a day on the job, was always available to be grabbed by the scruff of the neck and hauled out of his pen at the crack of dawn on the 2nd of February. There is no reason documented in his file that would justify letting him go, with or without, notice.

He, or one of his kin, have occupied the position since 1957 and all have done a stellar job. As an authority on the subject I can see no reason why the groundhog–weatherperson tradition should not continue.

I also see no reason not to allow Mr. Bradley Gates, a wildlife removal specialist, the right to suggest that a raccoon should be given the opportunity to apply for Mr. Willy’s position should the time come. However, Mr. Gates seems to have overlooked the fact raccoons are known thieves, particularly in urban areas. I mean take a look at them, they wear masks for heaven’s sake, and it isn’t even Halloween.

I’m afraid the Supreme Court will have to hold an emergency session and decide the issue should Mr. Willy pass on to his reward through natural causes, or by a session of over-exuberant romance like the late Mr. Willy, which by the way, he might prefer. For all we know groundhogs and praying mantises may practice the same mating habits. If they do I hope it doesn’t become a fad. Although at my advanced age I don’t know why I am worrying about it.

Mr. Gates and his daughter, who is quite a handsome person in her own right I might add, are adamant that the raccoon possesses all the qualities necessary to become excellent weather prognosticators and that may be so. They do hibernate, that’s true, and they do wake up at this time of year, but it isn’t the weather that awakens them it is the urge to mate.

I suspect if a couple in throes of passion are grabbed by the neck and hauled out of their den at dawn, the Mayor of Wiarton may not survive the ceremony. Also, raccoons are quite boisterous lovers (think cats and Catholics, only louder) from what I read in the article, the average Canadian may not enjoy waking up to sounds of eight-legged passion. I know I used to live next door to a lovely young couple and some mornings; perhaps that is a story for another time.

(Image Supplied)

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