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Part of the Springer Praxis Books book series (PRAXIS)

Abstract

At precisely 8:27 a.m. on Monday, 2 February 1959, a skittish groundhog known as Punxsutawney Phil emerged from his burrow on Gobbler’s Knob and cautiously sniffed the chill morning air. He paused momentarily, blinked, and gazed around at the huddled crowd of beaming spectators surrounding his burrow, annoyed by a sudden burst of flashbulbs and excited cries of humans. He was the centre of attention that day, with a ridiculously simple task to perform, but one richly steeped in tradition and folklore. All that was required of him was an appearance at a time of his own choosing, which he had now performed. As expected, the gunmetal morning skies over Pennsylvania ensured that the little creature did not cast a shadow on the ground. His annual duty over and recorded for posterity on film, the celebrity groundhog snorted and beat a hasty retreat into the warmth of his burrow as the spectators erupted into more cheers and applause. Punxsutawney Phil had just made it official — he had not seen his shadow, so spring was just around the corner.

That same morning, four states away to the west, twenty-two-year-old Charles Hardin Holley was decidedly fed up, tired and frustrated as he gazed in annoyance through a frosted bus window at the passing snow-covered Iowa countryside. Better known to his legion of fans as Buddy Holly, his support acts and backing group The Crickets had joined him in criss-crossing the Midwest at a frantic pace in miserable conditions for rock-and-roll tour known as the “Winter Dance Party”. Some party, he mused: twenty-four Midwestern cities in three weeks, with long overnight travel in freezing conditions riding a tour bus that not only continually broke down, but also had a defective heating system. It was causing them massive problems. His regular drummer had already been in hospital with a severe case of frostbitten feet, and Holly knew that he had to do something. That evening they had a gig at the Surf Ballroom in Clear Lake, Iowa, and he was going to suggest that they charter a small aircraft to transport at least some of them to their next venue in Moorhead, Minnesota. It had to be far safer and more comfortable, he decided, than riding in a crowded, unheated and unreliable tour bus.

Keywords

Space Programme Marine Corps Selection Committee Naval Operation Civilian Space 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.

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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Bonnet BayAustralia

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