Well folks, I tried to see the Great American Eclipse.
I drove 1,530 miles (round trip) to St. Joseph, Mo. Despite electronic signs warning of heavy traffic, I never encountered it traveling to my destination. In Edmond, Okla., a man from eastern Kansas said they were expecting one million people in St. Joe. Does they make me one in a million?
Sunday afternoon Wichita, Kan. was like a ghost town. I could have sworn it was Christmas noon as I was hard pressed to find many cars.
I avoided the large viewing areas because, in the words of Charlie Brown, "I love humanity, it's people I can't stand." Although the weather forecast was for rain and overcast skies, the St. Joe's Chamber of Commerce reported that since 1995 they've only had one overcast day on August 21. So, now they have two. It rained and was cloudy. About 11:50 a.m., the clouds parted and I did see the first bite of the moon's shadow covering about 25 percent of the sun. I did get to experience the 2 minute-38 seconds of sudden darkness, which was awesome and a little creepy. After that, the clouds continue to obscure my vision. I saw nada, nothing, zip, zilch, a big fat zero.
Since bad weather was forecast for both Missouri and Kansas, I headed back to my motel in Salina, Kan. At the Missouri River state line the warnings of heavy traffic became reality. I was in bumper-to-bumper traffic for one and half hours. Since I was stuck and the sky was semi-sunny, I donned the eclipse glasses from the driver's seat and viewed the last 25 percent of the moon's shadow as it left the sun.
I returned safely to Kansas and headed to Corinth, north of Dallas on Tuesday morning. My cousins got to witness 75 percent of the eclipse using the glasses I had given them. About noon on Wednesday, I returned to my home. In less than 48 hours, I had gone from Near Totality to Absolute Normality - mowing the grass, grocery shopping and doing laundry.
At least in 2024 I only have to go into my own backyard to see the next eclipse.
I'm calling it the Great Texas Eclipse as in Texas everything is bigger and better. Yahoo!
Wyscarver is a retired teacher living in Temple and a former teacher of Robstown ISD.