Michael Wilcox, Publisher/Editor
As some would say, “much to do about nothing.” That is how I would capsulate my Great American Total Eclipse experience.
Like most everyone else I was caught up in the hubbub. I scrambled the last few days to get safety glasses which was made nearly impossible when Amazon recalled many that they had sold. I read the news reports how thousands were migrating to Oregon or Kentucky to get the best view of the total eclipse that hasn’t hit the United States in decades. As we term it these days, it truly was a media circus.
Or so it seemed. I sent my 15-year-old son over to the library the day off, to sponge a couple pair of free glasses provided by NASA. When he got there, the line was long and the glasses were longer gone. He resorted to Google and making his own version. With a cereal box, tin foil and scissors it was quite easy although the contraption reminded me of a kindergarten project more than something that was going to protect us from the sun.
I turned on the NASA channel and we proceeded to watch the amateur commentators explain what was happening as the moon passed by the sun and the town of Salem, Oregon became pitch black. The dozens of people that had gathered there were clapping and cheering as they looked skyward with their glasses. It was an awesome sight, albeit it only was visible for a couple of minutes.
I was fascinated by the eclipse but less than enamored with the NASA commentary and feeble crowds. The media had told us the highways would be full, as people made their way to Oregon. Obviously the hype was well, just that, hype and nothing else because the freeways were not full and the crowds were not as estimated.
The same held true as the total eclipse passed Idaho, Missouri, Kentucky, and so on. As it got closer to the witching hour where my son and I were, we made our way outside in anticipation of catching a great glimpse. It wasn’t going to be total- 100 percent, but it was going to be close- 90 percent.
As I’m squinting up to the sky looking for street lights to come on and the world around me to blacken, one of my reporters walked by and said “did you see it.? What did you think?
I answered, “What I’m still waiting. I’ve noticed very little change in the sky and the sun is still very bright.” She said, “You dummy it has come and gone. Didn’t you notice?”
That was my total solar eclipse experience. Without eyewear or homemade gizmos I was looking directly at the sun looking for the moon to pass, and the sky to get dark. It never happened. Nor did I lose my eyesight or damage my sight. Heck I had terrible sight to begin with, so any damage would probably go unnoticed anyways.
After watching Salem, Oregon and Idaho Falls, Idaho I expected much more where I was. But it really was much to do about nothing. I viewed it, but didn’t even know I was seeing it. Jeez wouldn’t I make a great science teacher? Not!