For almost a year I planned to attend the Total Eclipse of the sun in Nebraska where I have family. My first mistake was booking our tickets for the wrong dates. I expected the airline to take a bite of my bank account to change the tickets, but due to a glitch in their computer system, they had no record of my purchase, even though I had a confirmation number and my credit card had been charged. Hmmm.
After I received a credit on my charge card, I re-booked our flight. The Sicilian and I were ready. Him, not so much since Spot the Wonder dog had to be boarded for 10 days.
Meanwhile my son, an amateur astronomer, was spending hours and hundreds of dollars to make his telescope set up portable. Not a small feat as you can see, but he was ready long before August 21.
My girl friend and I, who love to have theme parities, were planning the Great Eclipse Party. Our selected spot for the venue was a family farm 35 miles south of Lincoln, NE. Between us we had created unique party favors, made eclipse sandwiches and cookies, bought champagne, Sun Chips and Moon Pies. We were ready.
Two days before the event, every weather forecast from South Africa to Nova Scotia said eastern Nebraska would be covered in clouds. I lived in Nebraska for years. Clouds in August are as common as tornadoes at the north pole, and yet were forecast.
My son located a second private spot for our party 100 miles west of Lincoln where better viewing might be possible. We waited until 7 a.m. on Aug 21 to decide where to set up for the big event. The weather reports indicated clouds in both locations, so we opted for the 35 mile drive.
My son had brought guns to shoot in this remote location to pass the time. And the Sicilian found ditch weed while we waited for the event to start.
At 11, the clouds parted. Cheers and solar glasses were donned. Champagne was poured. The Sicilian broke into a spontaneous dance. My son took an excellent picture of the moon starting to cover the sun, and then the damn weatherman was right. Clouds
Twenty minutes before totality, 8 of us zoomed off in different directions hoping to get a glimpse of totality. Nada, zip, zilch, zero. We stopped along a country road at 1:02 p.m. Darkness, crickets, but no view of the sun. Less than ½ mile away we heard a huge crowd in a park away gasp as they saw totality.
My disappointment was huge and compounded by the fact that people at the viewing site 100 miles west of us had a great view. For once I should have believed those lousy weathermen. Bummed, totally.