I was going to post last week and end by promising a post this week about my eclipse experience with mom, but she was a bit funky last week, so no time. So, here we are the day after the big show in the sky, and I have to say it was pretty amazing.
Back in, I think April? I bought paper glasses for mom and me, when nobody else was even thinking about it yet. Yes, I did my due diligence, and bought Rainbow Symphony, from the approved-by-science list. I was concerned she might get even more confused than usual, but she got the idea and was really fascinated and wanting to see it. Several weeks ago, I bought a little book about the event at Wal Mart, and lo and behold, it came with a pair of glasses. American Paper Optics, which are made right here in Tennessee, and are also on the accepted list. My aunt worked, but she and her work bff scheduled their lunch break so they could go out in the parking lot and watch, but she had no glasses. Boy, was she tickled when I produced a spare pair! lol.
Over the weekend, I cleaned our plastic patio chairs and went to the grocery. Nashville was ground zero, of course, the biggest city in the path of totality, and I knew traffic was going to be bat-crap crazy, so I didn't want to go any farther than my driveway on Monday. The Kroger on the corner had huge signs up in their windows ‘WE ARE SOLD OUT OF SOLAR ECLIPSE GLASSES’. hehe
So Monday came, I got my chores done while monitoring the TV and the sky. Late in the morning I went outside to test drive the glasses and was pleased to see nothing but a small orangy circle above me. The lady across the street has a small day care business, and she shepherded her little flock outside with a couple of moms as backup. They waved and flopped down in the front yard to look up.
Aaaaand mom took to her bed and dozed off and didn't want to get up. Okay fine. Event started right at 12 noon and I popped outside periodically to watch the progress: first a tiny divot out of one side, then bigger and bigger bites. By 12:30 or so, the quality of light was visibly different; by 1, colors were really beginning to look weird. At 1:15 I made one more try, Mom grunted. "Okay, I'm going out to watch, I'll be back in 20 minutes or so." I've given up a lot for her, but this was non-negotiable. I set the dvr for her and headed out.
Knowing me, I figured I'd lean back so far I'd fall out of the chair so I just grabbed a vinyl seat cushion from the garage, one that came from the Shelbyville walking horse celebration long ago when mom and daddy and I used to go, and tossed it down in the yard. There were only a few high wispy clouds in the sky. I alternated putting glasses on to watch the nail-paring crescent of the sun dwindle, then putting my reading glasses on to check the time. When it was just about to go dark, I glanced around the sky. NO clouds, thank heavens! I could hear the kids across the street yell "It's going!"
The sky turned a weird purplish-grey. It got dark as dusk, or really more accurately, like the look just before a really bad storm hits. I could hear folks whooping from two streets over! Somebody started shooting fireworks. The sun with the moon in front, with the corona flaring out all around, was an incredible sight: just like every picture you ever saw, but better because it was real, right in front of my face. Cars pulled over; two guys in a pickup cruised slowly past with headlights on and windows down, honking. A little dog accompanying the day care kids ran across the street, raced around my front yard, stopped to bark at me then raced back.
Too quickly, it was over. I picked my things up to go inside, turned toward the porch--and here came mom! Sorry hon, you missed the big show, but there's still some to see. So we sat outside (it was pleasantly cooler for a good while) and looked at the partial through our shades. I had to explain to mom a couple of time what was causing it and why she had to keep the glasses on, and she was altogether agreeable.
The main event over, the day care kids were playing with sparklers. One of the moms ran across the street with two sparklers and a lighter. "You shared this experience with us!" she said and handed them to us and lit them. Mom always loved sparklers so we had a grand couple of minutes with those. When it started to get hot again, we went back inside and watched some local news coverage of the aftermath.
So, I'm bit by the bug now. There's another total in 7 years, coming as close as Paducah, Kentucky. Maybe I'll be free by then to take my dream RV and go chase it. Mom wasn't overly upset at missing totality. I don't know if it would have confused or upset her, so maybe it's for the best. She's been having fits nearly every morning for the past week or two, confusing AM and PM and arguing violently with me about which pills she takes when, never mind the doggone printed schedule that never ever changes 0_o Yesterday, though, maybe because it did feel like a special day, a big event, she was pleasant and cooperative all day long. The whole thing went in my thankful jar, that's for sure.
Oh, one more quick note: I made it to the AARP class. I wasn't the only one caring for a parent, which surprised me a bit. Did some networking and got information, mostly on where to get more information. Every little bit helps! Now to start making calls and finding myself a little backup.