Turn Around Bright Eyes…

Pam Pollock
May 2024

In case you’ve been hiding in an underground tunnel and had no contact with the real world and just now reemerged to catch up on what’s been going on in the world, we had a solar eclipse on April 8th.

We live in Western Pennsylvania and our house was at 99.2% totality – which means that we did not get the complete blackout when the Moon passed between Earth and the Sun, and obscured the view of the Sun. Originally, we were going to traverse up to Erie, which is about a 90 minute drive for us to view the Eclipse until I learned that an estimated 250,000 people had the same idea. I noped out of that one as my anxiety cannot handle crowds – and I also knew that traffic on the interstate on the way up and more importantly, on the way home would be horrendous.

My next plan of attack was to travel up to a State Park about 30 minutes from us but those plans fell through because again, the traffic and crowds and also because the weather was predicting heavy cloud coverage.  So, we just hung out at the Homestead.

My spouse, being the witty man that he is, placed two rocking chairs out in our yard close to the back road that we live on. He included a cardboard box with $100 Eclipse written on it.  I guess he was attempting to cash in on the Solar Eclipse frenzy that was occurring all around us – people were hawking out hotel rooms in Erie for $500+ a night, Airbnb homes for $1400+, Eclipse cookies, cupcakes, and even boozy drinks.

The FedEx driver thought my husband was hilarious when she pulled into our driveway about 90 minutes before the Eclipse with a package but declined to pony up the cash for this “once in a lifetime opportunity.”

I did what I do best, snapped some photos, uploaded them to Facebook and added this text to my post:

“Waited to the last minute to line up a spot to view this afternoon's Solar Eclipse?!

Don't despair! Shyster Steve has you covered! For the low, low price of ONLY $100, you can rest in semi-comfort in our side yard and gaze at the sky above Kelloggs’ field!

Supposed to be 99.2% totality - but the clouds are making that very, very iffy.

*Beer not included but can be purchased for the special Eclipse rate of ONLY $24.95 per bottle

**Cannot enter the Homestead to use the bathroom - but we can sell you 5 squares of toilet paper for ONLY $8.95 and you can pop a squat in our woods - but not on any of the trails.



****Eclipse glasses for sale for ONLY $49.95 per pair”

I immediately got a response my good pal Tina who expressed interest but I think the popping a squat in the woods was a deal breaker and she backed out at the last minute. My 87 year old Dad did come down but the rest of my family was scattered all over the place hoping to find a good spot nearby. 

I am not going to lie – the cloud coverage was bad.  We would have very brief, momentary breaks and could see the Eclipse happening.  We did not get the complete black out totality but the skies were very dramatically darkened. I later learned the State Park that we almost went to did not achieve total darkness because of the clouds.  The birds for the most part stopped their singing and roosted in the trees, except for a few brave, or crazy, ones who were very inquisitive and flew up for a closer look.  A plane flew through the path as well. The temperature did drop several degrees.

We also viewed the 2017 partial Solar Eclipse.  This time I outfitted my camera with a special solar lens covering and decided to try and get some photos.  I don’t like tripods, so I held my giant camera and of course I never can be bothered to figure out what ISO, extra that I need to be shooting in – so I just winged it and got a few cool shots.

I will admit to some serious longing and “what ifs” about my decision to remain home and not travel.  Those thoughts disappeared later in the evening when we could hear the traffic from the interstate and then cars began driving down our back road because of the MASSIVE traffic jams from Erie to Pittsburgh.  We are talking about bumper-to-bumper traffic where drivers were putt-putting at top speeds of 25 mph and it took them HOURS to get home.

The Solar Eclipse is over and the next one to appear in the USA is in 2044.  We can offer yinz a special deal on Eclipse glasses at the low, low price of only $24.95 per pair…