I started getting excited about the 2017 eclipse at the beginning of the year. I knew it was coming, I knew it was going to be a once-in-a-lifetime event, and I knew I wanted a party.

Planning Our Eclipse Viewing Party

I didn’t do much more about it until I attended the Lincoln Public Schools Lunch and Learn session where James Blake, the science consultant, shared his plans for district students and staff on August 21. Not only did he share his plans, he also did a great job of explaining the whole eclipse experience.

During the Lunch and Learn, I sat with a group of community members who were further along with their planning than me. They giddily shared their eclipse ideas from lunch menus to bragging about the number of eclipse stamps they had purchased. Eclipse stamps? Dang! This is serious business.

That very day, I began preparing for the eclipse. I purchased stamps, purchased eclipse glasses, looked for t-shirts and began googling menu items. Each week, I texted the grandkids telling them the number of days until the eclipse. We had originally thought we’d have the viewing party at Spring Creek Prairie or Beatrice, but news of overflowing crowds discouraged us.

A Few Glitches Along the Way

I invited friends and family to our small farm in between Lincoln and Crete. The farm is basically a pasture and CRP land with no buildings (or should I say facilities). The fact we have no facilities doesn’t scare us. Our family members are used to hiding behind trees and using a gallon bucket. This fact did concern, and ultimately scare away, our friends. No problem. Our party would consist of our family.

Then my grandma/principal cap went on my head. Oh my goodness! The grandkids would have school that day. I think a tear fell from my eye. I knew their AP class schedules would not allow them to skip. They all wanted to come to the farm, but they knew better. After all the work James Blake did for providing the perfect experience for all LPS students, I knew they were making the right decision and were in good hands.

But wait! One granddaughter informed me she was on a shortened schedule and would be able to leave school at 11:15. She could come. Yippee! Our nephew and his family, who live in Omaha, could make the trip to the farm and they would bring three other families. I was thrilled.

Sharing a Once-In-a-Lifetime Event

Our granddaughter and I immediately started working on the plans. She found a creative idea for the t-shirts, but she declined my offer to make her one. She found ideas for sandwiches. A slice of white bread cut in a circle with a slice of rye bread (cut in a smaller circle) for the top of the sandwich. I believe she called them “eclipsewiches.” Crescent rolls filled with cheddar cheese and grapes. Grapes? We figured we needed something healthy. Fortunately (or unfortunately), everyone was sold out of Moon Pies.

The eclipse was an amazing event. Words can’t describe it. The clouds were not in our area, and we had a perfect viewing. We didn’t have animals around us, but we did experience the silence. Our silence came during totality when all the little kids stopped making their own sounds.

I know I won’t always be able to share once-in-a-lifetime events with our grandchildren, but when it happens, it’s amazing. To hear your granddaughter say things like, “I knew it was going to get dark, but it really did!” and “It looks just like the pictures.” She also said it was a very meaningful experience, but she probably made the comment because she brought along her boyfriend. (Boyfriends and girlfriends for grandkids? That may be a topic for another blog!)

Planning for the Next Eclipse

I’m beginning to make plans for the next total eclipse on April 8, 2024. John and I have decided we may travel to Texas to share the experience with his sister’s family. I probably won’t be able to ever experience another eclipse with grandkids. Who knows where they will be in seven years. What I do know is that I will never forget sharing the 2017 eclipse with our granddaughter. It truly was a once-in-a-lifetime event. I’m recognizing anytime I spend with any of them is a lifetime event to be cherished!

Nancy Becker

Nancy Becker

Grandkids & Grandparents

I have four grandchildren ages 14-17. In some ways, I’m a very typical grandma, always proud of everything the kids do and wanting to help support them in whatever way I can. In other ways, I’m not very typical. My goal as a blogger is to share my thoughts and experiences that I think are funny and meaningful as I adventure through grandmahood.

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