Sunday, August 27, 2017

Dear Kids,
          The eclipse was everything I hoped it would be. Dad and I ended up camping at Craig and Rachel’s, a little west of Idaho Falls in a beautiful rural area. We found the house OK, and heard kids yelling in the back yard. Macie was driving a riding lawn mower, pulling a wagon. Craig was barbecuing, and told us to grab a plate. Kids were swimming in a big pool, jumping on two trampolines, and running around. Somebody else was driving a 4 wheeler. There’s a shooting range and a grove of at least 100 tall pines, because the place was once a tree farm, where they never sold the trees. There are chickens and a sheep and a fat mama cat and kittens. (Not hers.) There’s a canal out back. What a place!
          We pitched our tent in a grassy area, with Vanessa’s and Nora’s families, and lots of other friends and relatives. We ate and talked to people, and when it got dark, Dad and I went for a long walk along the canal. It would have been a great party, even without the eclipse. I had worried it would suddenly get cloudy Monday morning, but it was beautiful and clear. We got very excited for the eclipse, which came on slowly. We were all ready with our glasses, and we stared at the sun, as the moon cut its black circle into it. It got darker and colder. At the last minute, I was worried that NASA was wrong, and we were too far south for totality, but suddenly there it was: dark sky, stars, and a beautiful corona around the black sun. We yelled and cheered. I’ve never seen anything like it, and it won’t happen again in my lifetime.
          Our car was already packed for the trip home, and Dad had parked it on the street, headed south. As soon as totality was over, we jumped in and took off. I was glad we did. We got onto the interstate OK, and it was slow and go at each onramp, but in between we sped along. Behind us, the traffic got thicker and thicker, and then slowed almost to a stop. Nora said it took her four hours to go the 45 miles from Idaho Falls to Pocatello.
          And our new cat, Solar Eclipse Ackerson, was traveling with us. He was one of the four kittens at Craig and Rachel’s. (Vanessa has one of the others.) He’s orange, lively, and very sweet. He purrs. He’s growing about an inch a day, and his back legs are probably growing two inches. Tina hates him, and screeches deadly yowls at him, but he doesn’t pay any attention to her.
           Now the parties are over. Sharon’s family packed up yesterday morning and moved their operations to Nora’s house. They’re flying out tomorrow. We’ve had a wonderful time with them. Now it’s back to real life.
          But real life is good. I love you all. Mom