Total eclipse offered an array of ‘wow moments’

 For those of us who thought the early publicity and planning for the eclipse was coming on a little strong, we were in for a pleasant surprise. The event provided plenty of “wow moments.”
One post-eclipse report described the eclipse as the singular “wow moment.” But the report ignored what we feel were other “wow moments” of the once-in-99-year total coast to coast eclipse experience that was viewed by Hamilton Countians and their guests.
Of course it’s hard to downplay the total eclipse itself when it turned our backyard into total darkness at mid-day. That “wow moment” even struck our dog Missy when she began sniffing through the grass, whining, and then looking up at darkened midday sky wondering what had messed up her afternoon nap.
The prior afternoon and the next morning before the actual eclipse occurred also brought a few other “wow moments” and made a strong statement that all the pre-eclipse hype and predictions were right on track. The junction of Highways 14 and 34 saw backups of traffic forming and the adjacent Casey’s General Store was having a run on drinks, snacks and pizza. The Streeter Park campgrounds were full; fairgrounds had campers; and Pioneer Trails Lake camper parking had filled early.
While up on the square it was like the old Saturday nights of yore when people filled the sidewalks and courtyard. Only this time it was people decked out with silk screen messages on the front their t-shirts proclaiming viewing the eclipse in Aurora, Hampton and Giltner. In addition, they shopped or enjoyed camaraderie with locals and other visitors. Who would have thought over 1,000 eclipse t-shirts would be sold? I certainly didn’t.
In my estimation my “biggest of the big wow moments” came when I realized the red carpet of Hamilton County had been rolled out and while it took a lot of planning, it was one of the most successful public relation events ever held in our county. Accolades poured from the mouths of our appreciating visitors. Homes were opened up. New friendships were made.  Invitations “to come back” were extended while our visitors extended invites to come see them.
And you know what? For a few days, we were able to forget about national politics, terrorists and demonstrations. We were able to totally enjoy for those few days the power of friendship and harmony that can unify our country. What a “wow moment!!!”
RL Furse  is publisher emeritus of the News-Register

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