I’m So Vain, and Other Stuff (the Bee)
You’re So Vain by Carly Simon—every thinking man’s “you know what” (13, 9, 12, 6, and you figure it out)—includes in its third stanza the following words:
Then you flew your Lear jet to Nova Scotia, to see the total eclipse of the sun.
So we had a total eclipse of the sun on August 21, 2017, in the United States of America. No, Donald Trump gets no credit for it. And when Hari Sreenivasan mentioned on the NewsHour last week that the total eclipse was scheduled for Monday, I thought he might have “special knowledge” about end times. Maybe I’d be “done for” in South Carolina.
South Carolina. I’d never been there, and in thinking about going I thought about what constitutes visiting a state. Feet on the ground? Sheets up to your neck? More? Your standard? Comments welcome.
Anyway, Greenwood, SC was in the path of totality—truth be told, our particular location had totality for two minutes and 43 seconds, while the center point had 2:46. St. Joseph, MO had been a possibility. I even had an Airbnb lined up in KC, 50 miles away, but when L—my sweetie—said “C and B are in the path, and there will be a party,” Mizzou went away.
Off we went, L, her brother, and I. Coach on AA. No Lear jet. We arrived in Greenville on Friday night. Decent sushi, so-so fried oysters, and a marginal hotel got us through to Saturday morning. We visited a friend’s child at the South Carolina Governor’s School for the Arts and Humanities. (A competitive, public boarding school for juniors and seniors, and I only say “In South Carolina?” because at least a half a dozen South Carolinians expressed the same level of amazement.)
Saturday afternoon, late, had us at our hosts’ home. On the ski boat directly, as L was bound and determined to “get up and stay up” on water skis. (She did, by the way.)
L was right about the party. We spent Sunday and a big chunk of Monday on the water, with a lot of other chill time. Plenty of food and other consumables, too. (Other guests, also.)
Soon after the sun started covering the moon, early on Monday afternoon, B and his friends provided a fresh-water surfing exhibition, riding boards behind the ski boat with … no hands! Quick runs, to say “we surfed during the eclipse.” Then, everyone on the boats for totality.
Eclipses are extraordinary events. That said, totality goes way beyond “mostly orange, with a black wedge, to mostly black, with a sliver of orange.” In the late stages, soon before totality, the temperature drops, the clouds shrink, and the sky darkens. Sunset comes.
Then it happens. Totality. A rare event! On water, there’s swimming, diving, and the comfort that comes with a 360° view. The chill I recall from days gone by, leaving a beach or getting out of a pool in a cool early evening (even though it’s maybe 2:30 in the afternoon.) The decadent feeling associated with being on what feels like a private lake, 1892 miles from home, on a Monday, to watch the moon cover the sun for 163 seconds. (Mr. R told me, today, I could have watched the whole thing on his computer in his office.)
Monday night had us dining at Danish’s Trattoria in Greenwood with our hosts. (The other guests were all homeward bound.) Excellent Indo-Pak food in a delightful setting, and then there’s Danish, a man you’ll want to know and whose company you will enjoy. When Danish found out L and I had traveled from Arizona, he pronounced us Freeloaders and directed us to pay for dinner … grinning delightedly. Our plan, always, but if it hadn’t been, there was no way we weren’t paying!
Thanks so much to our hosts, C & B, for a lovely, fun, and informative long weekend. Thanks, L, for the trip and the memories. Finally, thanks to the sun and the moon for crossing paths so conveniently. And totally.*
For early readers, I’m hours away from my sixth appearance at the EEF (Educational Enrichment Foundation) Celebrity Spelling Bee. Here’s a link to my report on the 4th Annual EEF Celebrity Spelling Bee, along with details about this year’s event. (No post from the 2016 Bee.) I’ll be appearing as Atticus Finch, resplendent in my white linen, three piece suit, hoping my get-up will distract the surfeit of splendiferous spellers. (In fact, I have “trophied” 3X—two seconds and a third—in the five previous Bees, and had intended to hang it up after last year.) Most anxious and stressed, and I need to get back to my training.
Enjoy the weekend!
*The 2024 total eclipse happens to include within its totality path Rochester, NY. Where my daughter lives. Lucky!
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