Individuals bought special viewing glasses. Employees left their work stations to rush outdoors. Neighborhoods threw eclipse watch parties. And everyone looked to the sky about 2:30 p.m.
It was a pretty big deal. And that was for an event that still left nearly 20 percent of the sun shining through.
Did you see what happened in places where the eclipse was total, where it actually went nighttime dark for a couple of minutes?
Hotel rooms were sold out years in advance.
People traveled from all over the world to be in the path of totality.
Crossroads towns with a few hundred permanent residents ended up hosting thousands of eclipse watchers. Highways and byways were often hopelessly jammed in the hours and minutes before the sacred darkness.
For communities in the path of the total solar eclipse, the event was not just fun and interesting as it was in Norwalk. No, for them the total solar eclipse was overwhelming. And not always in a good way.
That’s why we have to get ready. Because in 2024, Norwalk is one of the small towns smack in the middle of the next total solar eclipse.
Did you see the map on the front page of this newspaper last Tuesday? It was provided by NASA and showed the “path of totality for the 2024 eclipse.”
If you go to the NASA website, you can zoom in on the satellite map and see exactly where the red line of totality bisects Norwalk.
It runs pretty much parallel with Main Street and right over the house I once owned at 147 Benedict Ave. Talk about prime total eclipse viewing!
If you happen to be standing in the back yard of that property on Monday, April 8, 2024, the moon will start to obscure the sun at 1:57:39 p.m.
About 45 minutes later, the street lights will come on in the approaching darkness.
Half an hour after that — at 3:12:10 p.m.—Norwalk, Ohio will experience the mystical darkness that caused people by the thousands to journey to places like Hopkinsville, KY (which had to foresight to market itself as Eclipseville), North Platte, NB and Charleston, SC.
That total darkness will last almost four minutes. And the whole event, from start to finish, will last 2 1/2 hours.
If you saw any of the coverage from around the country last week, you know that April 8, 2024 is going to be quite a trip in Norwalk, Ohio.
At the very least, the Best Western and Econolodge are going to be packed that week. The traffic could be worse than anything we see for Kalahari and Cedar Point. And the lines at Vargo’s are going to be worse than at the peak of the Lefty Grove season.
I am mentioning these things because April 8, 2024 is on a Monday.
See where I am going with this?
That’s right, because I have seven years to work on it, my column that day should be pretty good.
And you, with seven years to anticipate it, will be darned ready to read it.
But your Reflector carrier or route driver is likely to be delayed by all the eclipse traffic and confusion. We could be talking dinnertime or later before your Monday paper arrives that day. Not good.
So, because of the substantial lead time involved, I plan to contact NASA about shifting the 2024 solar eclipse by just one day to Tuesday, April 9, 2024.
I think that will work out better for everyone. Plus, that will give you an extra day to buy your special viewing glasses.
Jim Busek is a free-lance writer who lives in Norwalk. He can be reached via e-mail at jimbusek@ hotmail.com.