Janet Hommel Mangas: Eclipse absentee

According to the Planetary Society only 0.5% of the world population lived in the path of totality for last Monday’s total solar eclipse. Johnson County was prime viewing. Unfortunately, I wasn’t home — not even close.

The hubby, a.k.a. Dr. Steve, planned a 35th wedding anniversary trip for spring 2024 early last summer — when the eclipse was not yet on either of our “calendar dates to avoid” and the news was not yet declaring it a must-see event.

When I realized we’d be gone for the event, although quite excited for our trip, I was feeling a bit of FOMO (fear of missing out). So Monday around 6 p.m., from a bicycle in Nijmegen, Holland, I sent my brothers and sisters a “Has it started yet?” text and kiddingly suggested they give me an eclipse play-by-play.

Here’s a few eclipse-day texts:

Jerri: “I’m charging $100 to park at my property for 4-minutes during the eclipse.”

Kevin: “For $10 bucks, I’m offering parking and a hosta at the Mangas’!” Kevin humorously added hashtags for emphasis: #mangascompound #eclipse2024 #$10parking #freehostas

David: “We are in our fallout shelter, the world is ending today…”

Five minutes later after an assortment of ridiculous sibling comments, David added: “It’s started, all the animals are running and flying backwards.” That was followed by: “It’s taking too long. I’m going to race the shadow on the ground.”

Chris: “The temperature just dropped 15 degrees — but maybe it’s because I just have my Speedos on.”

A few minutes later Chris sent an awesome eclipse photo and added with a serious note: “Now that’s freaky cool … Did anyone else notice that the birds stopped chirping for awhile?”

David answered: “Yes, and I heard the tree frogs start up.”

Jerri added: “We truly had deer and turkey running around when it got dark.”

Debbie sent a beautiful photo of the eclipse from the viewpoint of downtown Indianapolis off a rooftop.

We weren’t together, but they shared their awe.

Portions of Indiana will not be in the path of totality for a total solar eclipse again until 2099.

I’ve already marked my calendar for 2099 and if I live to be 139, I’m gonna make darn sure to stay home to watch it.

Janet Hommel Mangas grew up on the east side of Greenwood. The Center Grove area resident and her husband are the parents of three daughters. Send comments to [email protected].