Relatively Speaking: Party animal ‘blocks out the fun’ at a solar eclipse party


On April 8, 2024 we in northwest Ohio experienced one of nature’s greatest events, a total eclipse of the sun. According to the wife, a happening of this nature can only be experienced with a gathering of 25 people or so, an assortment of adult beverages, appetizers aplenty, and of course, an eclipse trivia game with prizes.

“Why do we have to make such a big deal about the moon blocking the sun for a whopping three minutes? If you blink, you’ll miss it,” I said to the wife.

“You do blink rather slowly,” the wife said. “It’s a phenomenon not to be missed. I suggest you practice blinking faster before April 8th so you can see the entire passing of the moon in front of the sun.”

“What about our dog, Charles Ralph? What are we going to do with him?”

“He’ll be fine. He loves people and he is a great mingler. Our neighbors and friends will enjoy his antics and company.”

“Picture this,” I said. “Twenty-five of our closest friends and neighbors sitting in our backyard wearing pitch black eclipse glasses, staring up at the sun with large plates of appetizers on their laps. That dog is going to go down the row ‘hoovering’ everyone’s food and they won’t even know it.”

“He would never do a thing like that. He’s a good boy who respects people’s food,” the wife countered.

“Nevertheless, I’m making a sign to hang in the kitchen to warn people to guard their food.”

As April 8th approached, preparation began. The wife hit the dollar stores for eclipse related items, like Moon Pies, Capri Sun, Oreos, eclipse glasses, and anything that related to the sun or moon.

Then she planned a menu of crescent-shaped chicken salad sandwiches, black and white cookies, solar eclipse cupcakes, moon rock donut holes, and for drinks, Coronas and Blue Moon beer.

On the day of the eclipse, the weather was perfect, sunny clear skies and 70 degree temps. My job was to stage the backyard for proper once-in-a-lifetime viewing.

Now, I am here to tell you, that’s a lot of pressure. If I was two or three degrees off, our guests might miss the whole thing. So, in a perfect arc facing slightly southwest, tables and rows of chairs were carefully placed for proper viewing.

All the while I was setting up, Charles Ralph was inspecting the arrangement of lawn furniture. He paced back and forth pausing at each chair and table for a moment, then moving on. He was definitely mapping out his strategy.

At 1:30 our guests arrived, eclipse-related treats in hand, filling their plates with eclipse food and pouring themselves eclipse drinks, all the while the wife’s mix tape played ‘Blue Moon,’ ‘Here Comes the Sun,’ ‘Don’t Let the Sun Go Down on Me,’ and ‘Total Eclipse of the Heart.’ Charles Ralph mingled calmly inspecting the buffet on the laps of our guests.

When the moment came, and the sun was totally blocked by the moon, the sky had turned dark and the stars came out. Twenty-five guests looked up for almost three full minutes, meanwhile their appetizers were being eaten by our party animal. Eight chicken salad sandwiches, three deviled eggs, five cupcakes and a black and white cookie lost their lives that day.

When the sun came back out the wife stared in horror at the fallen plates on the lawn. And all I could say to her was, “I told you so…”

Raul Ascunce is a freelance columnist for the Sentinel-Tribune. He may be contacted at [email protected].

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