Celestial show doesn't disappoint
The great solar eclipse of 2017 has come and gone, the lawn chairs are all put away, and the solar eclipse glasses, for those who managed to acquire the legitimate ones, are either in the garbage or tucked away in a drawer for posterity.
At the King City Civic Association, fliers were posted ahead of the event announcing a viewing party on the lawn in front of the Clubhouse, and the word clearly got out.
Not only were hundreds of King City residents scattered across the expansive lawn, but many decidedly younger people also were mixed in among the seniors to take advantage of the open, eastern-facing site.
Under the Clubhouse's covered entrance, Wendy and Bob Marchant were ready for an alien invasion, or at least contact with intelligent life, as they were wearing "solar caps" fashioned out of aluminum foil. Sitting at a table, they were checking off people who showed up and handing out free solar eclipse glasses.
King City Senior Village (formerly Pacific Pointe Retirement Inn) had planned to host a viewing party for its residents, but after management learned that all the eclipse glasses they ordered from Amazon were not safe, the party was cancelled.
At King City Safeway, employees gathered in the parking lot to view the eclipse, and the Starbucks counter was closed so the baristas could go outside to see the solar show.
In Summerfield, there were at least a couple of informal gatherings. Many people gathered around the swimming pool, using the pool furniture or bringing their own lawn chairs, also spilling onto the grass around the pool.
People also gathered on the Clubhouse upper deck that wraps around the building and overlooks the golf course, providing a great vantage point.
But perhaps the best place to be was at the home of Scott Miller, an amateur astronomer who has a telescope embedded in a concrete patio in his backyard. He attached both still and video cameras to not only videotape the entire eclipse but also to snap still photos all the way through the event.
He beamed the solar eclipse image to monitors inside and outside the house and showed his guests how to take photos with their cellphones via the telescope.
Miller thoughtfully provided solar eclipse glasses to about a dozen friends and neighbors who came by to enjoy mimosas, coffee, fruit and pastry while viewing the eclipse.
He also offered tidbits of information, including the fact that solar eclipses happen about every two years somewhere in the world, and the last "total solar eclipse in the United States" — that is, an eclipse visible from coast to coast — happened 99 years ago.
Miller pointed out that, from the perspective of Summerfield, only .3 percent of the sun was visible at totality, but his guests were amazed how much light was still visible, although the interior of the house was quite dark, all the better to see the eclipse on the monitor.
There were a couple of casualties at the height of the eclipse when everyone had their eclipse glasses on and were looking skyward: A few people bumped into each other, and Charlie, the family dog, yelped after someone accidentally stepped on him.
But as the eclipse ended, someone asked if anyone was up for a game of golf, and someone else replied, "At least you'll be able to find your balls now."
Summerfield was back to business as usual.