I am not even sure where to start this story. Talaura and her family had been planning this trip for well over a year with hotel bookings and finding an event viewing area. I started making plans with Talaura about her trip to KCMO and me tagging along with her and her family, way back before the new year. We had prepared for everything. We had sunscreen. We had water. We had camp chairs. We had snacks. Most importantly, we had our protective eyewear. We were prepared, but the one thing we could not prepare for was the weather. Weather is not easy to predict or plan for. I was looking at weather maps the week before. At that time, the weather in St. Joseph, the place we had planned for, did not look good, but two hours to the north west looked okay. We put Nebraska on our Plan B list.
Monday morning, we got up early and glued ourselves to the news. Partial clouds. Possible thunderstorms. Poor visibility in Nebraska. Plan B was out. The local weather guy said that Marshal MO looked like the best viewing area for the eclipse. We kept this in mind as we loaded up our vehicles and headed out to the Rosecrans Memorial Airport. We spent an hour at the airport before deciding to head east. Talaura and I looked at the sky and both agreed that locking ourselves down in one spot with clouds moving in was not going to work. We convinced the others to load back up and head east. Then we hit rain. Heavy, heavy rain. Just when we thought we might be driving out of the worst of it, the rain would pick up and skies would get darker. Talaura and I spent the whole time frantic with worry that we had ruined this whole thing for everyone. We finally decided to turn around and just head for any glimpse of clear skies.
Then we found it. A place in the clouds had opened up around the sun. We pulled over to the side of the road along with a few other cars and hoped out with our eclipse glasses on. The clouds broke open long enough for us to watch the partial eclipse move into totality and then we basked in that minute of darkness. Everyone cheered. We listed to the crickets. We felt the chill of the night time air. I snapped pictures and as I got a glance of some of the images I was getting, I was so excited and moved to tears. It was absolutely awe inspiring. I stopped taking pictures after totality and just watched. Then, it was over. The sun came out from behind the moon and the clouds moved back in along with more rain. The whole experience was the tallest emotional roller coaster that I've ridden in a very long time.
I am still a little stunned at our luck. If we had stayed put at the airport in St. Joseph, we would have missed the whole thing because of rain. If we had continued to head towards Marshal, we would have missed the whole thing because of rain. Yet, by some act of universal intervention or even a miracle, we were able to witness this unforgettable event. It was like the clouds parted just for us.