When we were kids,Dad would do slide shows. He would aim the projector at the wall and show us slides of galaxies and constellations. Every holiday we went on, my dad would locate the nearest astronomical observatory and take us to tour it. Usually this would be the highlight of the holiday for Dad. His eyes would light up at the idea of expanding our little minds. Sharing his enthusiasm with us, for things beyond this world. We could have had one more day on the beach or an extra few rides at the fair, but instead we would learn about Leonardo Davinci and mercury dishes.
In 1979, I was in grade eight. Dad took us out of school to drive us down to Washington to see our first TOTAL ECLIPSE OF THE SUN. He loaded us all up with cameras. Educated us on the proper technique of viewing the eclipse, to prevent burning out our retinas. The build up was so thrilling. When it finally went dark in the middle of the day, an eerie quiet fell upon the land. The birds stopped singing. We asked him " Dad, its dark what do we take photos of?" His response... "Just keep snapping!" Of course later when we got the films developed, none of them turned up anything . So we had a couple dozen shots of DARK. Try scrapbooking that!
Since then, he has seen a more eclipses. He traveled to Mexico to one. Then to France in 1999. That time he took along two of my sisters, Carol and Cathy, and James, Cathys Hubby. They made it quite an adventure. The morning of the eclipse, Dad was downhearted at the cloudy weather. Racing along the country roads to get out from under clouds . Dad would say "There's a bit of a clearing in the east. Lets go!" they'd all jump in the car and race towards the clear patch of sky. They chased out of the clouds all morning. Finally just as the moon began to block out the sun, they came to a clearing in the weather.
And, JDHW was able to knotch another eclipse viewing into his 'big eclipse viewing stick'.
Daddy reaches totality after the eclipse.
Well folks, He is off again soon. On March 29th, there is a total eclipse occurring in Turkey. He has been planning this trip for years. He is flying to Manchester to meet up with the Astronomical Society from that area. Then he will travel with them to Turkey. I have no doubt that he will have the time of his life.
Dad says he fully intends on being around in 2044 ( I believe that's the right year). He will be 99. There will be an eclipse in Alberta that year, and he wants to live to see it. You know, I don't doubt that he will see it too. I suppose people could wish for greater wealth, fame, esteemed accomplishments. All this man wants is to see it go dark at the age of 99.
All photos in this post courtesty of Dad. JDHW.