3 minute read

It was hard to tell what people’s motivations were for being in Myriad Gardens downtown Monday.

Presumably, it was to look at the eclipse. But on the beautiful day around the lunch hour, it might have been more of an excuse to get out with friends.

There seemed to be far more socializing as hundreds of downtown workers and people who just wanted to view from the Myriad Gardens collectively gathered over a long lunch hour for the rare event.

People talked, laughed and shared purchased eclipse glasses and compared the homemade devices they brought filling up the Great Lawn and other open spaces around the park.

Free Press talked with several in the crowd.

Joshua

Kesha Thompson went by John Rex Charter Elementary and checked out her 9-year-old son, Joshua Wayne Smith so they could view and talk about the eclipse together.

Joshua Wayne Smith viewing the eclipse
Joshua Wayne Smith viewing the eclipse

“The sky got darker. The sun has curves like the moon. It’s like a banana,” said Joshua.

He seemed fascinated with the whole thing and so did his mother.

They both squatted down on a nearby sidewalk to look at how the sun shining through the leaves in the trees made tiny eclipse shadows.

Cara & Nikki

Both Cara Alizadeh and Nikki Sharber seemed eager to dispel any suspicion they may be playing hooky from their work.

Cara Alizadeh looks in awe at the eclipse Monday

They had dutifully put in for time off in the middle of the day from their respective jobs.

“I didn’t tell them what I requested off for,” said Sharber. “I always put ‘hot date’ on all my requests. But this time it was a hot date with the sun.”

But Alizadeh’s co-workers didn’t necessarily believe her even though she told the truth.

“I definitely wrote ‘eclipse’ when I was writing on mine, and they were like, yeah, right.”

They both seemed in awe each time they put on a pair of borrowed eclipse glasses.

Ann & Lilly

Ann Fleener, director of education for Myriad Gardens, seemed relaxed and satisfied with how their youth education activities had gone.

“We had a lot of youth groups from different schools and organizations come out today,” Fleener said.

Fleener, Thomas, Christman eclipse
L-R, Ann Fleener, Michael Thomas and Lilly Christman compare their viewer designs

It was an all-hands-on-deck day for the Myriad Gardens staff.

We walked with Fleener toward one of their activity areas at the end of the viewing time.

“See that person over there jumping up and down? That’s Lilly Christman, our Youth & School Program’s Coordinator,” she said with a laugh.

Having earned a college science degree, it was an almost overwhelming day to experience. She still seemed giddy from what she had just seen.

“Oh, man. It’s just amazing,” she said. “My background is in physics and geology, so I’m 100 percent nerding out about this.”

Joshua Smith with his mother
Joshua Smith looks at the eclipse shadows with his mother, Kesha Thompson

She said she had made a pinhole viewer for the school groups who were coming to give students an opportunity to view the eclipse safely. It was another good project that she was ready to do as she did on so many other days.

Only this wasn’t a usual day for her.

As she was demonstrating he pinhole box to her first school group she was talking with her usual professional demeanor, but it didn’t last long.

“I was like ‘Oh my god! It’s so exciting!’ I was freaking out. And everyone was laughing at me so hard. I was just so happy.”

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