How (and why) we served 250 meals in a week and what we’ve been up to lately

How (and why) we served 250 meals in a week and what we’ve been up to lately

So, we’ve been just a little bit busy the past week. Let’s catch up.

Having arrived home from a trip to Oklahoma the Friday before, we spent the weekend cleaning the house and getting things organized for house guests. Last Tuesday night (well, actually early Wednesday morning) a family of five from St. Kitts and Nevis in the Caribbean arrived at our house. They were staying with us for a week to and attend and celebrate their son’s graduation from Doane University in the town where we live.

Tross family photo

Mikey’s family came all the way from St. Kitts to be here for graduation. He’s in the middle with his two sisters and his parents, Calvin and Pearline.

We’ve known their son, Michael, for three years and had met the Tross family when we visited St. Kitts in 2016, so it was a real honor to welcome them to our home.

Steve and met Michael's parents for the first time when we visited St. Kitts in 2016.

Steve and I met Michael’s parents for the first time when we visited St. Kitts in 2016.

Wednesday was also my 49th birthday and can I just say thank you all for the hundreds of well wishes and Happy Birthday greetings you sent?

Birthday cake

The ice cream cake we got to celebrate Ann’s birthday.

I heard from so many old friends, new friends, family members, former colleagues, and high school classmates. It made for a wonderful day and I felt so loved. We had a busy evening as I presented scholarships at a high school awards banquet and then we cheered on our Crete High men’s soccer team at a pep rally before they left for the state soccer tournament.

We are so proud of our local Crete High School men's soccer team on their first trip to the state tournament.

We are so proud of our local Crete High School men’s soccer team on their first trip to the state tournament.

When we got home at 9:30 that night, Steve, Meghan and I had piece of ice cream cake and called it a night.

Birthday cake selfie

Let’s just say that it wasn’t easy to get a selfie while trying to hold a heavy ice cream cake with lit birthday candles.

We spent the next two days keeping the house clean, decorating, making meals, and preparing for Saturday’s graduation festivities. We made fajitas and guacamole for about 20 people one night, reminisced with friends, and entertained out of town guests.

Preparations for fajita night

Ann cut (and cut) fresh peppers and onions and made a huge batch of guacamole for our grilled fajita night.

As we’ve mentioned before, Steve and I, along with our friends Ben and Nikki, lead the college ministry at our church. Since many of the students and their families are not from around here, we offered to host a graduation party at our place after commencement for about 120 of their closest friends and families. In preparation, one of the graduates’ sister, Hannah, spent at least six hours at our kitchen table meticulously decorating more than 70 sugar cookies for the event. Aren’t they amazing?

Graduation cookies.

These hand-decorated graduation cookies tasted even better than they looked.

Then, it was the day of commencement! We got up early to prepare the house for the party before attending a mid-morning brunch for the international graduates. The commencement ceremonies were outside on the Doane University campus and we were so proud of those we’d served in college ministry as their names were read. It was such a joy to watch them walk across the lawn to receive their diplomas.

2018 commencement at Doane University in Crete, Nebraska.

2018 commencement at Doane University in Crete, Nebraska.

Sadly, the tables and chairs we’d so carefully set up outside and on the deck went mostly unused, because it was only about 52 degrees that afternoon, so we squeezed more than 100 people into our house for the party.

Graduation buffet

Our dining room table became a graduation party buffet.

It was an amazing celebration full of laughter and smiles. Our friends, Robby and Karrie helped with food preparation and were rock stars in the kitchen, so we actually had lots of opportunities to visit with guests and enjoy the day.

Some of the Doane University graduates who are involved in college ministry at our church.

Some of the Doane University graduates who are involved in college ministry at our church.

After entertaining 120 people, you’d think we would be done for a while. But we weren’t. Sunday was Mother’s Day and I was so happy to spend it with both my daughter and my mom. We went to church in the morning and as we do most Sundays, fed a large group of college students lunch at our place afterwards.

Ann with her mom, Carol, and our daughter, Meghan on Mother's Day.

Ann with her mom, Carol, and our daughter, Meghan on Mother’s Day.

Meghan and some of my college “kids” gave me a thoughtful gift (framed pictures of them all together) and we lounged for much of the afternoon.

Ann with kids

Ann with all her “kids.”

That night, Steve offered to grill Nebraska steaks for our out-of-towners and moms, so we prepared steak, baked potatoes, and salad for a group of 15 and enjoyed a relaxing dinner on our deck. Of course, the temps were back up into the 70s that day. *Smile

Mother's Day steak night

On Mother’s Day we grilled steaks and ate on the deck.

Monday morning we were up and around to clean (again) and prepare for one last celebration — a going away party for our daughter, Meghan, before she moved to Tulsa.

We had a going away party for Meghan and many of her friends, including Amy and Dulce stopped by.

We had a going away party for Meghan and many of her friends, including Amy and Dulce stopped by.

We had about 30 people over for another cookout on the deck and it was such a great opportunity for Meghan to visit with her friends and say goodbye before heading south to start the accelerated nursing program at Oklahoma University.

I won’t lie, we slept in Tuesday (’til about 7 a.m.) and over coffee that morning in the hot tub counted everything up and figured we’d served more than 250 meals out of our kitchen in a week. Time to get back to blogging or better yet, plan a vacation.

Our crazy flight from Miami to Houston blog post: How we did it!

Our crazy flight from Miami to Houston blog post: How we did it!

Last week, we shared THIS POST about a horrible flight Ann and I had from Miami to Houston. If you have not read it, click on the link and check it out. I’ll wait.

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OK, now that you’re back, you realize that the whole thing was a hoax! But if you’re like a lot of the people who have talked to us since we posted the story, you’re wondering how we did it. I mean, we had pictures from an airplane. How could we ever have faked it?

The post was one of our most popular this month, thanks to some gullible readers!

The post was one of our most popular this month, thanks to some gullible readers!

I have to give much of the credit to Ann. She loves April first like no other, and I learned early on that no one is safe from her devious plans on April Fool’s Day. Ann considered plans for April Fool’s Day for almost a year. We shared ideas for tall tales off and on for months, discarding each before the right idea finally struck one January morning in Tulsa at an unlikely place: The Tulsa Air and Space Museum.

Meghan and Steve take a selfie in an MD-80 at the Tulsa Air and Space Museum.

Meghan and Steve take a selfie in a small jet’s cockpit at the Tulsa Air and Space Museum.

Among other amazing exhibits, Tulsa’s museum is home to a retired MD-80 aircraft that was donated by American Airlines. Part of the airplane has been turned into a unique theater which shows a movie that discusses careers within the aviation industry. It’s a great film for kids that serves to increase interest in science and aviation.

More importantly for our purposes, the seats in this “theater” are actual first class airline seats, complete with seatbelts! Even better, we were there on a weekday morning when the museum just wasn’t that busy.

The seating in this theater is very comfortable, and there is plenty of legroom.

While sitting watching the movie, Ann had a moment of pure inspiration.

MD-80 theater at Tulsa Air and Space Museum, Tulsa, Oklahoma

Space between the seats in the MD-80 theater that gave Ann her inspiration.

Within three minutes, she had it all planned out. As soon as the film ended, Ann got permission for us to stay in the cabin a couple of extra minutes. Ann said, “Meghan — take off your shoe and set your foot up between the seats. Hurry.”

Foot between seats in first class.

Meghan’s foot between the seats.

To make the story even more shocking, Ann kindly asked forced Meghan to pop the sock off her foot for a great photo op, carefully cropping the shot as to not show that the rest of the plane was actually empty.

Foot between first class seats no sock.

The sock popped off the woman’s foot! Ick!

But with the docent calling, and no cup or wine nearby, we had to put our project on hold and exit the plane.

Fast forward a couple of months, and Ann and I were flying from Miami to Houston. Knowing we had to finish our story, I trimmed my fingernails and put one in a plastic bag to carry on the plane with me.

I know what you’re asking. Who does that? Apparently, I do. Pretty gross, I know, but this April Fool’s joke was just too perfect.

Once on board our flight, Ann ordered a cup of wine, drank most of it, dropped my nail in, then snapped a photo.

One of the grossest things I've ever experienced. A toe nail in my wine!

One of the grossest things I’ve ever experienced. A toe nail in my wine!

Next, she stuffed a napkin into the cup and threw it away herself. We promise that no one else ever had to touch the fingernail.

We visited our friends Daniela, Flavio and their boys in Dallas on our way home and had them take this picture of us holding a random picture frame. Then, we filled it in with our April Fool’s message at the end of the blog post.

Full disclosure: A few things in the post were actually true. It really was our blogiversary. We really did fly from Miami to Houston and we did get to sit in first class. The Pioneer Woman really was on the TV on the plane. She was making some kind of Nutella pecan bar, but “Knock You Naked Brownies” just sounded better. Here’s the recipe.

We know we have set a pretty high bar with April Fool’s posts, and we have no idea what we’ll do next year. But if you’ve read this far, you’ve been warned.


By the way, did you read our post about Ann’s first trip to a nude beach? If not, CLICK HERE.   

See what landed in my wine on our first-class flight from Miami last week

See what landed in my wine on our first-class flight from Miami last week

Here’s the story.

After one month; two countries; three flights; four days in a hospital; five time changes; six states; and 5,000+ miles, we were beyond ready to board our final flight and begin our journey home last week.

Miami, Florida, airport view

We spent the last night of our trip at a hotel in Miami with a great view of airplanes landing at the airport.

We were finishing up a wonderful month-long trip that included a national track and field meet in Kansas, apartment hunting in Tulsa for our daughter, breakfast at The Pioneer Woman Mercantile (yes, again) and a cruise to Mexico.

Vision of the Seas in Cozumel, Mexico

Steve and Ann pose for a photo on the pier in Cozumel in front of their ship, Vision of the Seas.

Leaving our car in Houston after the cruise, we boarded a plane to Key West with plans to spend a few days with Steve’s parents who live part of the year in the Florida Keys. Unfortunately, Steve’s dad was quite ill when we arrived and was hospitalized with pneumonia, so we canceled our return flight and stayed a couple more weeks until he was feeling better and we had a chance to really enjoy our time together. (He’s doing much better now, thanks for asking).

Marathon, Florida, sunset

We loved watching beautiful sunsets while in Marathon, Florida.

Needless to say, after being away for nearly a month, we were sooooo ready to come home. We booked a return flight from Miami to Houston (because that’s where we left our car) and were so excited when we checked in at the airport and learned that we’d been upgraded to first class! A complimentary upgrade had never happened to us before and we were starting to feel like the long trip home was going to be pretty relaxing after all.

Arial view of Miami on departure

The view of Miami as we departed.

We got into our extra wide, comfy first-class seats and within seconds, the cheerful flight attendant asked if we’d like something to drink before takeoff. It was noon almost noon, so we each ordered a glass of red wine. After all, it was our fourth blogiversary and we were headed home!

We toasted our 4th blogiversary and were ready to relax.

We toasted our 4th blogiversary and were ready to relax.

Still a bit shocked to find ourselves in first class, we settled into our seats and began perusing the TV menu and would you believe it, my favorite Food Network show, The Pioneer Woman, was on!

So excited that one of our favorite TV shows, The Pioneer Woman, was available to first-class passengers.

So excited that one of our favorite TV shows, The Pioneer Woman, was available to first-class passengers.

There  we were in complimentary first-class seats, sipping wine while watching Ree Drummond prepare Knock You Naked Brownies. Could this flight get any better?

Then, it happened.

I felt something brush up against the back on my arm and when I turned to look behind me, there was a sweaty foot resting in the space between Steve’s and my seats.

The lady behind us put her dirty sock covered foot right between our seats!

The lady behind us put her dirty sock covered foot right between our seats!

I was shocked (and just slightly horrified)! Who in their right mind thinks it’s OK to take off your shoe and place your stinky foot between the seats in front of you? We’d seen some crazy things on a “PassengerShaming.com” Facebook page before. A lady curling her hair. A family spreading its laundry out to dry. And even a woman eating corn on the cob.

PassengerShaming.com photos

Photos from PassengerShaming.com show people behaving badly on airplanes. L to R: a woman curls her hair, a family hangs its laundry out to dry, a person eats corn on the cob.

But we never expected something like this to happen to us. Neither one of us was quite sure what to do, so Steve got up and nicely asked the woman if she would mind removing her foot from the console in our row. She rolled her eyes at him, and eventually moved her foot. When the fasten seat belts sign went off, Steve and I both got up to stretch our legs and use the bathroom and when we returned, her foot was right back where it was before and she appeared to be sleeping! So yes, I took another picture.

Foot between seats in first class.

We were aghast that a foot rested on the console between our seats.

We asked the flight attendant if she could gently wake the woman and ask her to remove her foot (again).  The flight attendant told us that the woman was a frequent business traveler (in fact, something like a triple-diamond VIP — whatever that is) and appeared very stressed out when she boarded. She had apparently told the flight attendant that she didn’t want to be disturbed during the flight for any reason. The flight attendant told us that we’d just have to “deal with it” and be thankful that we got an upgrade and weren’t back in coach.

Seriously?? I thought Steve was about to explode. Trying to calm ourselves, we ordered another glass of wine, leaned to the outsides of our seats, and tried to focus on Ree mixing brownies.

Then, the sock snapped off!!

Foot without sock between first class seats

This might be one of the grossest things we’ve ever experienced.

That must have jostled the woman and she awoke, moved her foot back to her own row, but then had the nerve to tap Steve on the shoulder and ask him to hand her sock to her. Then, as if that weren’t bad enough, the unthinkable happened.

We began to hear the click, click, click sound of a toe nail clipper in the row behind us. Was this woman seriously trimming her toe nails on the plane??

Then, the even more unthinkable happened. Just as I was about to take a sip of my second glass of wine in an attempt to slow my ever-increasing heart rate, I lifted my glass just as a small nail clipping landed in my wine!

One of the grossest things I've ever experienced. A toe nail in my wine!

One of the grossest things I’ve ever experienced. A toe nail in my wine!

It is almost impossible to accurately describe what I was feeling at that moment. I’m not sure which was more difficult, preventing myself from lunging into the seat behind me and grabbing the woman by the foot, or stopping my gag reflex.

Blood boiling, I told Steve I was going to turn around and pour the rest of wine on the woman. Steve said, “Wait for me to stand up and you can get a better angle.”

Enough was enough. With the flight attendant no where in clear sight, I decided to take matters into my own hands and

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DO YOU SERIOUSLY BELIEVE THIS CRAZY STORY? IF SO, GOTCHA!

Note: Most of this article is made up. Stay tuned next week and we’ll show you the behind-the-scenes of how we did it. As always, thanks for SHARING and not adding any “spoiler” comments on social media.

APRIL FOOLS!


As always, thanks for SHARING and not adding any “spoiler” comments on social media.

Why we went back to school this week!

Why we went back to school this week!

For the first time in about nine months, I went back to the front of the classroom. No, I didn’t revert to my old middle school principal self, but Ann and I did spend a day working with all of the ninth grade Language Arts students at our town’s high school. It was an interesting experience signing in as a visitor when I’d had a key to the place just a few months ago.

Signing in, Crete High School, Crete Nebraska

Steve signs into the school, this time as a visitor.

A local teacher, Rachel Haider, contacted us about a month ago and asked if we’d be willing to be guest presenters as part of the freshmen class’ unit on journeys. Students are working toward a final unit essay question that asks when the journey is more important than the destination.

Crete High School question, Crete, Nebraska

The question of the day.

She felt that because we’ve taken a good number of trips we’d bring a unique perspective to the class. The fact that the students knew us might help make it a bit more real for them. We were happy to help.

We met with Ms. Haider, and the other 9th grade Language Arts teacher, Trent Framke. We decided that we’d choose some blog posts and students would pre-read at least one of them, write a 6-10 sentence summary of it, and then answer some questions like, “What was more important, the journey or the destination? Why?” “What did the Tegets learn on this journey?” and “What advice for your life can you draw from this blog post?” We’d then have this as a basis for our class discussions.

Completed Assignment, Crete High School, Crete, Nebraska

A student’s completed assignment for our class discussion.

In case you’re curious, we chose six posts: “Five Things we learned judging the National Indian Taco Championships in Pawhuska,” “Music for the soul,” “A great pit stop for midwest travelers,” “Following our hearts to St. Kitts,” “Nebraska’s Nicest #1 — Innkeeper Jeanne Goetzinger,” and “Leaving I-80 for a better view.” We picked these because we felt they had a nice mix of local, state, national and international travel. We also hoped that every student might find something of interest somewhere in that mix of topics. Finally, we hoped that each post was unique enough that answers to the teachers’ questions wouldn’t necessarily be the same.

Crete High School class, Crete, Nebraska

Steve and Ann pose for a picture with students who are mastering the English language.

Well, let me just say that I’d forgotten how long a school day can be when you are presenting and re-presenting material seven times with three minutes of break sprinting to the bathroom in between. Still, we had a wonderful day connecting with students, hearing their take on our articles, and answering their questions about our travels as well as journeys in general. And let me just say that I was impressed by the effort I saw from some of my former students on this assignment.

Crete High School commons, Crete, Nebraska

The commons of Crete High School.

At the end of the day, we knew that we’d made a difference when one student found us in the hall and said that he hoped to travel one day. And we knew that students understood the importance of travel when they told us of the lessons they’d gleaned from our articles, lessons like, “you can find a little happiness anywhere,” and, “It’s important to get to know new people in your life because they can take you somewhere beautiful.”

Eclipse 2017: An earth-shadowing experience from our home in Crete, Nebraska

Eclipse 2017: An earth-shadowing experience from our home in Crete, Nebraska

When science writer Trudy Bell said to never let anyone convince me that 99% of the sun covered was the same as totality, I didn’t know what to think. She then went on to say, “It’s 1% of the sun’s surface, but it’s 100% of the experience.” The moment the moon fully covered the sun during the recent total solar eclipse that passed over our hometown of Crete, Neb., I knew exactly what she meant. And she was right.

Total solar eclipse, photographed by Ronald D. Koch in Crete, Nebraska.

Total solar eclipse, photographed by Ronald D. Koch in Crete, Nebraska. If you look closely, you can see solar flares along the edges of the moon.

Ann and I had been looking forward to the eclipse for some time, and we couldn’t wait to welcome travelers from around the nation and the world to our hometown. On the Saturday before the eclipse, we had a booth downtown where we sold t-shirts as well as souvenir postcards — something for the special stamp and cancellation mark from our local post office.

We designed five total solar eclipse postcards that we sold throughout the weekend of the eclipse. They made a great souvenir from the event.

We designed five total solar eclipse postcards that we sold throughout the weekend of the eclipse. They made a great souvenir from the event.

We had an absolute blast meeting people from all over the country who were in Crete for the total solar eclipse. We met and talked with people from Nebraska, Iowa, Wisconsin, Ohio, Michigan, Texas, Oregon, California and Nevada. We learned so much about eclipses from people like Trudy Bell.

 

More eclipse fun!! This will be Trudy’s SIXTH total solar eclipse! She is a wealth of knowledge when it comes to eclipses and we’re so happy to welcome her and her daughter to Crete this weekend!

We also met people from Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada, who were excited to be in town for the eclipse. Their description of what was to come just added to the excitement of the day.

 

Talking eclipse in downtown Crete, Nebraska.

 

Our little t-shirt and postcard sales gig proved to be pretty popular and we found ourselves a little busier than expected answering calls and texts from people all weekend.

We sold several hundred of these 2017 total solar eclipse t-shirts during eclipse festivities in downtown Crete, Nebraska.

We sold several hundred of these 2017 total solar eclipse t-shirts during eclipse festivities in downtown Crete, Nebraska.

By Monday morning, we were ready to be done with postcard and t-shirt sales and just settle in to watch the eclipse. But people kept contacting us. In fact, the owner of our local Ace Hardware store had some people from Iowa who really wanted some postcards so he just drove them up to our house to get some. That’s what we do in small town America.

We sold more than 2,000 total solar eclipse postcards and our local post office offered a special cancellation stamp.

We sold more than 2,000 total solar eclipse postcards and our local post office offered a special cancellation stamp.

While they were here, we got a call from friends in a local park–apparently, people were clamoring for more postcards, so we were off again, making arrangements for their sale and distribution. In the meantime, we’d met a couple other folks from Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada who wanted a t-shirt. They seemed nice, so we invited them up to our place to watch the eclipse.

We met great people from all over the world, including these eclipse chasers from California, Nevada, and Canada.

We met great people from all over the world, including these eclipse chasers from California, Nevada, and Canada.

We were so tickled that they accepted our invitation. We also had our friends and fellow travel bloggers, Sara (and her husband, Todd) of Travel with Sara, and Lisa and Tim of The Walking Tourists, a friend of mine from college and his family, Ann’s mom and my parents, friends who were just back from Sri Lanka, a dozen or so college students and suddenly, we had a houseful.

Friends and fellow travel bloggers look at the eclipse through a telescope in our front yard.

Friends and fellow travel bloggers Lisa and Tim Trudell and Sara and Todd Broers look at the eclipse through a telescope in our front yard.

I threw some burgers on the grill, Ann and my mom made some great salads, we cooked some locally grown Behrens family sweet corn in a cooler, and lunch was served.

We learned a great way to make sweet corn for a crowd is to pour boiling water over the corn in a cooler and just shut the lid for about 20 minutes.

We learned a great way to make sweet corn for a crowd is to pour boiling water over the corn in a cooler and just shut the lid for about 20 minutes.

Clouds were all around that morning, threatening our eclipse viewing, so I said a prayer. Still, the whole group had a lot of fun chatting and getting to know each other. Finally, after so much anticipation, the solar eclipse began.

Steve and his dad, John Teget, watch the total solar eclipse from our front yard in Crete, Nebraska.

Steve and his dad, John Teget, watch the total solar eclipse from our front yard in Crete, Nebraska.

We all put on our eclipse glasses and at first, we couldn’t really see any difference in the sun. Then, it became more clear. As the moon transited the sun, anticipation (and cloud formations) grew. We couldn’t wait! Thankfully, God answered my prayer and the clouds held off until just after totality ended! What follows is a series of photos of the eclipse. We’d like to thank our friend Ronald Koch who took these photos right here in Crete.

Partial eclipse before totality. Photograph by Ronald D. Koch in Crete, Nebraska.

A view of the partial eclipse before totality. Photograph by Ronald D. Koch, in Crete, Nebraska.

The "diamond ring" effect, photograph by Ronald D. Koch in Crete, Nebraska.

Just before the moon completely covers the sun, we could see the “diamond ring” effect. Photograph by Ronald D. Koch in Crete, Nebraska.

Total solar eclipse photographed by Ronald D. Koch in Crete, Nebraska.

The moon completely covers the sun during totality allowing viewers to see the sun’s light shine out around the moon. Photograph by Ronald D. Koch in Crete, Nebraska.

Partial solar eclipse photographed by Ronald D. Koch in Crete, Nebraska.

Just a little bit of the moon still covers the sun following the total solar eclipse. Photograph by Ronald D. Koch in Crete, Nebraska.

After experiencing totality, I feel confident in saying that all the positive hype we’d heard about the eclipse didn’t adequately describe it. It was a sight unlike anything I’d ever seen and I can’t find the words to describe the experience.

I go back to what Trudy Bell said in the video above, that 99% covered means that 1% is uncovered. And that 1% is 100% of the experience. Seeing the sun completely covered, looking at the rays of the sun shining out around the moon, seeing a metallic, teal colored sunrise in all directions, all while hearing the crickets chirping and frogs croaking at 1 o’clock in the afternoon was an incredible experience.

Ann and I had run all over town in the days and weeks leading up to the eclipse, we’d done so much to prepare. Those 2 minutes and 26 seconds of totality were worth it to us and to all those who had traveled from near and far to see it.

Steve's friend, Scott drove with his family from Wisconsin to see the total solar eclipse.

Steve’s friend, Scott drove with his family from Wisconsin to see the total solar eclipse.

We wish we could have had all our blog followers in Crete for this event. We know that isn’t possible, so Ann took a video during the eclipse while on our deck. While watching video isn’t the same as being here, I hope it at least gives you an idea of what the experience was like. Listen to the cheers and the spontaneous reactions of those who saw this awesome sight.

 

From our back yard at totality.

Posted by Postcard Jar on Monday, August 21, 2017

We are now officially eclipse junkies, and are already beginning to make plans to travel to the path of totality for the next eclipse in the U.S. on April 8, 2024. That one will enter through Texas and exit through the northeast. Visit [HERE] for a map showing its path as well as the path of all the eclipses in the US between now and 2050. If you have not yet seen a total solar eclipse, you should strongly consider making plans to do so. If you do, I think you’ll find that you have a hard time finding words to describe the experience, as well.


Were you able to watch the total solar eclipse? Tell us about your experience in the comments section below.

An earth-shadowing experience planned for eclipse in Crete and Wilber

An earth-shadowing experience planned for eclipse in Crete and Wilber

I have to admit, we’re pretty excited about the total solar eclipse that is about to happen. We follow a lot of travel bloggers, and know that many are making plans to travel great distances so they can experience what it’s like to be plunged into the shadow of the moon and witness “totality.”

Ann and I are no different. We have plans to travel all the way to our own driveway to watch. Living in Crete, Neb., we’re lucky to be smack-dab in the path of the moon’s shadow, and we get to experience nearly two and a half minutes of totality right in our own hometown. If you don’t have a place set to go watch the eclipse, you might consider coming here.

Nebraska eclipse path

The path of totality of the 2017 solar eclipse passes right over Crete and Wilber, Nebraska

Our town of Crete has teamed up with nearby Wilber and has put together a series of fun events designed to create a weekend to remember for anyone traveling to the eclipse.

Saturday in Crete, Nebraska

The weekend festivities kick off in Crete on Saturday at 7:30 a.m. with a 1 or 5 mile fun run in Tuxedo Park. If you’re like me, you may want to sleep in a bit and come to the park to cheer on the finishers of the race and enjoy the pancake feed there sponsored by the Crete Volunteer Fire Department which starts at 8 a.m. Later in the day, Crete’s businesses will host a community shopping tour–look for Ann and me, we’ll be in City Park from 9 a.m.-1 p.m. selling commemorative postcards along with the special stamp the US Postal Service created for the eclipse. Crete’s post office even has a special one-of-a-kind cancellation stamp for the occasion.

Total solar eclipse postcard from Crete, Nebraska

We are selling commemorative postcards with five different designs, including this one.

back of postcard

The back of our postcard has plenty of room for the special postmark.

We will also be selling a limited number of Postcard Jar eclipse t-shirts at our little stand in the park. Please come down, we’d love to meet you.

Steve and Ann Teget, founders of www.postcardjar.com

Stop by the total solar eclipse events in Crete and say hello! We’d love to meet you.

At 2 p.m., Doane University is hosting an expert panel of university professors who will discuss the eclipse and what can be expected. That panel repeats at 3 p.m., but with a Spanish translation. Both are in the Chab Weyers Education Building on the Campus of Doane University.

Starting at 5 p.m. that evening, come to downtown Crete for a food fair and beer garden. Two blocks of Main Street will be closed off to car traffic, and attendees may purchase a beer (and other beverages) in bars and restaurants up and down the street and carry them outside.

The Brew House in Crete, Nebraska

The Brew House in Crete is one of the establishments that will have a wristband for Saturday evening.

Each establishment will have its own colored wristband for patrons over age 21. See if you can collect all five! If you’re feeling daring, stop by Red Dog Tavern where Tyler has a special concoction for the occasion: the Eclipse Viewfinder which includes five different liquors, Monster energy drink, and a splash of pineapple juice in a souvenir cup for $12.

In addition to great food inside Crete’s restaurants, people attending the festivities will also be able to purchase food from a variety of street vendors including barbecue, sno-cones, sloppy joes, funnel cakes, tacos, kettle corn, sandwiches, and Italian ice. At 6:30 p.m., the POYDS Dance Company will offer a free line dancing class. You’ll want to take that so you’re prepared for the street dance in that same area from 8 p.m.-midnight featuring the band, Panama Road. Ann and I will be around somewhere downtown selling postcards and t-shirts, so please stop by.

Postcard Jar postcard stand

Our Postcardjar.com stand in City Park.

Sunday in Wilber, Nebraska

On Sunday, the activities are centered in Wilber, located about ten miles south of Crete.

Wilber, Nebraska sign

Wilber, Nebraska, is the Czech capital of the USA.

Most events in Wilber take place in their Legion Park. They kick off with a sand volleyball tournament at 9 a.m. If you missed pancakes in Crete, or you are hungry for more, the Wilber Volunteer Fire Department is also hosting a pancake feed Sunday from 9 a.m.-1 p.m. Maybe you should go to both and then decide who makes better cakes? Starting at 10 a.m. will be the “Pork in the Park” barbecue competition.

From 1-2 p.m., Doane University is bringing its educational panel to Wilber High School. Also in Wilber on Sunday will be a kids carnival from 1-5 p.m., a photo booth from 4-6 p.m., and polka lessons and a performance by the Wilber-Clatonia Alumni Band from 5-6 p.m.

Wilber Czech Dancers

Stop by the park for Polka lessons Sunday from 5-6 p.m.

The day’s activities are capped off with a barbecue meal from 6:30-8:30 p.m. featuring food from the entrants in the Pork in the Park contest.

Monday is the big eclipse!

Monday is the big day for the Eclipse. Start your morning off right with sunrise meditation and yoga in Crete’s City Park at 7 a.m.

Crete City Park

City Park will be a great place to start your day on Monday with meditation and yoga beginning at 7 a.m.

From there, enjoy more shopping in Crete and a farmer’s market in Wilber. To watch an eclipse, you need plenty of open sky, and both towns have a lot of that. Be sure to head to Armory Park in Crete or back to Legion Park in Wilber to watch the eclipse starting at 11:36 am.

Armory Park in Crete, Nebraska

Armory Park is located near 1st and Hawthorne Ave. in the south side of Crete.

Armory Park in Crete, Nebraska

Wide open space at Armory Park will be ideal for viewing the total solar eclipse in Crete, Nebraska.

For about 90 minutes, the moon with gradually cover the sun until it blocks it completely just after 1 p.m. This phase of “totality” has not happened in the U.S. since 1979, and will last only about two and a half minutes before the sun peeks out from behind the moon again. During totality, it’s possible to look at the sun and see its corona coming out from behind the moon. Stars will be visible in the sky. Watch the video below from Smarter Everyday for the best description we’ve seen yet.

I’ve heard that nothing can fully prepare you for experiencing a total eclipse of the sun, so I hope you can find a way to get into the path of “totality” and see for yourself just what it’s like. We’re excited to live in a town that is really working hard to make this an earth shadowing for everyone!


Are you planning to watch the total solar eclipse August 21, 2017? Where will you be along the path of totality?

As always, thanks for sharing (and pinning)!

Total solar eclipse events in Crete and Wilber, Nebraska