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Solar eclipse brings people together at KC Shepherd’s Center

Jane McClain 2024 Solar Eclipse
Posted at 2:53 PM, Apr 09, 2024

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Jane McClain is a veteran of three solar eclipses now.

“I figure this is my last chance,” she said with a laugh Monday in a parking lot outside the KC Shepherd’s Center.

The Shepherd’s Center, which works with older adults across the Kansas City region, hosted a watch party outside its office in the 9200 block of Ward Parkway, which drew dozens of skygazers to watch the moon pass in front of the sun.

Grilled hot dogs were served along with chips and drinks to the observers sitting in lawn chairs strewn across the lot.

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It was a much more relaxed atmosphere than the first time McClain saw an eclipse 44 years ago in southern India.

“It was very awesome because there was so much fear,” McClain said. “We were out in the villages and people wouldn’t come out. There were all sorts of stories going on and we didn’t have glasses, so we all had little pieces of paper with a hole and you looked down on the ground.”

Seven years ago, clouds spoiled her chance to see the last solar eclipse that was visible in the Kansas City area. She remembers the eeriness of the 2017 event but not much else.

“I remember it getting dark, which is really awesome,” McClain said. “The light is so different.”

Clients, staff and volunteers along with employees from nearby businesses were among those who stopped by the Shepherd’s Center celebration.

“I came out to experience it with the rest of the people I know here,” said volunteer Xavier White.

The camaraderie made Monday’s eclipse more enthralling for those in attendance.

“Everyone gathering together and all the excitement about seeing it, just looking at people’s faces as they looked up to see the eclipse of the sun. It was pretty cool,” said Cyndy Terryberry, a board member with the Shepherd’s Center.

It wasn’t the complete blackout many experienced in 2017, but it was still fun.

“I think that one was a little more intense — that one compared to this one — because you kept waiting for the darkness,” said Karen Brown, who delivers Meals on Wheels for the Shepherd’s Center. “But it’s still a new experience, a new life experience that you got to be part of history.”

Brown’s dog, Aspen, was among the stars of the show aside from the celestial shenanigans.

“He didn’t look up,” Brown said with a laugh. “I can tell you that. He didn’t look up, but he enjoys it. I take him with me when I do my Meals on Wheels, and the residents love him.”