Mike Hendricks

Mike at Night

Mike Hendricks recently retires as social science, criminal justice instructor at McCook Community College.

An interesting weekend

Friday, August 25, 2017

Last weekend started with a drive to Lincoln on Saturday to hook up with my boys, Michael and Will. They had driven in on Friday for a concert and Will and Erica (Willís wife) were going to one on Saturday night as well that Michael had no interest in so he and I were going to meet at my hotel. I stayed at Fairfield Inn and Suites out by the airport on this trip because my usual place, Embassy Suites, was booked up due to the upcoming total eclipse of the sun on Monday. Michael was there waiting for me when I got there so we drove into town, had a couple of cocktails at a local bar and then went to Mistyís downtown for prime rib. Mistyís has always been one of my go-to places in Lincoln to eat because Iíve never gotten anything there less than the best but that changed Saturday night. I ordered the medium sized prime rib and there wasnít anything good to say about it. In fact, it was so bad, I lost my appetite for the baked potato too that came with it and I love baked potatoes. I donít know what the problem was; bad waitress, grumpy chef, inferior meat or what but if I had been scoring it that night, I couldnít have given it a one. Because itís been so good on previous outings, Iíll give it another chance but Iím thinking only one more. Sometimes a restaurant decreases in quality and never rebounds and Iím anxious to see if this was a hiccup or a trend on their part.

After dinner, we went back to the hotel and turned in early because we knew the next two days were not going to provide a lot of opportunities for rest. To illustrate the inflated prices Lincoln hotels were using for the solar eclipse, the normal room rate at our hotel was $76 dollars a night and thatís what it was on Friday night, the night before our stay began. On Saturday, it had increased to $121 a night and on Sunday, it was an outrageous $293 dollars a night, although our rate was $221 because we made early bookings. I was going to write Ďonlyí $221 a night but there was no only to it. My complaint about the inflated room prices fell on deaf ears because all the other hotels were doing the same.

Sunday was the co-reason for our trip to Lincoln last weekend because that was the date scheduled for Willís fantasy football draft which heís the commissioner of. Itís called the Nebraska/Arkansas league because when it started more than ten years ago, half of the group was from each state. Since then, Arkansas has deteriorated down to two members, Will and Michael, and everyone else is from Nebraska. Thatís why we have the draft in Lincoln. It was held this year at Bodegaís bar in downtown Lincoln and for the first time, all 12 members were in attendance which made things go quickly and smoothly. I ended up with a B- grade which is pretty typical for me but like all players everywhere, Iím optimistic about my season, at least until they play the first game.

Both Will and Michael stayed with me at the hotel on Sunday night and we left before 9 am to drive to Seward because thatís where Willís mother-in-law lives and she had a big eclipse day celebration planned for us. It started with a really creative brunch that had a big yellow pepper as the base, covered by cheddar cheese, Canadian bacon on top of the cheese, eggs on top of the bacon and topped off with salsa with pancakes for dessert. She went to a lot of trouble to make this morning delight and everyone enjoyed it. Our drink of the morning were mimosas (champagne and orange juice for the uninitiated) and they were delicious as well.

Then it was out to the deck for the beginning of the eclipse. Willís mother-in-law, Linda Burkes Lance, had secured protective glasses for all of us to wear so we settled into our chairs and waited for the big event that happened, of course, right on schedule. I guess the older you get, the less impressed you are by things because youíve lived long enough to see practically everything but I for one was underwhelmed by the total eclipse. One had not occurred from coast to coast in the United States in 99 years so obviously I hadnít seen one before and was really looking forward to it. Certainly, the temperature dropped a few degrees, and it got much darker like a thunderstorm was approaching but not, in my mind, like nighttime was falling, and it was all over in less than two minutes.

Everyone else felt like it was a grand show but I remember thinking while I was watching the sun totally obliterated by the mooní shadow, what primitive people must have thought the first time they saw an eclipse of the sun; certainly that there was something much bigger, stronger and more powerful at work in the universe than them and that it was surely worthy of worship. According to historians, this is how many religions began and you can surely understand why!

After the event was over, I took leave from the excellent company and headed back to McCook. It was interesting to find little traffic west bound on the Interstate but literally bumper-to-bumper traffic west bound as people continued to follow the eclipse across the state.

Whatever peopleís reactions to it were, they all wanted to see it and the economy of Nebraska was helped significantly by their participation in it.

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