LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (KTHV) - Even though central Arkansas only got a partial solar eclipse, it seemed like there was complete viewership. And no matter how people watched it, they said they loved it.
Raymond Maxon said he caught a glimpse while fixing his car, after a friend helped him see the moon pass in front of the sun.
“I looked up in the air, through his welding torch goggles,” Maxon mentioned. “I saw orange and green, and I said Lord is doing His work.”
Normally, Maxon provides the glow. He shines shoes in the River Market district, brightening both shoes and smiles. Monday, the eclipse did for his soul what he tries to do to others’ soles.
“Just thanked God that I got the faith,” he said upon seeing the eclipse, “that if this world could just change, maybe we’ll have a better place to live here.”
Maxon was not the only one who felt something heavenly watching the eclipse.
“It was really a true act of God,” Dakota Rhea stated. Rhea spent the afternoon along the Arkansas River with his fiancée, their son, and their two dogs. Rhea had never seen an eclipse, and had been looking forward to the occasion for the last week.
“I loved it,” he said. “It was the most beautiful thing I’d ever seen, next to childbirth.”
Even after a long buildup, many people said the experience of the eclipse was as good as they hoped. “It was,” Jeanne Rollins said, “and I would’ve gone to view it in person, but I have company.”
Rollins and her granddaughter watched NASA’s live stream of the eclipse. She said they spent 45 minutes watching as the umbra passed from Illinois to Tennessee and toward South Carolina.
Little Rock was south of the path of totality, so people who watched here saw the moon cover roughly 90 percent of the sun. “I wish we would’ve gotten more of it, instead of what we did,” Rhea said. “I wish we could’ve seen the full effect, but for the most part, it was amazing.”
Those who were not as fascinated with the eclipse still got to enjoy the memories it brought back.
“A long time ago,” one man said, “when I was in high school, we got boxes and put over our head, and cut little slips in them--that’s a true story—to look at the eclipse, back in the day.”
Instead of nostalgia, Rhea was already looking ahead to the next chance to create memories. His son will be seven years old when another eclipse passes directly over Arkansas in 2024. “I can’t wait for that,” he exclaimed. “He’ll be old enough to understand what it is and I’ll be able to see more of it.”
Another solar eclipse will pass over Arkansas in 2045. Experts say it will be one of the most anticipated celestial events in American history because of the wide area that is predicted to see totality.