There's a building sense of excitement here at the approximate astronomical center of the known universe (also known as the shallow northern end of deep southern nowhere).
A solar eclipse is scheduled to appear overhead the Big House here at Egeebeegee, headquarters of the Army of Northern Mississippi.
The Colonel has been busy in preparation for the big event. The comely and kind-hearted Miss Brenda was missing him the other day and found him working in one of his fields.
"Hey, Knucklehead," she called out, "it's way past your nap time and it's a jillion point five degrees out here! What are you doing?"
"Marking off parking places. What's it look like the Colonel's doing?" Sometimes the Colonel gets a wee bit exasperated at the questions from his bride. Particularly when it's a jillion point five degrees outside and the Colonel is overheated and in need of a nap.
"It looks like you're using up the last of my orange spray paint. Don't you have something better to do?"
What could be a better use of the Colonel's time than making a jillion point five dollars renting parking places to observe the solar eclipse? Sometimes the Colonel gets a wee bit exasperated at the lack of situational awareness from his bride. "Don't you know there's about to be a solar eclipse overhead the Colonel's vast holdings? The sun will be blocked for a few minutes and midday will be dark as sunset."
"Big deal," the comely and kind-hearted Miss Brenda sneered. "That happens every time a thunderstorm comes along."
"Well, dear, thunderstorms happen all the time, but the moon doesn't cover the sun but once or twice in your lifetime."
"Silly man. The sun is a jillion point five times bigger than the moon. How can the moon cover the sun?"
The Colonel stood and faced the love of his life, sucked in a humid heap of the stuff that passes for air during August in Mississippi, and began his hip pocket lecture on orbital dynamics, the positional relationship of planetary objects in the inner solar system, and the rarity of the moon's shadow crossing any point on the earth's surface.
The comely and kind-hearted Miss Brenda recognized the tell-tale signs of the beginning of one of the Colonel's stupefying, hours-long lectures, and cut him off with the hand and arm signal signifying "Oh, please just shut up."
"Okay, okay. I get it. The moon is going to cross in front of the sun as it goes overhead and it doesn't happen very often. But, that doesn't explain why you're marking off parking places in one of your fields."
"Not just one of my fields, Sweetthing. All of 'em. We're gonna be rich. Don't you see? This eclipse is only going to be visible in a narrow strip of land as the sun crosses the Northern Hemisphere. People from places outside of that narrow strip are going to pay big money for a spot inside the path of totality to sit and watch."
"Sounds like the path of total nonsense to me. Another one of your get rich quick schemes. Remember how the 'pet tree' idea turned out?"
"Look, the Colonel can't help it if the public doesn't recognize a fad when they see it. Pet trees are just an idea whose time hasn't come yet."
The Colonel stepped off another three spaces and started painting another line in the grass. "There's another 900 bucks."
"Nine hundred dollars! You're charging nine hundred dollars to park in one of your fields?"
"All of my fields," the Colonel reminded Miss Brenda.
"Why nine hundred?" The comely and kind-hearted Miss Brenda's voice had changed to the tone that indicated she was afraid to hear the answer. "Why not an even thousand?"
The Colonel was ready for that question. "Sweetie, we are just south of the path of totality. We are only going to see about 90% of the eclipse here. So, the Colonel is going to offer a discount."