What does it take to rally neighbors out of their beds before sunrise to come over and watch a lunar eclipse?
Where I live, not much apparently.
Oh, I promised hot coffee and pastries, but it wasn't until I saw 12 people sitting on lawn chairs out front in their pajamas that I actually believed they accepted my invitation.
I got the idea Monday night for a lunar eclipse party -- a little late for an event that was to begin hours later at 4:51 a.m. At first, I thought we would wake up our daughter and the three of us would watch it.
But why stop there?
So I invited several of our neighbors with kids. I think I detected a snicker from one of the Dads (Yeah, sure, we'll be there . . . wink, wink, wink). But I told them I was serious.
"I'll make blueberry muffins," I promised.
I was on a mission. I kissed our daughter good night and raced to the supermarket to pick up some fresh-squeezed orange juice, mini-scones and fruit.
Once home, I cut up the fruit, baked banana bread, hard-boiled some eggs, threw a cloth on the kitchen table and set out the juice glasses and coffee mugs.
Then I called my mom.
"Want to come over and watch the lunar eclipse? It begins at 4:51 a.m.," I asked her.
"Are you out of your mind?" she asked.
I took that as a no thank you.
My plan was to wake up a half hour before our lunar pals arrived so I could bake the batch of blueberry muffins and start up the first pot of coffee.
Pleased with my party planning so far, I set my alarm for 4:15. I even slept on the couch so that I would be closer to the kitchen and to any early arrivals -- if they arrived at all.
What I did not know before falling asleep is that I set the alarm for 4:15 p.m. Not a.m.
What did wake me up, however, was the sound of our 8-year-old daughter yelling "Booyah!!!" -- a phrase she belts out whenever she is excited about something.
I glanced at my clock. It was 4:38 a.m. Yikes! Company would be coming any minute -- if they came at all.
I jumped up, plugged in the coffee and gave up on the idea of blueberry muffins. There is plenty else to eat, I decided, arranging the breakfast fare on the table.
"It's clear out," my husband reported, having checked the sky before setting up lawn chairs in the front yard.
"Booyah!," our daughter screamed, just in case we missed it the first time.
I heard voices out front. Then I heard a tap, tap, tap on the back patio door. Parents and kids were coming out of the woodwork, with more breakfast goodies in hand! They not only were here, they were here on time.
Help yourself and grab a chair, I told them as I brewed up a second pot of coffee.
Then we turned our attention to the sky, periodically reminding our children to keep their voices down. We startled The Buffalo News delivery person. We waved at a car driving by. We waited for a police officer to arrive on the scene to see what we were up to (one didn't).
At one point, as the moon dipped lower behind the trees, we relocated to another yard with a better view, walking as a group down the street in our various interpretations of pajamas.
I know why we did this. We did this for our kids.
Will our daughter remember the time the neighbors arrived at our house before dawn to study a lunar eclipse -- in their pjs?
My guess is yes, she will.