COLUMBIA, S.C. (AP) — How do you top the celestial event of a lifetime? By getting engaged, totally.
That's what one South Carolina lawmaker did during Monday's total solar eclipse. State Rep. Micah Caskey, 36, told The Associated Press that he started planning two months ago to pop the question to his girlfriend Erin Harris during the eclipse's totality, when the moon moved directly in front of the sun.
"I saw a video about how cool the total solar eclipse was going to be, and it just made sense to do it then," he said.
So, while celebrating the event on Lake Murray with friends, the West Columbia Republican dropped to one knee after the skies darkened, and popped the question. Caskey said he waited until about halfway into the full eclipse so Harris wouldn't miss out on one event due to excitement over another.
"I tried to wait until about a minute into when totality had started because I was worried she would start crying and miss getting to see the whole thing," he said.
Columbia experienced one of the longest periods of totality in the country — more than two minutes of total darkness — as the moonshadow raced across 14 states, from Oregon to South Carolina and out to sea. As it turned out, Caskey quickly got an enthusiastic "yes!" from his bride-to-be, and the happy couple didn't miss the show.
Harris, 29, is from Columbia and is an importer of Italian wines, Caskey said. As for a wedding date, they aren't necessarily planning their nuptials around any other celestial circumstances, though that could change.
"We're not really looking at the astronomical calendar for planning the wedding," he said, "but who knows?"
Kinnard can be reached at http://twitter.com/MegKinnardAP. Read more of her work at http://bigstory.ap.org/content/meg-kinnard/