Taylor Swift’s new romance, debt-erasing gifts and the eclipse are among most joyous moments of 2023

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — A romance that united sports and music fans, a celestial wonder that drew millions of eyes skyward and a spiritual homecoming for some Native American tribes were just some of the moments that inspired us and brought joy in 2023.

In a year that saw multiple wars, deadly mass shootings, earthquakes, wildfires, sexual harassment stories and other tragedies, these events were among those that broke through the tumult of 2023 and made people feel hopeful.

As Taylor Swift would say, “Hold on to the memories.” Here are a few of them:

Taylor Swift's new romance, debt-erasing gifts and the eclipse are among  most joyous moments of 2023 | News | meadvilletribune.com

A FRIENDSHIP BRACELET WITH A PHONE NUMBER

That’s how Kansas City Chiefs tight end Travis Kelce planned to woo superstar Taylor Swift when he went to her Eras Tour concert stop in the Missouri capital. It didn’t work — at first.

But the romantic gesture, and public admission of defeat on his “New Heights” podcast, caught the Grammy Award-winner’s attention. After the power pair took their relationship public — she went to a Chiefs game and sat in a box with Kelce’s mom, to the delight of fans — they began taking the world by storm.

FILE - Taylor Swift waves from a suite alongside Brittany Mahomes, right, during the first half of an NFL football game between the Kansas City Chiefs and the Los Angeles Chargers, Oct. 22, 2023, in Kansas City, Mo. (AP Photo/Ed Zurga, File)
FILE – Taylor Swift waves from a suite alongside Brittany Mahomes, right, during the first half of an NFL football game between the Kansas City Chiefs and the Los Angeles Chargers, Oct. 22, 2023, in Kansas City, Mo. (AP Photo/Ed Zurga, File)

Sportscasters calculated Swift’s effect on Kelce’s game stats and TV viewership, national magazines offered up comprehensive dating timelines, and Swift fans scoured Kelce’s old social media posts to make sure he was fit for their queen.

On tour in Buenos Aires, the then-33-year-old singer changed a lyric from “Karma is the guy on the screen” to “Karma is the guy on the Chiefs.” And fans went crazy when she jumped into Kelce’s arms for an iconic post-concert kiss.

“I think we’re all excited about it. Until they start making good romcoms again, this is what we have,” said Michal Owens, a 37-year-old longtime fan from the Indianapolis suburb of Zionsville.

While pint-sized pairs of trick-or-treaters donned glitzy dresses and Chiefs jerseys this Halloween, Owens transformed her outdoor display into a tribute. The mother of three dressed one 12-foot-tall (3.66-meters-tall) skeleton in a Chiefs jersey, another in a sparkly dress and then stacked three smaller skeletons atop one another to create what she called a “tower of Swifties.”

“We’ve got so many things in the world to be sad about,” she said. “Why not find something to root for and give us some joy?”

Taylor Swift's new romance, debt-erasing gifts and the eclipse are among  most joyous moments of 2023 - Kicking Giants

AN AWE-INSPIRING ECLIPSE

From Oregon’s coast to the beaches of Corpus Christi, Texas, millions of people in October donned special glasses and gazed upward to take in the dazzling “ ring of fire” eclipse of the sun.

FILE - The moon passes between Earth and the sun during a rare "ring of fire" eclipse seen from Bryce Canyon National Park, Utah, Oct. 14, 2023. (AP Photo/Rick Bowmer, File)
FILE – The moon passes between Earth and the sun during a rare “ring of fire” eclipse seen from Bryce Canyon National Park, Utah, Oct. 14, 2023. (AP Photo/Rick Bowmer, File)

“It’s kind of spiritual, but in a way that is almost tangible,” University of Texas at San Antonio astrophysics professor Angela Speck said as she recalled the type of eclipse that ancient Mayan astronomers called a “broken sun.”

Crowds in the path of the eclipse erupted in cheers when the moon blocked out all but a brilliant circle of the sun’s outer edge. Participants at an international balloon fiesta in Albuquerque, New Mexico, whooped from the launch pad. Broadcasters for NASA said they felt a chill as the moon cast a shadow over the earth — and one broadcaster was so overcome with emotion that she began crying.

The phenomenon was a prelude to the total solar eclipse that will sweep across Mexico, the eastern half of the U.S. and Canada, in April 2024. But the next “ring of fire” eclipse won’t be visible in the U.S. until 2039 and then only in parts of Alaska.

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