Wednesday, June 18, 2003

Hebron Crossroads 6-22-03
By Jeff Gill

Dr. Chicky over at Mantonya Chiropractic will have some extra business shortly.
No, not from the preparations for the Ohio bicentennial wagon train coming into our area July 1 (see further down for more); no, not because people are exercising more and need help adjusting to increased physical activity.
She will be helping both young and old alike realign their spines after just picking up and carrying home their copy of "Harry Potter and the Order of Chinese Takeout," or whatever the title will be (ask a ten year old, they’ll have it word perfect).
At 318,000 pages, the weight of four copies will strain the axles of most family mini-vans, so a light truck is recommended for those picking up multiple copies. Betty Green at Park National will be available for conversations about financing if you have more than one child and they, of course, can’t bear to wait until another sibling has finished it. With the discount chain price still at a steep $6,723.50, the fiscal reverberations (personal bankruptcy, embezzlement at work, garnished wages) will echo through the community; actually, the world.
And the state legislature is discussing major decisions in conference committee about spending cuts and tax increases that will effect all Ohioans for years to come, and influence our everyday life, but hey, who is more interesting, Harry Potter or Larry Householder? (Sorry about that, Mr. Speaker; since he has kids, I’m sure he will understand.)
Really and truly, I’m thrilled that kids around the Hebron Crossroads are reading, and actually clamoring to read books over 800 pages (no, I’m not kidding now), but the apocalyptic hype over the latest installment on J.K. Rowling’s epic tale is a bit weird given the other issues at hand.
Or perhaps a more perceptive critic would note that "other issues at hand" like war, terrorism, recession, and unemployment are exactly why folks want to obsess over this children’s lit phenomeon.
Speaking of economic ills, don’t forget that instead of paying upwards of $30 for the tome (still not kidding again. . .yet), you can go to the Hebron Library and sign up for one of their copies to read. There are names on the list already, but while you wait for Harry to arrive in your hands, they have a wide variety of Other Books you can read, and even a "Summer Reading Program" to score points in to win prizes and rewards along the way!
Occasionally, I will talk to a parent who has concerns about Master Potter and his Hogwartian mates: y’know, magic and wizards and spells and all that. Putting on my pastor hat (looking suspiciously like a Chicago Cubs ball cap), can I reassure any and all that the only malign influences I can spot in the series is the aforementioned tendency to spinal curvature from their steadily increasing weight (still not joking) and the always present need to not get obsessed with any one oeuvre, whether it’s American Girl dolls, Cubs pitching, or even Ohio State football.
If you’re still uncertain, I can recommend two more suggestions. Go on-line (the Library can show you how if you don’t have it at home) and look up some of Ms. Rowling’s life story and outlook, which is getting more and more obvious, in an artful way, in the books.
The other is: read ‘em yourself before you let your child read them. This is no different than not letting your kids watch TV whose content you’re not sure of: "what dear? I’m busy. . .the Spice channel? OK, as long it isn’t anything too whatever."
The library’s summer reading program is very well suited to getting some parent-child reading started, which would be a gentle start for moms and dads before they have to face pre-reading 227,000 pages of the next Potter opus (kidding again now, I hope).
Farm league baseball may distract a few from Potter-mania, as well as the Shrine tournament down in Newark; maybe someone can feed me our local results for printing in coming weeks. Our Lakewood girls softball had a great end to their season, so young women all around the crossroads are polishing their diamond skills with dreams of making that prestigious team someday.
And a hometown shout out to Sharon Scheidegger with the end of the Licking District Cub Day Camp last week up at Camp Falling Rock. Hebron and Jacksontown were very well represented among the Cubs, staff and adult assistance (hooray Pack 33 particularly!), with over 250 Cubs registered, over a hundred adults involved, and almost 90 Webelos with parents at the overnight campout. Sharon was one of the directors, and they have a great deal to be proud of.
We’ll be putting our Boy Scouts, the Order of the Arrow Dance Team, FFA members and Hartford Jr. Fair Board members to work out at Lakewood High School the afternoon of July 1 as the "Path to Statehood" rolls into the lot. After we get the crew settled and fed, the public is invited in from 6:30 to 8:30 pm for a round of activities and entertainment. Kim Halter is co-ordinating a committee that is feeding the wagoneers supper and breakfast the next morning, plus organizing the activities that Tuesday evening.
Brezina Design & Construction is putting together a greeting on Wednesday am at 10 as the wagon pause at their restored mill offices next to the Historic Crossroads marker, and you’ll be invited to share in that, tours of the mill after, or just to cheer them on their way west.
Much, much more on this next week; don’t let Harry Potter get so interesting that you forget to come out and experience some living history and real adventure right here!

Jeff Gill is pastor of Hebron Christian Church and part of the Licking County Ohio Bicentennial Commission; if you have historic news, call 928-4066 or e-mail