Wednesday, October 08, 2003


The last three weeks of October are in reverse order (reverse for blogs, anyhow) posted together, since i'm travelling my hind end off the rest of the month: enjoy!

Hebron Crossroads 10-12-2003
By Jeff Gill

Fall colors are out all across the landscape; I refer of course to the broad spectrum of campaign signs seen all around the Hebron Crossroads.
Red, white, and blue; black and white; Buckeye scarlet and grey; Browns earth tones; public safety yellow and black. Every possible set of colors is in use, and they are part of the lively conversation that is democracy. Voices, letters to the editors, talks across tables strewn with coffee cups and disemboweled newspapers, color schemes on signage; all help keep the discussion going.
The Hebron Lions are sponsoring a public discussion of sorts: a “Meet the Candidates” night at Hebron Elementary’s gym on Tuesday, October 14 at 7:00 pm. All candidates have been invited for offices relating to the Hebron area. Your friendly correspondent will be the moderator, and questions will be written down by those attending, passed up to yours truly, and I’ll assemble them together into a common set of queries to ask following three minute statements by each candidate.
Some unopposed offices won’t have representatives there, although I’m told John W. Slater will appear as sole candidate for Union Township trustee. We’ll have Lakewood school board candidates, those running for Hebron council, and the mayoral seekers each in turn by office.
I’m looking forward to asking your questions and hearing the candidate answers, and kudos to Hebron Lions for putting on this new tradition for our village.
By the way, all signs are required by the county Board of Elections, whether handmade or store-bought, to have contact info even if in small print on the lower edge. . .a word to the wise. . .

It is good to see that most offices are contested. A healthy sign for democracy is a number of candidates, not a long run of unopposed elections. We have a conversation going on through Hebron village council and our regular planning and zoning meetings about the pace and scope of growth in this area, and the election is just one more stage in the ongoing discussion.
Our current crop of village officials have done a good job of “managing” growth, which in truth can’t be halted (private property being part of the Great American Conversation, y’know), but can be kept within certain reasonable bounds. Dominion Homes builds 200 homes, not 400; apartments have certain requirements to be met even when the owner wants to maximize their income off of their part of an acre.
More is not always better, and less is certainly not always more. What makes for the right mix between Heath’s expansion toward Beaver Run Road and Columbus’ surge from the west will be the context for our elections for many, many years to come.
So support this great new initiative by the Hebron Lions on Tuesday, October 14, which we’ll no doubt be thankful for as a long-standing tradition in the coming election cycles. Let your candidates speak, and ask them your questions; that’s what makes democracy the only spectator sport for real grownups!

Community Youth Mapping is beginning in our area this week. Young people may come to your door or to your business, asking your perception of what makes for good activities for youth and families. This program out of the county Children and Families First council is part of a county wide effort to identify assets and strengths, as opposed to focusing on problems and needs.
If we can target the effective youth-serving programs in Licking County and help them to grow, we’ll really have something! Give those “youth mappers” the benefit of your best sense of what’s good in our community, and I look forward to sharing with you the results.

Three calendar notes to share: A Baked Steak dinner is offered at the United Methodist Church of Hebron on Saturday, October 25, from 4:30 PM. The Price is $5.50 for adults, $2.00 for children, and carryouts are available.
Hebron “Beggars Night” will be on Thursday, October 30, from 5:00 to 7:00 pm; don’t forget to put your porch light on if you welcome trick-or-treaters, and turn it off if you’re not involved.
And, well in advance but exciting news: the Veterans’ Memorial Committee for Hebron announces that on Veteran’s Day, November 11, at 1 pm, a dedication is scheduled out at Evans Park on Refugee Road. We’ll have more to share soon, but mark that date and time on your calendar now. It is after Election Day on November 4, but plan now to join us if you can as Hebron honors her veterans out of the Hebron school.

Jeff Gill is pastor of Hebron Christian Church and your “Meet the Candidates” night moderator Oct. 14 at 7 pm in the Hebron Elementary gym; if you have electoral notes to offer, call 928-4066 or e-mail

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Hebron Crossroads 10-19-2003
By Jeff Gill

With the harvest well on the way to the storehouse (aka garner, silo, bins, or elevator), and the leaves mostly on the lawns, we are deep in the heart of autumn.
Next weekend, we “fall back” an hour, and the circadian rhythms have to go through what is, for me at least, the most jarring reset in the calendar.
Many of us have recently experienced one of the rites of fall: school pictures.
To no one’s surprise here in the home of the Little Guy, pix week came with visible facial blemishes (thanks to one of the myriad colds circulating at school, church, and playground).
But modern photographic technology has the answer. One option they offer in the school package is “Soft Impressions,” which allows the parent to blur the child’s face into Hollywood style soft focus (kind of like shooting Cybill Shephard thru a filter on “Moonlighting”). Or you can trust the rapid healing properties of youth and the fact that you’re recording the facts of growth, not the myths of idyllic childhood, and capture warts, raw nose, and all.
Actually, the whole range of choices left me thinking about how much more challenging parenting is these days. Aside from hazards of drugs and debauchery unknown (we like to think) in past generations, did our parents have to choose between eight primary selection packages, a dozen shades of backdrop (wasn’t it a glorified window blind they pulled down behind all of us?) ranging from fuschia to teal, and among stickers, key fobs, and screensaver CD-ROMs?
I really think my mom had to decide between four wallet sized or eight, and whether or not to slick my ill behaved hair down with Vaseline (she didn’t).
The decision of what to wear on school picture day, on the other hand, has been a parenting challenge throughout the ages.
Mrs. Lincoln: “Little Abe, are we goin’ to pull on the linsey-woolsey trousers, or wear those patched ol’ leather breeches?” Mrs. Madison: “Lil’ Jemmy, what in Heaven’s name did you do with the buckles on your knickers? Those buff colored hose will never go with the butternut jerkin in your portrait by the travelin’ painter fellow.” Mrs. Hezekiah: “Young Adonijah, what have you done with your good twist o’ leather to gird your loins? This scrap of burlap can’t look right carved into a mud tablet.”
We will probably end up with 144 stamp sized photos, a mural adhesive picture suitable for sticking to the living room wall, and eight of that “in-between” size that you can’t send to the grandparents and is a little too large for sending to old college friends with the Christmas letter. We also didn’t pick the Hanukkah dreidel with his picture embedded in Lucite on one side; that will have to wait for another year.

On a slightly more serious note, Hospice of Central Ohio would like to offer a special program to the southern half of Licking County.
Are you a “Caregiver”? Are you part of the “sandwich” generation, with children in school and parents who need special care to allow them to stay in their homes, or just to support a better quality of life in a care facility? Do you need to hear how others deal with the stresses, the strains, and the rewards of caring for a family member of friend as the bridge between formal medical care and the loving community each of us wants to have around us?
“Meeting the Challenges of Caregiving” is a four week series that will start on Thursday, October 30, at 7:00 pm. Hebron Christian Church will host the program, run by the caring professionals of Hospice of Central Ohio, on that date and November 6, 13, and 20 in their meeting room at 612 W. Main next to the church building.
The series is free and open to anyone whether currently providing caregiving services to a friend or family member, or simply if you expect to be in that position someday. . .which pretty much could describe almost any of us.
If you have questions or would like more information, call Hospice at (740) 344-0311 or (800) 804-2505.

Don’t forget: next Saturday, a “Baked Steak dinner” is offered at the United Methodist Church of Hebron on October 25, from 4:30 PM. The Price is $5.50 for adults, $2.00 for children, and carryouts are available. And that night, set your clocks back one hour, and change your smoke detector batteries!

Jeff Gill is pastor of Hebron Christian Church and a strong advocate for the life affirming work of the Hospice movement. If you have tales of caregiving or news of local interest, call 928-4066 or e-mail

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Hebron Crossroads 10-26-2003
By Jeff Gill

Beggar’s Night at the Hebron Crossroads is Thursday night from 5:00 pm to 7:00 pm.
You can, if you wish to participate, turn on your porch light, and leave it off if you’d rather the trick-or-treaters pass your door by.
Some folks just set out a bowl of candy on a folding chair when they’re forced to be away, and the interesting thing about Hallowe’en is that you rarely hear of that strategy going awry. As with Mark Twain’s death, reports of October 31 related misbehavior are often greatly exaggerated.
On this night of costumed and sugared excess, certain proprieties are observed. There are always a few visitors who seem a bit too old for the sport (I keep a bag of carrots near the door for them), and once in a great while the campaigners for the next week’s election get turned around on dates and show up all too well disguised as politicians: otherwise, the kids are alright, as The Who once said. I’ve seen Pete Townshend and Roger Daltrey on Beggar’s Night, along with Mick Jagger, Benjamin Franklin, and He-Man, plus Ariel, Pocahontas, and Cinderella.
Last year I got Fidel Castro (he had no idea how scary he was), Mickey Mouse, a giant M&M, a pair of dice (twins), and Gumby. This year I’m curious to see if anyone pulls off Nemo or Dory, or Arianna Huffington would be a scary choice in my book, and I hear the Incredible (Mini) Hulk may make an appearance in our neighborhood.
Some neighborhoods get their hundreds, and others have but a few nearby visitors, depending on the arrival of van loads from isolated spots in the township. You can eye this practice cynically, but if there’s a “thank you” behind the mask or make-up, I really don’t care where the kid lives. And I hear many more thanks than grunts each year from the parade of princesses, wrestlers, ballerinas, and spidery-juveniles.
Can you forgive a bit of preaching? This pastor notes that, while there are “so-called” pagan roots of Hallowe’en, the word pagan itself comes from a root meaning “the countryside, *paganos*.” Folk tradition around the turn of the seasons, with shortening days and skeletal trees against ghostly moons, was gathered in by the early Christian church to be baptized into their calendar as a day to honor the dead in faith, the saints or “hallowed dead” of the Church Eternal, on November 1. That makes the eve of All Hallows’ commemoration “All Hallows’ Eve,” or to adapt the Old English, Hallowe’en, October 31.
The flickering light of life, glowing out across the harvested fields from a hollowed vegetable shell, whether turnip, gourd, or pumpkin, echoed the light of God placed within the human form. In a day when the ravages of illness and death were more clearly and regularly seen by young and old alike, the nighttime meaning of the Jack O’Lantern was reassuring and hopeful, not scary and dreadful.
Our need to laugh at the growing dark and sing out our faith in light’s certain return is well expressed by the best of Hallowe’en traditions. The sweetness of youth, and age’s acknowledgment that life is a gift to be given to the young are all a wonderful part of this “frightful” holiday. We mock the power death claims over life, and celebrate the end of one season rooted in the deeper promise of brighter, longer days to come.
Sounds like a holiday worth celebrating, right? In the right way, anyhow, as with most celebrations, even including the pagan rituals of Buckeye victories. . .
Outhouse tipping, thankfully, is a relic of the unlamented past, and let’s keep any newer property damage related pranks in your trick-or-treat bag. . .or there’s a costumed crusader (not caped) who will show you a few tricks with handcuffs and citations to appear before an ominously robed individual.
Honor the best that Hallowe’en represents, and you’ll find a depth to this season you may have missed!

Don’t forget on your own calendar that Election Day is Tuesday, November 4, and that the Veterans’ Memorial Committee for Hebron announces a Veteran’s Day, November 11 dedication at 1 pm in Evans Park on Refugee Road. We’ll have more to share soon, but mark that date and time on your calendar now. Plan now to join our community if you are available as Hebron honors her veterans out of the Hebron school.

Jeff Gill is pastor of Hebron Christian Church and father of a little Hallowe’en celebrator; if you have seasonal insights or tales of the Great Pumpkin, call 928-4066 or e-mail Mark All Hallows’ Eve responsibly, and let’s all be here in November to celebrate Thanksgiving!