Wednesday, August 04, 2004

Hebron Crossroads 8-08-04
by Jeff Gill
Hartford Fair -- you think of sunny skies, sudden downpours, stock barns and amusement tents, midway rides and demolition derbies.
OK, and from the Hebron Crossroads area, you think of a long, long drive, farther than it would take to get to the Ohio State Fair. But Licking County is the second largest land-area county in the state, so what do you expect?
Through next Saturday, out past Croton north of Johnstown, this "Independent" Fair, not a county fair, will host our county 4-H displays (including this area's Prime Producers booth), county entries in quilting, gardening, and pie baking. But don't call it a county fair! County champions in swine, beef, and equestrian competition will be declared: since parts of Knox and Delaware Counties participate, don't call it a county fair. This is the Hartford Fair, bub, and don't you forget it. And a proud tradition it is, too.
Last week the family was on vacation, and we got to spend a day at my own childhood county fair, the Porter County (Indiana) Fair, their 154th edition. This is one big honkin' county fair, larger than many state fairs (we were always told), with sights to see like 20 "farm scene" entries in the 4-H barn.
For all the kids entering projects from 4-H in fair judging, i can't help but mention my sister Debbie. For four years she entered a dress and a food item in the county fair, winning a "participated ribbon."
Then she won not only the county "Grand Champion" awards, but went on to the Indiana State Fair, gaining both a "Reserve Grand Champion" for her challa bread but a "Grand Champion" for the outfit she handmade.
This is cool enough for a high school kid, but my real point is that she then went on to get a PhD in apparel merchandising and interior design, became a college professor, and travelled with her work on fabric and fashion to New York, Paris, and Milan, not to mention Nazca, Peru to evaluate ancient Inca textiles from the Andes.
All because she kept on entering the county fair with her 4-H projects. From dusty fairgrounds to exotic mountaintops: it can happen, trust me! I've seen it with my own eyes.
Speaking of watching the skies, if not the mountaintops (Sunset Hill west of Hebron doesn't count), the night of August 11 & 12 offers the Perseid meteor shower. These nighttime streaks of blazing light are the last hurrahs of dust from Comet Swift-Tuttle, a regular visitor to our heavens, peeled off that ice ball around 1862, now burning up in Earth's atmosphere.
Early in the evening of Aug. 11 to the east and after 2 am the morning of Aug. 12 more to the west you should see 40 or more meteors per hour, with a few less most of the evenings leading up to those nights and just after.
Fanning out of the constellation Perseus (hence the Perseids), these dashes of light in the darkness show how the cosmos and this planet continue to trade material and influence through the long ages. Go out Wednesday night, lay out a sleeping bag to the northeast, and lie down with your head to the southwest. If you can trace the course of the Milky Way, you'll see the main track the Perseids will follow.
Hebron Christian Church is pleased to welcome the Land of Legend Barbershop Chorus, directed by John Tegtmeyer, to their worship Aug. 15 at 10:30 am. You may well have heard them already, as these men travel all over Licking County during the summers, sharing the gift of their music with congregations in communities large and small. Good to have you all in Hebron, thanks to Kent Herreman!
All of us pray that there are no further terrorist attacks in the US, and many suspect that the next one is inevitable nonetheless. With a recent increased level of alert in the financial district of New York City, i'm reminded of the remarkable monument on the very steps of the New York Stock Exchange, right under the gaze of George Washington's statue across the way marking the first inauguration of a US president.
"The Ohio Company," a stock venture organized by a Cutler, one of the families ancestral to the Dawes clan just up Route 13, is remembered where 212 years ago a group of stockbrokers began yelling at each other with strange hand motions. The hand motions are now computer trades, and the yelling is often into wireless headsets, but that marker recalls a day only recently past when the fate of adventurers and tracts of wilderness were settled by a simple exchange of stock.
May the New York Stock Exchange continue on uninterrupted, and may the carving honoring "The Ohio Company" stand unmarred for many years to come.
Jeff Gill is pastor of Hebron Christian Church, and owner of no stock himself; if you have tips on buggy-whip futures or swampland in the Sahara, or news of local interest, call 928-4066 or e-mail

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