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Sunday, August 15, 2004

Contrived identity, bad taste run amok


Your voice: Cathryn Hilker

It is increasingly difficult to have one's own thoughts and identity while living in Warren County. We were told in the Enquirer ("Deerfield enters new shopping era," July 29) that because of a new 400,000-square-foot shopping mall near the Fields Ertel interchange along Interstate 71, we country folk will now have "a gathering place that will enhance the community's sense of identity."

Thank goodness. I have been worried about my sense of identity for years, and choosing that intersection is excellent since it is already a gathering place. From 7 a.m. to 7 p.m., that is about all cars are able to do.

Warren County is already so popular that we have one of the highest growth rates in the state. We lose farmland at a rate exceeded only by rain forest destruction, and, best of all, we have Homearama - again. Its million-dollar homes are neatly stacked one next to the other just a few miles from that same intersection and our newest "identity" center.

But not to worry. Just up the road in Monroe, not only do we have our very own Hustler store, but also, as if to add balance to the community, we have a 42-foot statue of Christ at the Solid Rock Church. Now I am not against a statue of Christ. In fact, I am not against a statue of anybody. I once traveled to Japan to see the famous Great Buddah of Kamakura. Cast in 1252 A.D., this statue stands (actually it sits) 43 feet, 71/2 inches. Easy to see when traveling north on Interstate 75, Christ's statue is made of plastic. Hard to locate, the Buddha is made of bronze and weighs 121 tons - a fact that leads me to believe that things were not all that bad in the 1252 A.D. art community.

There is something for everyone in Warren County. We now have an identity center, religious icons, gridlock traffic and million-dollar homes. The few who still call this gentle rural land home can only watch in amazement as more and more "amenities" we are told we are missing come to our county. What we really miss are the silent, star-filled skies, unspoiled by light pollution, seemingly endless fields of golden wheat, and, most of all, small groups of children playing "tag-you're-it" on dark nights when the scent of cut alfalfa hangs in the air. This activity, unfortunately, has been replaced by big-screen TV.

Perhaps all that is needed now for a unique identity is our own Web site: www.warrencounty@badtaste.com.

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Cathryn Hilker, a longtime resident of Warren County, is founder of the Cat Ambassador Program at the Cincinnati Zoo.

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