Harry Potter and the Family Cookout

Reluctantly, I have pulled my nose from the pages of Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince. Rowling really seems to have found her groove again, after a somewhat disjointed fifth installment. The chapters read like chapters, instead one big regurgitated mess of story, and she’s really pulling out all the stops in terms of bringing stuff together. She’s only got this book and one more to get the story told, and she’s finally doing just that. It’s very exciting to read, both as a fan of the books and as a writer.

My adventure to procure a copy of the book for myself was a little too exciting, on the other hand. I ended up at the same 24-hour Walmart I bought Order of the Phoenix at, but I was there for the actual midnight launch this time, instead of showing up an hour or so later, after having tried everywhere else. A line formed spontaneously in front of the cash registers but, rather than bring the pallette of books to the front of the line and hand them out one by one, which would have been the safe, organized way to do things, they just set the damn thing in the middle of the throng and let us have at it. Nearly trampled both on my way into and out of the feeding frenzy, I counted myself lucky I’d come out with a copy of the book and with all of my limbs intact.

When I got home, I stayed up and read the first three chapters. Though I was thoroughly enthralled with the text, I knew I had to get up early for a family gathering today, so I cut myself off and went to bed.

Up early enough that I probably could have snuck in another chapter or two, I ended up avoiding the book for fear of getting caught up in it. Instead, I had my breakfast, took my shower, and brought the car across the street to fill its tank. When Mom, Dad, and Grandma arrived shortly thereafter, we decided to take only one car, so my tank-filling was all for naught, but I didn’t mind. I was probably too tired to drive anyway.

We spent the afternoon at my cousin Rena’s, admiring the way in which our little secret became not so secret anymore, and without any work on our part. Grandma had been whispering the news to some people and those people’s offers of congratulations let on to the others, not yet in the know, that something was up. It felt rather like some old schoolyard game, one where the goal might be to see how quickly a rumor can spread.

In any event, it was a pleasant afternoon of grilled food and rambunctious younger cousins. After Mom, Dad, and Grandma dropped us off, we ended up eating dinner at Newicks, a seafood place just down the street. And after Newicks I got back to my reading, pausing only to give Stephanie her PIO shot (which Dad would call a PIA shot), and, later, to write this entry.

Since it’s probably time for me to go to sleep now, I don’t think they’ll be any more Potter for me tonight. But, come tomorrow morning, you can be fairly certain where you’ll find me.