This is a really nice little town. There are, like, seven Grateful Dead cover bands here in the valley, the Valley of Smoke, as the locals called it when my ancestor arrived all a-lust for adventure and found adventure too much hard work.
He lit out for Idaho with a herd of stolen horses and spent his life on the Camas Prairie entertaining the locals by taking out his glass eye, and, through the science of ventriloquism, making it appear to speak, this in the 1860's. His father found tritinium above Roseburg and staked a claim, but as they hadn't yet invented the Atom Bomb, he moved on before the claim paid off. (See "Uranium mine tailings in Lakeview" to see how the bomb ruined our own country.)
One ancestor stayed here in Ashland, became Sheriff, and died on the same day as his wife, both from food poisoning, the newspaper said, but it's just another chapter in the long tale of murder, jealousy, avarice, racism, greed, and intrigue that makes up the history and soul of our pretty little town.
It really is a pretty little town.
After a long, wet spring, everybody's gardens are in full bloom. Wandering among the historical houses and low-rent apartments on my way to Safeway in the finally hot early July afternoon, I encounter deer taking refuge under porches and in shady backyards.
If I encounter those same deer on our dark sidewalks at night, when the deer are staking out their claim to those same beautiful gardens I'd admired that afternoon, I give them a wide berth. Those things attack! They chased our friend's daughter all the way down the street! I'm told by a man who's fought a deer that they're surprisingly strong, all muscle, and that they fight dirty.
Good thing we've also got cougars in town, and there are several women here who walk with the wolves.
It's a really nice little town.
My neighbors and I have been doing each other small kindnesses. Oh! Did I mention that one night I saw a small herd of young extremist deer actually sneaking up on a group of college kids drinking on their front porch? I rushed off so I wouldn't have to witness the results.
What we really need here is Ted Nugent, but a couple more cougars would probably do.
This really is a nice little town.