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Sisters talk about something other than their late, maybe not-so-great dad

Part 4 of the fictionalized adventures of two sisters, Sherry and Dawn, one Medford-bred, the other Ashland-loving, and their adventures across the Rogue Valley. Find prior chapters at www.dailytidings.com.

After my father’s funeral on Saturday, we all gathered at Sherry and Ray’s palatial South Medford home for drinks and stories. Ray was a mortgage broker who had sold sub-prime loans all over the valley. He was 55, compact, smart and rich, with a phenomenal golf swing. Not my favorite person.

“We just saw Rodney Carrington at Britt in August and he was fantastic, just so real,” Ray announced to Josh, Sherry and I, as he refilled our wine glasses with Roxy Ann Pinot Gris.

“Yeah, a real redneck. I saw Bill Maher at Britt and he was even better,” I glowered.

“Let’s not get into a political standoff here,” Sherry said, smiling tightly. She stretched her neck and brushed invisible lint off her tastefully tight black silk dress. She kept one eye on the other guests in the living room, knowing that she was at the epicenter of a sibling earthquake.

“Right, let’s relive stories about dear old Dad, although I doubt anyone could top Josh’s performance today. 'Scorpion Lips' indeed.” I said.

“He was a great man, a physician, a healer.” Sherry’s eyes swiveled to the middle distance, remembering.

“He was mean with a raging temper. He beat the dog and he took potshots at us — or don’t you remember, Sherry?” Josh was still hurting from the stunningly silent reception his poem had received.

“Let’s toast to great mean men, shall we? More wine, Ray?” I planned on getting drunk and then perhaps throwing up on their perfect Persian rug. Why not? Josh was driving and I was in mean mood.

I grabbed a bottle of wine and went outside to watch the Medford city lights twinkle from the large deck off the kitchen. Sherry followed me.

“Listen Dawn, I’ve got to tell you something and it’s not about Dad.” She glanced around furtively before taking a puff of her black e-cigarette

“Thank God.”

“I almost got blown UP.” She shuddered and took a long drag.

“What?”

“I was supposed to show this foreclosed house in Medford yesterday at 3 p.m. and I usually get there early to make sure everything looks OK. Well, I was coming up the street and I saw the front windows blow out and heard this big bang.”

“Are you okay? Was anybody hurt? That’s horrible.”

“Nobody was hurt, but if it had happened just 10 minutes later, I’d be dead.”

“Oh Sherry, I’m so glad you’re OK.” I gently hugged her. She seemed so fragile.

“And there have been explosions at other foreclosed houses. There was one in Ashland last week.”

“I know. I heard it during yoga class.”

“I think something is going on. Something organized.” Sherry nodded sagely, but the effect was marred when one of her false eyelashes fell into her wine.

Later, as Josh drove me home in his big, white work truck, I pondered what Sherry had said. Could there be some group sneaking around bombing foreclosed homes? What would be the point? And why hadn’t this group claimed ownership of these events? How many houses had blown up anyway? I decided to do some research.

I’d lost my own home via a sub-prime loan from my good-old brother-in-law, Ray, and had several friends struggle with similarly-inflated mortgages, watching heartbroken as they lost their homes, good credit, and peace of mind. I suppose it really wasn’t that much of a stretch to understand why someone might want to blow up empty bank-owned homes. But it was so reckless and ruthless.

Next week: A visit to the Ashland dog park.