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Messages from neighborly Medfordites

The first week of my Medford adventure has gotten off to a low-key start.

This is good. Low-key is about all I can handle now that I am old and broken and impotent.

A quick recap of the previous column: I decided last week to pop smoke in Ashland and moved to Medford. I'd lived in Ashland for six years and figured it was time for a change.

At the end of the piece, I solicited ideas from my Medford readers. I asked for suggestions on eateries, drinkeries and other places in Meddy to check out.

And thus spake the Medfordites. The column drew the largest email response since its inception four years ago.

(Four years. Why has the periphery of my vision suddenly become blurry and my head start to ache? If I wasn't already sitting, I would have to do so quickly to keep from falling over.)

Most of the responses were kindly welcomes to Medford from folks who have lived here for quite some time. A few took shots at Ashland's pretension and ever-rising cost of living, although most expressed admiration of Ashland and seemed glad that it was close by — close enough to visit, at least.

Among the best responses came from Sally, who wrote:

"Glad to read that you are frequenting the west end of downtown — Gypsy, Bohemian, 4 Daughters. One place you really must try is Rosso's Trattoria, it is at the corner of Ninth and Grape. ... They not only have excellent sandwiches ... but they also have music on Friday and Saturday nights. Slippery Zipper has played there a time or two, but the word hasn't gotten out yet, and they could sure use a boost with you writing about the place.

I am a senior citizen and I read your column every week in the Tempo, and I have to say, you really crack me up!"

There's so much to love about the above. Good on you, Sally! A self-described "senior citizen" who goes to check out a band called Slippery Zipper? I can dig that. And I've eaten at Rosso's a few times and liked it. I guess it's time to see what Slippery Zipper is all about, yes?

And this from Gerry:

"I made the move to Medford from Ashland 11 years ago. Shortly after my move I was at a conference and a colleague came up to me and said 'You live in Ashland. Can I get a ride home with you?' When I replied that I had moved to Medford she looked at me with appall and said 'Why would anyone ever want to live in Medford?'

I don't regret making the move. For me, Medford feels like more of a working class community that I can relate to. I love the little neighborhoods and how easy it is to get places. I experience Medford having more of a diverse culture."

I'm probably not qualified to comment on the diversity issue, having just moved to Medford a week ago. But I have walked around my neighborhood — South Holly Street — a fair amount this past week and noticed mobs of children — Hispanic, black and white — playing together along the streets and in parks. I don't recall seeing a lot of kids of any color running around raising kiddie hell in Ashland. Could be tied to the affordability thing. Just not sure a young family with more than one brat can raise the cash to make a go of it in the little mountain town to the south. A shame on so many levels and a hard fact that will come to haunt the town in due time.

And then there's this from resident hippie Joshua, who posted his reply on the comment board:

"Well, we're obviously not going to miss you Chris! The way I figure it, the more people that call others "dirt heads" who get ran out of town, the better. Just sayin..."

So I made some hippie crack in the last column, referring to them as "dirtheads." It seems Joshua, whose Internet avatar, it should be noted, is a sign with the words "Peace and Love" written in pink, psychedelic lettering, took offense.

Notice the hippie says "we're not going to miss you" as if the hippie speaks for the entire town. A telling detail.

First of all, I don't make it a habit to argue with hippies. It's base work that dulls the mind. Secondly, no one ran me out of Ashland. I left on good terms to seek a new experience in a new place. Third, if, in fact, I was run out of there it was on my own accord to escape self-righteous dirtheads who make the place intolerable sometimes.

Fourth, I hate the Grateful Dead.

Anyway, I've enjoyed my new home so far and look forward to learning more about my digs. Keep the recommendations coming, dear readers

Reach reporter Chris Conrad at 541-776-4471; or email cconrad@mailtribune.com.