Six Degrees of Separation

Hot Day in Timber Valley

It’s hot up here today…really hot.  Now I’m hydrated and ready to type.  I have so much in my head I’m really not sure where to begin.


First of all, I’ve been painting like crazy.  I will have finished eight paintings by Monday.  They are smaller watercolors but are so loose and nice and juicy that I totally love them.  I think taking my “Creativity Coaching” class from Eric Maisel has somehow transferred to me the excellent advice I give to my clients. My own advice is rubbing off on me!  Normally I don’t listen to myself much, but I give some damned good advice and it would be silly for me to ignore it.  Hence eight new paintings.  I have lots more to do and really want to start on my new pieces for the Attic Gallery’s December show that Sandy Visse and I will be doing together.


Yesterday was a sad day.  Ron and I went to the graveside service of a very good friend of ours, Les Jackson.  We have known Les and his wife Julie Sackett since Julie and I met in a watercolor class that I was giving.  I can’t tell you how much we’ve enjoyed both of them over the years.  Les was a huge baseball fan (buried with a special Louisville Slugger) and a classic car collector, who could tell you anything about either subject.  Les and Julie always made us feel welcome at their many houses and have always supported both Ron and I in our art.  Julie is the strong woman that I’ve always aspired to be.  She can get anything done if it needs to be done.  I’ve never known anyone like her.  She and Les were best friends and partners. One of Les's Girls Their dogs Chica and Zori are some of my favorite playmates.  We will all miss Les.  At the after service get together at Julie’s I kept thinking I caught a glimpse of Les on the patio, in with the dogs, or hugging Julie.  It’s weird how that happens.  But we didn’t cry at the get together.  We talked a lot about Les and all of us ate and enjoyed the wonderful food and good weather.  I had the pleasure of meeting Bob and Carol Schwartz, Julie’s neighbors at the beach, seeing Julie’s brothers again and finally meeting her daughter, who I have heard a lot about but have never met. One of Les's Girls Zori 

 I was really impressed with the pastor at the graveside service who did a wonderful job.  On the way home (Ron and my two hour drive in the car with one stop at Flying J) we talked about the simple things he said that both of us thought were great.  He talked about death.  Now usually humans don’t like talking death.  Better to ignore it until the last minute, right?  But he talked about how death can be compared to moving from a house that you’ve lived in and loved and then moving on to another house.  When the body dies the spirit packs up its boxes, hires an invisible U-Haul, takes a loving look at the empty house and moves on to a better place.  I like this image.  Les wasn’t a believer…at least not in some organized way…but he was a kind and good man who loved and protected his family. He would have liked hearing this pastor speak… if only he had been home.


Talk about six degrees of separation.  While waiting to drive up to the graveside for services we ran into some of Ron’s students from back in the Jesuit days.  They were all attending another funeral at the same place and all ran up to him.  It was like a homecoming.  These “kids”, not quite the word for them now, have turned into the best adults a person could imagine. They were all funny, intelligent, happy and loving. We realized how much we had missed seeing them for so long. I hope they will keep in touch and we can get together again.

 Chalk Outline

And here’s what you’ve been waiting for.  The Timber Valley Murder.  I know you’ve all been just itchin’ (Timber Valley talk) for news on this.  I’ve gotten all of the press releases from the Klickitat County Sheriff’s Department but they are not saying much.  So far from those releases I’ve gathered that our own Timber Valley Home Owners Association Treasurer, Anita Wolf, 46, shot her live in boyfriend, Michael Shon White, 41 with a shotgun on a Monday, hid in the woods for three days and then went back to the house and called the police to turn herself in on Friday.  I’ve been talking to many neighbors and friends and have gotten quite a bit of speculation and rumor.  Up here in TV rumor spreads like wild fire (see my blog on the Emu escape) because lots of long time residents are related.  So I’m slowly coming up with a family tree for Anita and her relationships with the notorious Smith (The oldest family up here) and the Harris family.  I feel like a detective (one of the things I’ve always wanted to be, a Skip Tracer) and I’m beginning to see how hard it is to piece everything together.  Keep heart!  I’m still on it and look forward to a short story or a book that will combine fiction and fact and also give you a peek into life in the deep woods.  Just the fact that it’s easy to hide for three or four days in the woods up here is shocking in itself.  Oh, the bomb squad and the Washington State Patrol Crime Lab were also up investigating due to the presence of explosives on the property. (what next?) My dog Cody and I went up Rustic Road on our walk to see the crime scene, but Anita and Michael Shon lived so far back from the road we couldn’t see a thing.  So the investigation is still on and Cody and I are on top of it.  Be patient. 


  I could keep writing all day but I’ll stop here and get back to painting.  Please make comments when you want.  I love getting them and reading them.

I have one quote for you from one of my heros.


“The good memory you keep it.  The bad memory you let it go.  That’s life.”

                          –Cesar Millan  (The Dog Whisperer)

6 thoughts on “Six Degrees of Separation

  1. Sue Martin

    I love that image of moving out of one house and into another. I’d like to envision my new one as clean and clutter-free. Do I have to die first?

  2. Lisa

    Synchronicity strikes again… and again…

    1. We just said goodbye to Will Richards’ parents, visiting the West Coast from Minnesota, and catching up on all the realions.

    2. I’ve become a genealogimaniac. let me know if I can help with that “family tree.”


  3. Jim wolf

    As to your looking to what happend at 27 rustic rd your way off. there was no shotgun and that house was mine and hers not mike and hers but you are right about the family there are a lot of them you might ad the Osburns to and the wolfs. just to keep things in order it is not a ficthion story it involves and hurts a lot of people including her children so no bull shit please if you want to make things up. pick something else please

    1. Jerry Fenter Post author

      I’m sorry if I got anything wrong. All I have to go on is what I hear from people who tell me what they know. I’d be glad to talk to you about it and I don’t want to hurt anyone. I can even change all names if you want. I certainly do not consider anything that happened as a joke. But in a small place like Timber Valley this is what everyone is talking about. It’s hard to just ignore. Please write to me if you want to give me the true facts as you see them and know that I mean well. I’d be glad to publish anything you would want to say. I have only heard good things about you and your family from everyone. Please forgive me if I hurt you in any way. I will keep writing as police reports continue because I’m interested and concerned as a member of the Timber Valley community.


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