Wouldn’t you know it – just as soon as I was able to take a breath, the cold and flu bug bit me.
The last couple of weeks of school are always jam packed and this year was even a bit crazier than usual. From May 20 through June 2, I covered the Relay For Life of Escalon (plus participated in that as a committee member), traveled to Stockton for playoff softball (Section winners, shout out to Tony at Hula’s for making sure all the varsity girls got their free Frostie), went to Stockton and Lodi for Cougar baseball (Section runner-ups), had Memorial Day observances and then three nights of graduation ceremonies in Escalon followed by a stint working at Sober Grad.
Suffice to say, the day after all that was over, my throat got sore, my head got stuffy and the last thing I wanted to do was head to the office on Monday to coordinate another week’s worth of three newspapers.
Oh, and some silly department head (yes, me) somehow managed to allow TWO of our THREE fulltime staff members in the newsroom to go on vacation at the same time. Not sure how this little faux pas occurred; we don’t usually let half the staff leave during the same week (even if school is out). My guess is that since Teresa Hammond had put in her vacation request for her June time off back in January, I didn’t even remember that when Dennis Cruz submitted his June time off request. Probably would have been a good thing to put on the calendar in my office. Honestly, I don’t have any recollection of Dennis requesting time off but I am sure the paperwork was signed. By me. So that left Virginia and I to staff the newsroom for the week. Luckily (and thankfully) the reporters around here know they have to leave some stories behind before they go. So even when you aren’t here your name still shows up in the paper. That way I also have some material ‘in the bank’ when my reporters are on their well-deserved break.
Teresa handles the bulk of the Oakdale beat, schools, businesses, human interest stories and anything else that comes her way; Dennis is our Oakdale sports guy and now will be delving into some news stories during the summer when school is out and there isn’t as much in the sports arena keeping him busy; and Virginia is the primary Riverbank reporter, covering the City of Action. Longtime Riverbank resident Ric McGinnis continues as a ‘stringer’ as well, attending a variety of sports and community events.
We also plan to make sure our summer intern takes on multiple assignments. Especially since she was also gone on vacation last week. Three days on the job and she takes off. But that was a previously scheduled family vacation after she graduated high school; couldn’t really tell her not to go.
Regardless, the ‘bug’ that nailed me when I tried to catch my breath has been periodically rearing its ugly head all throughout this past week. It gives me a half-day reprieve and gets me all excited that it’s finally over; then nighttime comes and I can’t breathe without sitting all propped up. My vacation is still on the horizon and there’s a lot of ground to cover between now and then. Guess I’ll just grab some more Vitamin C, try to fit in a good night’s sleep one night this week (after the papers are on the newsstands, of course) and try not to breathe on anyone in the near vicinity.
Taking a quick break to get outside for a day of hiking at Cherry Lake on Saturday was a blessing, though; I was having so much fun not staring at a computer that I really didn’t care my wellness meter was at about 75 percent. Running a quart low is much more enjoyable when you are basking in nature instead of trying to meet a deadline.
Marg Jackson is editor of The Escalon Times, The Oakdale Leader and The Riverbank News. She may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or by calling 847-3021.