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Cookies top the vacation list

Sometimes it’s hard to know where to start. Columns just don’t write themselves and there isn’t always a moment of clarity where a great idea forms. In those cases, you have to push through and make it happen. It reminds me of the movie scenes where the author sits there staring at a blank sheet of paper in the typewriter, or, more appropriately these days, the blinking cursor on the computer screen.

The good thing about columns is you can have a lot of short thoughts strung together in a patchwork quilt sort of way that is still engaging, while not having to get from Point A to Point B and have it all makes sense in the end like a novel or news story.

This week, lots of ideas in my mind, including the fact that my daughter recently celebrated her birthday and is somehow just a couple of years away from turning 30. With a two-year-old daughter of her own, she will soon understand how fast the time truly goes.

Preschool now, high school graduation in a heartbeat.

My sister Sue got in touch recently to let me know she and her husband Steve are planning a trip back to New York to see family in June. They will get there in early June and only bought one-way tickets, simply because they are both retired and can be flexible enough to stay however long they want. Often, my brother-in-law heads back to California while my sister stays on back home for a couple extra weeks. On one of their most recent trips, my dad said my sister got on a spree of making Rice Krispies treats and he had enough to last for months. My specialty is oatmeal cookies; I always bake up a batch or two while there.

Sue and Steve originally hoped to be there for dad’s birthday in late May this year but ended up with another trip that conflicted so they will take the first trip, get back to rest up, then head off on trip number two, to the east coast.

They will be there for Father’s Day and my sister was hoping I might be able to work it out so I can be there during some of their stay as well. Once we get through the graduation season here, I might just have to sneak off for a week.

One of the things I enjoy most when getting back to New York is not having to do anything unless I feel like it. Maybe that sounds odd but, having grown up in the rural upstate NY area, I am not your typical tourist heading to the Empire State who feels the need to see the sights and head to New York City. In the entire time I lived in New York, I probably went to the city a dozen times. One was for a high school field trip, several were for New York Mets baseball games at the old Shea Stadium when the radio station I worked for was a Mets affiliate and we got tickets, a couple other times were special trips with family, including a Statue of Liberty tour with my mom and my grandma. Since moving to California – and ‘visiting’ back home for vacations – I have been a couple of other times, as my daughter was interested in experiencing it. New York City is a nearly 200-mile drive from where I grew up; it’s a fun trip but give me Cooperstown and the Baseball Hall of Fame or Niagara Falls over Times Square any day. Okay, the red stairs in Times Square are cool, I’ll give you that, and as far as a spot for people watching, it’s definitely one of the best.

However, when I do get the chance for a vacation, I really want to spend it just relaxing and connecting with family and friends, reading a good book, taking walks in the fresh country air, and – of course – making sure my dad has some homemade oatmeal cookies.


Marg Jackson is editor of The Oakdale Leader, The Escalon Times and The Riverbank News. She may be reached at or by calling 209-847-3021.