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Finding That Feeling Of Hope
Marg-Ins 10-7-20

Friday was a bad day.

Not specifically for any reason other than that is what I chose to make it.

Frustrated, irritated; you would think I got up on the proverbial ‘wrong side’ of the bed. But with one side of the bed against the wall, there’s only one side for me to get out of anyway so I can’t even blame it on that.

Sometimes I think it’s important to figure out where the bad mood comes from; a deeper look into what is really going on. And then again, sometimes I don’t really care.

This time, though, it was likely a leftover depression from September; my mood was kind of a roller coaster that month. It actually started in late August – my mom’s birthday was August 25 and a week later, September 1, was my husband’s birthday. It has been two birthdays now since my mom passed in April of 2019 and eight since my husband passed in January of 2013. Then on September 15, it would have been our 25th wedding anniversary so it all combined to just leave me with a real sense of loss and sadness that I had trouble shaking off all month long.

And really, I think the continued lack of real, true human connection has started to take its toll.

So Friday was just not a good day.

But Saturday came along and there was reason to smile.

The first Saturday of October for years has been Escalon’s annual citywide yard sale. It was not an official event this year due to COVID-19. However, with face coverings and lots of hand sanitizer at the ready, many residents did pull out the items they didn’t need or want any more so it could become someone else’s treasure. I was headed out specifically to get some photos for the Friends of the Library book sale (and look for some of my favorite authors) and couldn’t believe how much good that did me. Not only did I get to see people that I haven’t in ages, it was also the first day the Historical Society Museum was back open, since San Joaquin County made the move into the ‘red’ tier. Driving along Main Street, seeing the ‘Museum Open’ sign on the sidewalk just made me smile.

And what that did was give me something I guess has been missing. Hope.

Actually I have been very lucky and blessed; lucky to have escaped any kind of COVID-related issues and blessed to still be able to work and associate with the friends who just happen to be my co-workers.

There have been the occasional small gatherings to cover, but what I realized is that as many people as I saw out and about on Saturday – the bulk of whom were wearing masks – was that I probably saw more people in that one day than I had in the whole six months prior.

Certainly, I have been busy with the production of the papers and staying up to date via phone calls, Zoom and various other online forums and the once in a while mask-to-mask meeting, but it truly lifted my spirits to be among real, live people.

The morning started out well, too, as I ran into Pete Simoncini, the ‘Voice of the Mustangs’ who has been missing not only his students at Oakdale High School but also getting behind the microphone for sporting events this fall. We commiserated about really feeling the loss of connection to the kids, who are such a big part of our lives. We also wished each other well with a virtual hug and agreed that, when we do get back to ‘normal’ it will be great to truly spend time with friends and neighbors and just be able to enjoy each other’s company.

If that is a lesson that needed to be learned, I think we’ve got it. I won’t take human companionship for granted again and I will appreciate even the littlest things.

So today I choose to have a good day. Hope you do, too.


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