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Marg-Ins Iowa And The Island
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November is such a busy month, leading right up to an equally hectic December, that it literally feels like a lifetime ago I wrote my last column.

Since then, the Winter Formal has been attended (by my daughter, not me), massive quantities of turkey have been consumed, family gatherings have been enjoyed, and there have been a couple of other notable trips.

One, if you can believe what I received via text, was to Iowa.

Got to love texting when you can’t see the letters in dim lighting or you have the auto correct on.

In making arrangements for a shopping trip to procure formal dresses for the Jackson girls, (my daughter Ally and her ‘cuzie Kate’ Katelyn Jackson) I got a text from Katelyn’s mom that we would get started early on that particular Saturday for our trip to Iowa. Wow, I thought, we are really going all out in the search for dresses to a winter formal. I didn’t sign up for Iowa but, what the heck, I thought, I’ve never been there so I was game.

She actually meant Ikea – in West Sacramento – but it came out Iowa. Good for a chuckle, since I knew we were going to Ikea first for some ‘home’ shopping and then on to a Sacramento mall for dresses. But as fate would have it, we kept getting turned around trying to get to West Sacramento and could see the HUGE blue and yellow Ikea building but couldn’t get there. By the time we got on the right patch of freeway and took the right exit, we probably could have been to Iowa.

There wasn’t too much on my list at Ikea, I just love wandering and finding stuff and even though we went our separate ways, Edy (Katelyn’s mom) and I wound up buying some of the same stuff. Just like we always seem to holler the same thing at the same time when we are standing next to each other on the soccer field. I can’t begin to tell you how many times the exact same words, in the exact same tone, have come out of our mouths as we watch our defender daughters and their teammates play.

Once we were finished with Iowa (er, Ikea) it was off to the mall and the search for dresses began. After many stores, multiple hours and countless color combinations, both Ally and Kate ended up going back to the first dress they each tried on. My daughter wasn’t sold on hers (the color wasn’t quite right) and she actually ended up finding one at about a third the price in a different color a couple of days later. Luckily, the mall in Modesto allowed me to return the dress purchased in Sacramento (same store, different mall) and with extra cash in hand, sparkling red high heels were also purchased.

Following those festivities, it was time for a holiday trip and, without having to cover football the Friday after Thanksgiving for the first time in as long as I can remember, it gave me a chance to slow down, relax, and enjoy spending some time with family. Good food, good company, it was just what the doctor ordered.

The month ended and December began with a whirlwind soccer weekend (which featured multiple birthdays for players and parents on our team, me included) and a trip to Cherry Island Soccer Complex. The best part about the weekend was that we had three Oakdale based teams there (some players from Riverbank and Escalon are also among the team members) and each team was able to cheer on the others during some of their contests. Over the years, my daughter’s team – starting from when she played Under 14s to now as an Under 19 player – has had numerous tournaments at the complex, some ending in championships and some ending with no trophy at all. This weekend was one of the latter but as she winds her way through her senior year and approaches her 18th birthday, I am trying to take it all in, spend as much time as possible together because we just won’t get this time back. And even though she has roughly 15 soccer sweatshirts hanging up in her room, we had to get one more from this weekend, extra decals and all.

Funny thing, I don’t usually drive to tournament weekends because I am really good at getting lost … but this weekend, we had a teammate with us so I braved the highways with two teen girls (both equipped with phones that have GPS) and we did fine.

Most of the way.

We got a little turned around coming home, when I didn’t take the 99 exit off 80 because it said it was for Redding, which I know is north and I wanted south. As we were going past the exit, I noticed it broke into two paths, one north and one south. Would have been nice to have been told that three miles back when the road sign touted the ‘Redding’ route.

So we just kept going on 80 and eventually got where we needed to go – and passed Iowa (er, Ikea) on the way there…


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.