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Settle In For 2015


With all of the craziness surrounding the Christmas and New Year’s holidays, I briefly considered giving myself the week off.

From writing my usual once a month column, I mean, not the newspaper as a whole.

The last few weeks have been very difficult, with the unexpected loss of family members of a couple of close friends, and to be truthful, I wasn’t sure what to write about or where to start.

But even among the losses, there was joy in sharing Christmas (about five different gatherings over the course of Christmas ‘week’) and spending some time with my sister’s family over New Year’s to have our annual Christmas celebration with them.

It was a true microcosm of life, with joy and sadness mixed together, rejoicing in the giving and receiving of gifts and yet having a heavy heart for the friends who were dealing with the loss of loved ones so near the holidays.

It’s also a strange time of year for us here at the paper, with the holidays coming on Thursdays, we had our ‘normal’ deadlines for publishing the paper but with the days off in the middle of the week, it was hard to know half the time if we were coming or going. Throw in the fact that schools were also out and most of us here couldn’t even keep track of what day of the week it was.

So the end of 2014 and the first few days of 2015 brought with it some incredible sadness and the best I can hope for is that we can move forward toward a better year in the days to come.

I also found it ironic, but not totally unexpected, that my daughter went out for New Year’s Eve while I stayed home with Chinese take-out and a pair of Red Box movies. It also reminded me of another New Year, many years ago, when she was just 3 years old and the world was on edge about Y2K. We had recently moved in to a new home, just before Christmas that year, and still had boxes to unpack so our living room had a couple of couches, a big hutch, a Christmas tree and a TV, with movies we rented from the video store waiting to be watched. There was so much concern about what would happen when 1999 turned in to The Year 2000 that it was another ‘stay-at-home’ New Year’s Eve in case the sky fell at midnight. We watched the ball drop in Times Square (conveniently at 9 p.m. West Coast time) so my daughter could stay up for the ‘new year’ and count down from 10 to join in the celebration. She fell asleep shortly thereafter and when the real midnight came, there was no worldwide blackout, no loss of cell phone service, no interruption to television signals … it just became 2000 and everything progressed as normal. I remember a friend of mine was certain the apocalypse was imminent and probably had everything but a bunker in the backyard ready just in case.

Thankfully, all systems remained ‘go’ and it is amazing that now we have hit 2015.

And look how far we have come, technologically speaking, from those worries of Dec. 31, 1999. Now we have grade schoolers using tablets, my niece’s two young children (ages 3 and 4) handle an iPad better than I do and smart phones can do everything from paying for your coffee at Starbucks to talking you through a confusing maze of freeways when you are trying to get from Point A to Point B.

I guess the message here is you never know what the future will bring and life can change at a moment’s notice. So embrace those you love, do your best to make someone’s day brighter today and don’t waste time worrying about stuff that really doesn’t matter…or that you can’t control.

Life is a gift. No returns, no exchanges. Unwrap it and live.


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.