By allowing ads to appear on this site, you support the local businesses who, in turn, support great journalism.
Marg-Ins - Back Down The Road
Placeholder Image
One of the interesting things I have discovered about being a parent is that opportunity to re-live certain moments, certain aspects of your own life when your children get to that same place.

My daughter is in the process of going through her 'behind-the-wheel' lessons for driving and very eager to obtain her driver's license. When I was learning to drive, we had the actual driver's education class - book learning and road driving - available through school and a couple of days a week you had your 'driving lab' where you and two to three other classmates hopped in the car and drove under the tutelage of the driving instructor. He also happened to be the wood shop/industrial arts teacher, so he taught kids to make bookshelves, weld metal and drive from Point A to Point B safely.

Things have gone fairly smoothly with my daughter so far, though she is tired of me constantly applying the non-existent brake on the passenger side when she's at the wheel. She is looking forward to that actual test for her license but nervous at the same time. I told her that not everyone passes it on the first time. I failed my first, as I rolled into a crosswalk before stopping at a stop sign. That was an automatic fail, even though the crosswalk was clear. Still, it was something I remembered and didn't do again.

Backing up has been a challenge with the connection between looking back and figuring out which way to turn the steering wheel has been slow in coming. My parent's driveway seemed like it was a quarter of a mile long and we almost always backed in, so I got a lot of practice with that particular task.

But she is being very conscientious and making sure to come to a complete stop at stop signs, obeying all traffic laws and approaching the task with intensity. Her goal right now is to 'have a life' and since obtaining her driver's license is apparently a key component for that, she is focused and driven.

But there is still schoolwork and Powder Puff practice and soccer and many other activities demanding attention. She and a soccer teammate were rated as fast runners and so the plan is for them to be utilized in the offensive scheme for her upcoming Powder Puff game in Oakdale, the first she will get to play. My high school did not have a football team so Friday night football, the Fall Homecoming and Powder Puff were not something I got to enjoy growing up. My introduction to them came through work originally, and they definitely are a big part of life in the Central Valley. We'll see if she and her fellow junior class members can prevail over the seniors.

She's also finding this year's English class somewhat challenging as there is a lot of reading and that's not something high on her 'to do' list. But we spend time in the evenings reading, she reads aloud to me so we can discuss the book and for her, it keeps her more involved in the book if she hears the words she is reading. We recently finished A Painted House by John Grisham and I, of course, want to see the TV movie they made out of it. The young protagonist grew up on a cotton picking farm and somehow my daughter got it in her head that it was also a common crop in my native New York.

"Did you pick cotton when you were a kid?" she asked me.

No. I did not pick cotton, I told her. Upstate New York was much more conducive to sweet peas and green beans in the garden that my family and I picked, ate, canned and froze, not to fields of cotton. She laughed when I explained that and suggested my next column could be about some of the silly things she has said over the years.

But that's what memories are made of, that time spent together and the conversations that grow out of that togetherness. When we had the occasion recently to travel for a soccer tournament and were settling in to our hotel, I was dismayed by the feather pillows. She was perplexed.

"What's wrong, don't you think they are soft?" she asked.

They may be, but for me they bring back memories of what my family called our 'Great Labor Day Massacre' one year in New York when the chickens we had been raising for eggs and then later food were ready for judgment day. Part of my job was plucking the feathers off the birds after the deed had been done and I just have never liked the feel of feathers from then on.

My daughter immediately thought it might be fun to have a chicken for a pet...but not for plucking.

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