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MARG-INS Ready For More
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They wanted me to take a day off before the end of the year, both for a little break and so as to not carry so many vacation hours into 2009. The way the schedule worked, after deadline days and the final issue for 2008 was complete, that meant taking off the last day of the year. Which actually was okay, since the first day of the New Year was a day off anyway, that made two days off.

In a row.

Those of you that know me know two days off in a row is practically a vacation.

Planning to spend the days with my sister and her family for our Christmas and New Year's celebrations with them, she and I talked about it previously and agreed that the trip shouldn't be a problem, since we hadn't had any real fog in weeks.

Of course we spoke too soon, as my tentative plans to leave Tuesday night (Dec. 30) after work and soccer practice were dashed when I could barely find my way to Oakdale's T.L. Davis sports complex to get my daughter from the practice field about 6:30 p.m.

Though they have generators to run the lights, it was an eerie sight; just shadowy figures out there kicking a ball around, I don't know how they told who was on which team and who they should pass the ball to.

Regardless, Tuesday night was much too foggy for a drive on I-5 and Highway 12 to get to my sister so we opted for an early Wednesday start. My 'early' is different than the early start we actually got; Wednesday morning was foggy as well and they predicted the fog lifting around noon at my sister's house. So we started out around 10 and finally hit about a five-mile stretch of clear weather some 15 minutes away from her house shortly before noon.

This year for New Year's Eve, my sister and brother-in-law were hosting a small get together, with some friends, my niece and her husband (they got married in June) and her husband's father all coming to join the festivities. We had a relaxing evening of games - which actually got quite competitive, especially when it was the guys vs. the girls - reminiscing, plenty of grazing at the buffet snack table and then turning our attention to the TV just before midnight to watch the ball drop in Sacramento. Everything went fine until there were about three seconds left in the year, when the live feed hit a snag and the screen went blank. We were all counting so we kept on and probably hit it just about right. When the live feed was reestablished, the ball had already dropped, people were cheering and we added our own noisemaker racket to the mix.

After a bit of hoopla and the obligatory toast, it was back to the games and food. The adults gravitated more toward the old-fashioned board games, the preteens, teens and young 20-somethings primarily focused on the Wii, the computer and Rock Band, so we all found something to enjoy.

No one was really in a hurry to leave and it was going for 2 a.m. when things started to break up. It was closer to 3:30 a.m. when everyone had said their goodbyes, things were cleaned up and the house was quiet.

I think the last time I saw 3:30 a.m. and was coherent, I was walking around a track at the Relay for Life. That's just not a time that I'm often up and about. So it was nice to know that there wouldn't be any alarm clock ringing to get me up in just a few hours by the time I finally got to bed. New Year's Day was a lazy, watch a little football, open some family Christmas gifts, sit around and don't do much of anything type of day.

Overall, it was a nice break from the norm and a pleasing way to end one year and start another.

It has also been enjoyable going through the 'Year In Review' columns for the papers; so much happens during the course of a year, even in our small communities, it's interesting to go back and see what newsworthy events made headlines.

I also personally thank you, our readers, for continuing to support our newspapers. My sister asked if we had been adversely affected in this down economy. I told her that even though there is less disposable income to go around, weekly community papers fill such a unique niche that we have been holding our own. You can't clip the Students of the Month or the church supper out of the national newspaper. I know there are refrigerators and scrapbooks out there right now featuring photos or stories from our papers and that is something we deeply appreciate. Not all the news has been good and not everyone has been happy with every story we've done - that would be impossible - but, week in and week out, our communities support what we do.

I look forward to another year of filling the pages.

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.