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Put Focus On Family, Friends
Marg-Ins 12-16-20

So a friend of mine and I were talking the other day and she suggested we just call it right now; we will do our traditional holiday gift exchange later, dubbing it ‘Christmas in July’. We hope by then we can enjoy a face to face meeting to share the opening of presents.

I know a lot of holiday traditions are falling by the wayside this year so maybe we just have to figure out a way to create new ones. I suspect there will be lots of FaceTime-ing going on or maybe even families connecting via Zoom or Skype across the miles as opposed to being there in person. It will be a much different Christmas and New Year’s season than I think most of us were anticipating but, to be trite, “It is what it is” and what really matters is what we make of it.

It’s almost the end of the year and that means we will be sharing our annual “Year in Review” with readers, typically covering the first six months of the year in the last issue of this year, the second six months in the first issue of next year. The first couple months of 2020 were business as usual; the last 10, not so much. But it likely will prove interesting to review the year, month by month. A lot of it has been a blur, from things shutting down so abruptly in mid-March to trying for limited openings here and there to having things shut down again. So many stories and events we usually cover just didn’t happen. We often feature some of the top sports stories for the year too but in 2020, those pickings sure are slim! No rodeo, not much in the way of high school sports, just a bizarre, surreal year all the way around.

I finally got used to not having to suit up and show up for football every Friday night this fall but that was weird. I have covered high school football for more than 25 years; my Friday nights from late August to at least late November (and several times in to December) were spoken for … that’s not an easy thing to just stop doing. There was always such a thrill of being back on the field for me, going from those sweltering late August non-league contests to needing double socks and hand warmers in December, I loved being along for the ride.

And it’s not just football; keeping up with our student-athletes in all sports, chronicling student success on the academic front, promoting the high school plays and highlighting the clubs on campus is something that can’t be replaced. Honestly, it helps keep me energized and enthusiastic.

But back to the holidays – and a quick personal update, as I celebrated a birthday earlier this month. It was a Tuesday, which just happens to be a hugely busy deadline day around here but I was pleasantly surprised with a phone call from Casey den Ouden of Escalon, who said his brother Dave reminded him it was my birthday and he should call. I didn’t even know Dave knew when my birthday was, let alone he would convince his brother to call me. I didn’t get to see them on Thanksgiving, when we usually have time to visit at the Escalon Community Thanksgiving Dinner so it was good to at least touch base via phone. And then, a few days later I got an envelope in the mail from DeeAnna Jackson, who coordinates the deliveries for the meal. She sent on a card that Paulette Roberson of Escalon had for me; I have delivered to Paulette’s home in the past for Thanksgiving and she had a birthday card again for me this year, which she passed on to the delivery person, who then made sure it got to DeeAnna, who sent it on to me. How awesome is that?

A couple of small – yet ultimately big – gestures by friends; they warmed my heart and buoyed my spirit.

And yes, while it’s true the holidays will be different, here’s hoping you and your family make some new memories to hold dear.


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.