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The Vacation That Wasn’t
Marg-Ins 6-17-20

Can we just cancel the rest of 2020? Seriously, I think if we put it to a vote, perhaps that’s something we could all agree on.

As we try to get out of the COVID-19 quarantine several states are seeing a spike in cases, courtesy of people not paying attention to social distancing protocols over the Memorial Day holiday weekend and then mass numbers of people gathering – some with masks, some without – in countless protests across the country. Stanislaus and San Joaquin counties are slowly opening back up; let’s hope we can continue the trend.

We all just want to be done with this pandemic. There are friends I haven’t seen in months, people I used to see every week. Talking or texting isn’t the same when you are used to that face to face meeting. I have been to Zoom meetings, which once you get past the fact that you are part of the Brady Bunch or the Hollywood Squares, are kind of fun and I have also done Facebook Live. For me, the Facebook one is tougher because the host/hostess does the talking and you have to type your questions or comments as opposed to talking directly to them. It all works, it just isn’t the same.

I also “out of an abundance of caution” –our COVID-19 mantra – cancelled my mid-June vacation trip to the east coast to see family. As I write this column, I should be in upstate NY hanging out with my brother and sister-in-law, baking oatmeal cookies for my dad, reconnecting with my niece and her young son to marvel over how much he has grown in the last year.

My sister Sue, who lives just outside Fairfield in Cordelia, had scheduled a trip with her husband and she was staying on a week longer than he was. Back in early March, we talked and I was able to get a good deal on a round trip ticket that would give me a week’s vacation and put me on the same return flight so she and I could fly back home together. It was a spontaneous decision on my part. She was going to be there an extra week and I thought “why not go?” – as that would give all three of us ‘kids’ a chance to be together (my brother still lives in NY, close to our dad) and enjoy some quality family time.

I still have the text I sent her on March 6 saying I was “All booked!” and excited for a break. Little did we know about a week later, life as we know it would change drastically and the state would literally shut down.

At first, it still seemed like mid-June would be fine for travel; that everything would be back to normal by then. I mean, how could it not be?

As the weeks of coronavirus quarantine stretched on, my sister and I were in frequent contact. She and my brother-in-law were determined to go, if the planes were flying and they were both healthy. They did get to go but I finally had to pull the plug on my trip, cancelling my reservation just a few days before I was scheduled to leave. There were many reasons behind it, not the least of which was I didn’t want to take anything to New York with me – although to my knowledge I have not had nor do I have the virus – but I just didn’t want to risk it. Plus if something happened while I was there and New York went into lockdown again, who knows how long that would last. Doing three newspapers THAT remotely would be exceedingly difficult.

My sister reported that planes were perhaps a quarter full; people pretty much had a row to themselves if they wanted it and she said the airports were eerily empty. On the bright side, getting through security was a breeze since there were only 20 other people flying…

And while my mid-June trip didn’t happen, the airline put my money on account and I have until March 6, 2021 to use it. We better be back to “normal” by then or I just might throw my “abundance of caution” out the window.


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.