As we hurtle headlong into the final couple weeks of the year, gratitude is the first word that comes to mind for me. December starts with my birthday and ends with welcoming in a brand new year of possibilities.
This year’s birthday celebration seemed to cover about a week, simply because gifts kept coming; items ordered arrived later than the gift givers intended but it was always a joy to be presented with a gift box or bag every day for a week.
My actual birthday saw me helping my daughter and son-in-law decorate a Christmas tree in their own home, having purchased their first house earlier this year. The baby’s room has also come together and they have already done a lot of work to make the home their own; it looks virtually nothing like it did inside or out when they purchased it. They even have a backyard fire pit for making s’mores, perfect this time of year.
My family of co-workers, meanwhile, conspired to pull off a great surprise for the Wednesday, Dec. 1 issue of the papers as well.
On that Monday, before the issue was done, sales rep Corey Rogers came to my office and was very apologetic, explaining that a regular customer’s ad had been missing the previous week, he was very upset and was there any way to please, please fit it in. Just a small, 2-by-4 color ad, for all three papers.
Having already had to fit in a last minute 2-by-5 color ad for an ad representative from one of our sister papers earlier that morning, I was more obliging than I might have been normally.
I assured Corey that we would find a space; the easiest place was on what we call the ‘Jump’ page, basically the back page where the various front page stories ‘jump’ to each week. She said that was fine, as long as it was in.
So I alerted the layout people and we made it happen. I check each page before it goes to press; the ad was in Escalon and Oakdale; we had to cut a couple of paragraphs out of a story in Riverbank to make it fit, but we did.
Wednesday, when I was up front, co-worker Michelle answered the phone and said it was for me; the woman on the other end of the line wished me a ‘Happy Birthday’ and said she saw the ad in the paper. I thanked her and hung up, a bit confused, as my co-workers burst into laughter and applause and showed me the ad. It was on the jump page, having been replaced for the “late ad” that had just been a ruse, and a great acting job by Corey, who convinced me her customer really needed the ad to run. The layout folks in our Manteca office switched it out for my birthday ad after I had approved the pages. My daughter had sent in the photo, our web designer Rich did the ad and they were all in on the surprise. Not much gets past me, but this did. It was sure fun to share their joy in pulling it off and I was glad it was on the jump page, rather than inadvertently putting my own ad on page 2 or 3.
Lots of folks continued the good wishes, around town, on Facebook, through birthday cards and phone calls.
Plus the holiday celebrations so far – Riverbank’s Christmas crafts faire and parade the weekend after Thanksgiving, along with Oakdale’s and Escalon’s downtown events on Saturday, Dec. 4 – have all been well-attended and filled with good cheer.
Invitations to and attendance at both the recent Escalon American Legion and the Farmington Fire Department holiday dinners just kept the gratitude going, sharing the season with folks that truly make my ‘job’ an enjoyable one.
Next up, our office party and then it’s on to the various family-centered Christmas events, the New Year and – coming in January 2022 (unless she arrives early!) – my first grandchild. How can I not be grateful?
Marg Jackson is editor of The Escalon Times, The Oakdale Leader and The Riverbank News. She may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or by calling 847-3021.