We are fast approaching the one-year anniversary of when you left us so I thought I would write a letter just to bring you up to date.
Like most life-changing events, your passing is one of those things etched into my memory; I know exactly where I was when I got the news. It was a Friday night; heading back from an event, it was about 8:45 p.m. California time and my cell phone rang. I pulled over and stopped the car because I saw it was dad calling. Since it was 11:45 p.m. New York time, my heart sunk. He delivered the news I think we all had been expecting for a while but just didn’t want to hear. April 12, 2019 and in some ways, it feels like just yesterday.
On the other hand, life looks vastly different than it did then.
First and foremost, your granddaughter’s wedding was beautiful. I know you so much wanted to be there, we talked about it every weekend when I would call to check in. Ally and Judd got married at their outdoor venue on Saturday, Oct. 26, 2019 and it turned out to be the day before a huge windstorm so we lucked out there. As for Mr. and Mrs. Wendland, their day went off with no major problems and honestly, I believe you were there. The ‘memory table’ had your photo, along with one of Ally’s dad and one of Judd’s mom – those of you who couldn’t be there with us physically in person to celebrate. You were all there; I know you were watching and sharing the happiness of the day with us.
Now we are dealing with the coronavirus pandemic and there’s no way to tell how long our lives will be turned upside down. It is something we can only get through by supporting each other – from at least six feet away – and working cooperatively to contain the spread. New phrases like ‘flatten the curve’ and ‘social distancing’ will be added to the dictionary after this.
From the perspective of staying in touch, we are lucky to have the ability to Facetime people we can’t go visit, go to virtual meetings to stay updated on city and other issues, and hopefully, we are all learning the do’s and don’ts of this new experience.
Ironically, though, we are now considered “essential.” I say ironically because the press isn’t always everybody’s favorite. But now we need to get as much good information out there as often as possible. We are lucky, though, our communities have always been supportive of our newspapers and I have rarely felt we are considered the ‘bad’ press. We focus on our communities and don’t go in for sensationalism. We also seem to be busier than ever and that’s without going out to multiple school and sporting events because there are hardly any to cover.
We still get the phone calls and emails from people who choose not to leave their name spilling all the details: “did you know about” and “so and so did this” – we have to be careful to sort those things out because literally, anyone could call and complain about anyone they think is doing something they shouldn’t in these “shelter in place” times. Plus those complaints are really best left to the authorities; they can check and see if there is a real violation of any kind occurring.
The list of ‘what’s not happening’ continues to grow. We already lost the annual Civil War Days in Knights Ferry. The Oakdale Rodeo is on hold; they hope to have it later in the year. The Oakdale Chocolate Festival won’t happen in May but they are planning for mid-September. Our Relay For Life isn’t happening in May but we are working on rescheduling that also. Oh, and toilet paper is now like gold.
So, yeah, mom, things are a little crazy around here. But we’re getting through it, one day at a time. I’ll stay in touch.
Love and miss you,
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.