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A Summer Slowdown
Marg-Ins 6-16-21

It’s the proverbial blank sheet of paper.

Even though it’s on a computer screen, it still is a vast blank slate until my fingers fly over the keyboard to put some words on it.

And some weeks, those words come faster than others.

Right now, I am just trying to catch my breath and get my bearings; plus a couple of other clichés, now that all the graduations are complete and school is out for the summer. I worked my volunteer shift at Escalon High School’s Sober Grad Night; usually I get the early shift but they needed help this year on the second shift, 11:15 p.m. to about 2 a.m.

It’s always fun to help out; I typically get some photos and then head to my volunteer station. This year that meant working the tennis courts, where they had the different inflatables set up, had a very popular corn hole tournament happening and a movie night. Later, all the students were funneled in to the movie area for the final event, the popular hypnotist show.

I stayed to watch quite a bit of that but started feeling pretty tired and honestly was afraid I might actually fall under the hypnotist’s spell myself if I stayed. So I headed out around 2:30 a.m.; another school year officially in the books.

Now, my mind is flying in multiple directions.

What am I thinking about?

Pretty much everything under the sun, just random thoughts that are taking up space in my brain.

Such as, enjoying listening to baseball games on my computer, and realizing that, in every game – no matter the state or the stadium – I keep hearing the same woman with a sort of scream-cheer every few innings. It reminds me of the laugh tracks that TV shows used to use before they were ‘filmed before a live studio audience.’ Maybe it is my imagination but, I don’t think so. That scream-cheer lady can’t be in Atlanta at 2 p.m. and in San Diego at 5 p.m.

I don’t know if she can be heard on TV; the bulk of my baseball ‘watching’ is done via Internet services so I just listen while I work. But next time you tune in, give a listen and see if you hear that scream-cheer a couple of times during the game.

And the fast approaching summer takes me back to childhood and some awesome summertime memories. In fact, there’s one in particular I am thinking about this time of year.

My dad, who has long been involved in restoring antique gas engines, would load some up and the whole family would go to the ‘Gas Up’ in nearby Gallupville, NY that traditionally ran the weekend before and the weekend of Father’s Day. The familiar ‘pop’ and ‘chug’ of the gas engines would fill the air, some of the engines used for running ice cream churns, some used to run saws for cutting wood; others just popping and chugging away to turn the big flywheels.

Officially, the show is put on by the Hudson Mohawk Chapter of the Pioneer Gas Engine Association. This year, my dad was planning to take a few of his smaller engines over; in past years, he has taken his restored Linn tractors and driven them in the parade.

One winter, my mom decided she would get involved in this antique engine restoration process that my dad so enjoyed and she worked on one that she later displayed at the show. She took her own engine to the Gas Up for many years after that.

It’s a show that, in my adulthood, I was able to visit with my own husband and kids when we vacationed in New York and it still was as much fun as I remember it being. There was always music, food, activities and plenty to see and do, making it a great summer outing. Not to mention the creek was just a short walk away so if it got too hot, you could always go wade in the chilly water or splash around a bit and then head back to the show. No long lines at the food booths or topsy-turvy upside down rides; just a step back in time to simpler days and a focus on the family.


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.