Yes it is the week before Christmas and, no, my shopping is not done.
Everyone has been telling me just to go online because it is so much easier and I am sure that would have reduced my stress level if I had cyber shopped and had everything delivered. But there’s something strangely alluring when I head out to stores and search the shelves for gifts. Call me old fashioned but I still prefer to visit storefronts and brave the occasional trip to the mall or some specialty stores to prepare for my holiday gift giving.
Some has been accomplished but, honestly, December has been such a whirlwind of activity there hasn’t been much time to spare.
I thought that Friday, Dec. 13 might have afforded me a little evening time for shopping but a phone call that day from Casey den Ouden from the Escalon American Legion reminded me that I was invited to attend their holiday dinner that night as a guest. So shopping was postponed in favor of a good meal, good conversation and sharing the gift of freedom with those who fought for it for me. No way was I turning down that opportunity.
Of course, Friday the 13th also marked three months since we lost Dennis D. Cruz, our Oakdale sports guy, to his shattered leg, suffered on Friday, Sept. 13 – we have a little bit of triskaidekaphobia going on around here now – but luckily, I didn’t have to cover football Friday night so I felt pretty safe.
Instead, the game was on Saturday, Dec. 14 when Escalon was the host site for the State Championship game for Division 4-A. What a fun night that was; who needs holiday shopping when you are covering the game that brings a state title to the community?
The whole weekend of Dec. 13 through 15 in the Escalon area really epitomized what small town America is – from the Legion dinner on Friday to football on Saturday to the old-fashioned Christmas on Main event on Sunday. A longtime holiday favorite in Escalon, the Christmas on Main was postponed by a day, originally scheduled for Saturday, but organizers knew nobody would show on Dec. 14 because virtually everyone was at the football game. Hosting it a day later worked out pretty well; the crowd was big, there was ‘snow’ falling and the football team, less than 24 hours after bringing home the State Championship trophy, was riding on a float in the parade along Main Street, cheered on by the whole community.
Throw in a special holiday dinner hosted by the Farmington Fire Department to thank those that have supported them throughout the year and factor in the Christmas in Grandpa’s Barn unique boutique and you have a holiday weekend that rivals the best of a Hallmark Christmas movie.
Our area is big on holiday events, with parades and gatherings the norm in Oakdale, Escalon, Riverbank, Knights Ferry and Valley Home; all offering up some sort of special program. There’s also no shortage of efforts on the local level to help make the holidays brighter for those in need, whether it is through food vouchers, toy distributions, clothing, coat and hat giveaways, you name it, we seem to do it.
Many stores also now have late hours for those of us who haven’t taken time yet to finish the shopping; good thing I am a bit of a night owl ‘cause I have the feeling there is some shelf searching at midnight in my future.
As we zero in on the last of 2019, I hope you manage to get everything done on your ‘to do’ list and I also hope that you take the time to share the wonder of the season with those you love.
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.