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Fall Memories And Relay Ready
Marg-Ins 10-6-21

October typically brings to mind the real start of fall, as we get rid of triple digits and welcome the cool mornings and evenings along with – hopefully – seeing a little bit of rain.

It was a few weeks back when we got those first sprinkles; there was literally a couple of lightning flashes to brighten up the night sky, one or two good rumbles of thunder and just enough raindrops to get us out on the back patio whooping and hollering.

I was remembering back to my nephew’s first birthday, years ago in upstate New York, his birthday party on October 4 had to be postponed because of an ice storm. And it was a major one, with travel nearly impossible, the ice build-up causing some tree limbs to break and causing havoc with the power lines. My sister-in-law’s family had about a 90-minute or so drive to attend and it just wasn’t safe. So his early October birthday party fell victim to winter weather.

But that’s upstate New York, where you can get snow and ice as early as October and as late as May, it just depends on the year. We had so much snow one Thanksgiving, my brother and I hadn’t even put our bicycles away for the winter yet. I think that was the year he had the idea to dismantle an old bike, take the tires off and put the front part of a ski where the tires were supposed to be. He used that to ride down the snow drifts. A unique contraption and it took some practice to get your balance on a bicycle with skis.

This October is a little different; as we look for the autumn weather we are also gearing up for the Relay For Life – we will be in person at John Thurman Field in Modesto on Saturday and Sunday, Oct. 9 and 10. We kick it off with the Opening Ceremony on Oct. 9 at 9 a.m. and settle in for 24 hours of fun, fundraising, activities, music, food and more.

We have always done our American Cancer Society Oakdale area Relay For Life in the spring, usually late April or early May. It has been somewhat unpredictable over the years too, sometimes with rainy weather, sometimes with 90-plus degrees. This year, I feel the need to pack an extra blanket and a sweatshirt or two, because I am thinking they might be necessary when I am out on the track at 3 a.m.

Another change for this year is that we are a much larger combined event; Escalon and Riverbank a few years ago joined in with Oakdale for a consolidated regional Relay. For 2021, Modesto, Oakdale and Turlock – along with the smaller surrounding communities – have been brought together for the Relay For Life of Greater Stanislaus County. With the impact of COVID-19 last year, we were unable to have an in person Relay For Life. We did some fundraising, some online events, a virtual Relay day through Facebook Live and locally, wrapped it up with a drive-thru luminaria.

It at least gave us an opportunity to stay involved but not being able to have an in person event was definitely tough, especially when you have been taking part for nearly 20 years.

So myself, along with fellow committee members, the ELT – Event Leadership Team – are excited to be back; 24 hours, a huge venue, great communities working together to put on an awesome event. Face to face and 24 hours, the way it should be.

I get to emcee with Pete Simoncini once again and our Opening Ceremony keynote speaker is longtime friend, co-worker and now one of our ‘Purple Shirt’ survivors, Teresa Hammond.

We welcome everyone; you don’t need to be on a team to come in and spend some time (and maybe some money to support the ACS mission) during the day to check out the booths, the food, the entertainment, the theme laps and more. Hope to see you there.


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.