Random Thoughts

That brand new calendar

... nothing is as neat and orderly as a new calendar

by Ann Robbins Talbot

Every November, as soon as January appointments began to pile up, I used to search for the perfect calendar. I thought my criteria were easy. Each day had to have its own block. Each week had to begin on Sunday. An entire month must show at once. When the calendar was hung on the wall, no picture could show. There must be a spiral binding.  

As life went on, one calendar was not enough. The kitchen calendar belonged to the whole family and the information was in stone. If it was “on the calendar”, it was as good as done. The computer room calendar received all information from the upstairs phone and computer, to be transferred at some point to the kitchen. And the pocketbook calendar held everything that needed to be portable. The criteria for each remained the same.

One would think that shopping for this trio would be relatively easy since pictures are not considered. Actually they are. I buy a Massachusetts photographic calendar for the kitchen. I like the heft of the thick pages. I do fold back the fantastic scenery, but I enjoy it at the beginning of each month when the page is changed. Perhaps I may use these scenes to show my Florida-bred grandchildren what Massachusetts is like at its best. On the other two, pictures don’t count.

When the December moment comes to actually write on the calendars, they get spread out on the dining room table with their counterparts from the preceding year. With a sharpie, all the birthdays are printed month by month beginning in February. Then the family anniversaries go on followed by underlining important holidays. If I print on the wrong month, the first disaster has occurred even before the page is used. Mistakes are always corrected with white-out. One year I turned to November to discover it was missing -- and I had purchased the calendar in a shop in Maine. That day I added to my criteria: it must be purchased at a local store.

The three calendars are stored in a handy spot to receive all the new year’s information. Some people I know use color codes for family members or activities that occur at regular intervals. I just plod along with black gel pen and white-out. I admit to writing diagonally when the event spans more than one day. When New Years Day arrives, the old calendars are replaced by the new. The old kitchen calendar is kept for reference and for the photos. The others enter the recycle basket without their spirals.

As dentist appointments, haircuts and celebrations are added, I realize how ingenious the concept of time is. Aboriginal people in their never-changing climate didn’t really need a time keeper other than light and dark. But our modern culture demands that we keep track of where and when we are going. So my trio of calendars continues to this day. Viva la calendar – and Happy New Year, Everyone.


January 7, 2011


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