"According to our chronology, the creation of the world fell upon the entrance of the night preceding the 23rd day of October, 4004 B.C."
- James Ussher
The Annals of History, 1658
Do you know what day it is?
If I have any doubt about the current date, especially during my morning, wake-up stupor, I can do several things:
Wait for Harley Drew's announcement on WGAC's "Morning News"; check the lower, right-hand corner of my always-on computer; or check the upper, right-hand corner of my always-delivered, daily newspaper; or look on the wall. Any wall. Any room in the house.
Then there's the appointment calendar under the phone, the pocket calendar in my purse, the ones I keep by my desk to record dates and titles of what I write, time spent working on Columbia County's history, and the day my library books are due.
I need and use several calendars at a time, but please: enough is enough.
I don't know about you, but my first calendars for 2003 began arriving before the kids were out of school in May. By the time their summer was over, a full four months before the year 2002 ends, I had received at least a dozen unsolicited, beautifully illustrated wall or pocket-sized calendars for 2003, and that's not counting the four or five calendar cards for my wallet or the "four-years-at-a-glance page" in each of my three new phone books delivered in July. If I don't know what day it is, I'm probably not alive.
Though not solicited by me, most of my dated material is intended to solicit something from me. In exchange for their stunning photography, my "Breathtaking Views, Clean Air Calendar," entices me to send a donation to the American Lung Association. Their mailing list obviously includes anyone who has ever sent them a guilt-induced contribution after receiving their also-unsolicited Christmas seals.
The same rationale applies for the equally beautiful, equally heart-wrenching pleas from The Cystic Fibrosis Foundation, the Disabled American Veterans, the Veterans of Foreign Wars, the Paralyzed Veterans of America, and the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Fund: A Tribute to the Heroes of 9/11.
Habitat for Humanity International's calendar is a keeper. With its "Duckie-with-an-umbrella-outside-his-new-home" cover, and child-like drawings of bunnies, bears, beavers, and bumblebees inside, this will be a perfect gift for my Pre-K granddaughter who can already recognize her numbers but could use a few lessons in not today, honey, and wait until the beaver page is on number 13.
I know exactly what to do with my 12-page "Lessons in Character From a Great American Leader" pictorial essay on the life of former president Ronald Reagan. My friend and former local Reagan campaign chairperson, Ginny Husen, will have at least one calendar on the wall of her new house in California. Of course, the Reagan Ranch Center really wanted a donation to furnish their new conference and storage center for the growing collection of Reagan documents and memorabilia, but since the center is also in California, perhaps my friend's new wall will spark more donations than my home in Columbia County where, a few years ago, a large percentage of the community objected to renaming the street running past the Evans Government Complex "Ronald Reagan Drive."
It's only the beginning of October, and I shudder. There's still time enough for the other 972 charities or businesses who have ever heard of me to send me their "breathtaking views for 2003," too. I also predict there will be another dozen gifts from folks who either don't know what else to get me for Christmas, or who, like me, have had their fill of clever charitable appeals. "I know you love nature scenes ... I thought this would look wonderful on your wall."
Maybe if I show this column to the young people in my church, they'll understand why I wasn't the first one in the fund-raising line when they announced:
"They're beautiful! They're handy! They make wonderful gifts and they're only $6.95 each."
The pictures are breathtakingly beautiful. But, kids, I don't need another calendar.
(Barbara Seaborn is a local free-lance writer. E-mail comments to firstname.lastname@example.org.)
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