"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
If I ever have a doubt about the current date, especially during my morning, wake-up stupor, I can tune in for Harley Drew's 6 a.m. announcement on WGAC's "Morning News"; check the lower, right-hand corner of my always-on computer; or glance at the upper right-hand corner of my always-delivered newspaper. I can also look on any wall in any room in my house.
There's also the appointment calendar under the phone, the pocket calendar in my purse, two other appointment calendars on my desk to record dates and titles of what I write for publication, the time I spend working on Columbia County history and the day my library books are due.
Yes, I need and use several calendars at a time, but enough is enough.
My first calendars for 2006 began arriving in May, and by the time summer was over I had received at least a dozen unsolicited, beautifully illustrated calendars for 2006 - and that's not counting five calendar cards for my wallet or the "four-years-at-a-glance" page in the telephone directory I've had since July. I'd have to be dead not to know what day it is.
Though not solicited by me, most of these gifts are intended to solicit something from me, and if I don't reply right away I receive a follow-up letter including a questionnaire wondering if I'm OK, still live at the address, or don't care about maimed, starving, dying or illiterate children anymore.
For example, in exchange for their stunning photography, my premature "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 contribution after receiving their also-unsolicited Christmas seals.
Don't get me wrong. I respect all charitable organizations, and support some, but the same heart-tugging rationale applies for the equally beautiful pleas from The Cystic Fibrosis Foundation, The Disabled American Veterans, The Veterans of Foreign Wars, The Paralyzed Veterans of America, The National Children's Cancer Society, Habitat for Humanity and The Alzheimer's Association.
Though I may end up throwing a bunch of my new calendars away, the one from The Paralyzed Veterans is a keeper. With its sleepy-puppy, watchful-kitty cover and exquisite photos of more irresistible pets inside, this will be a perfect gift for my young granddaughter who recognizes her numbers but could use a few lessons in "not today, honey. Wait until the three-little-kittens page gets to number 13."
I know exactly what to do with my "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 hew home in California. Of course, the "Reagan Ranch Center" really wanted a donation, but since the center is also in California, perhaps the reminder on my friend's new wall will spark more donations than it would in Columbia County where, a few years ago, much of the community objected to renaming the street running past the Evans Government Complex "Ronald Reagan Drive."
It's only the beginning of November, and I shudder to think there's still time for another 972 charities to send me their "breathtaking views" for 2006, 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 no space left at home for another calendar.
Maybe if I show this column to the young people at my church, they'll understand why I wasn't the first one in line when they announced:
"They're beautiful! They're handy! They make wonderful gifts and they're only $6.95 each."
Sure, they're beautiful. But, kids, I don't need another calendar.
(Barbara Seaborn is a local freelance writer. E-mail comments to seabara at aol.com.)
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