Published 1:35 pm Sunday, February 11, 2024

Just last week I was in a bookstore in Tennessee that had a large table display of 50% off calendars. The selection seemed endless. I began flipping through the different varieties, wondering if the store had mistakenly overstocked or customers were unknowingly sending calendars to the extinct file due to the iPhone’s portable calendar. Lack of creativity wasn’t the reason for the stacks of calendars. It had to be their becoming nonessential.

As I scanned the eye-catching covers, I thought about how the calendars not only counted off the days, months and years. They registered memories of childhoods.

January might have meant New Year celebrations for some, but for me it meant going back to school after a two week Christmas vacation. My only respite from the cold, dreary schooldays of January was the possibility of a snow or sleet break. Mississippi winters were never generous with snow days.

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February continued with wintry days, but Valentine’s Day at school warmed the month for me. School would drag at a snail’s pace until the last period when we could exchange valentines. It wasn’t until I was older that I realized the most fun was in giving the valentines to my classmates.

March meant winds — cold, hanging-on-to-winter winds. Spring pastels were in shop windows, but layers and fleece continued to be the necessary apparel. April arrived with the first real promise of spring along with the most Easter celebrations. There would be new church dresses with hats and white gloves. My grandfather’s iris garden would make colorful arrangements for church and our annual church homecoming.

May meant not only May flowers but time to do some serious gardening. Daddy usually had seedlings popping up along the deep brown rows of freshly tilled soil, but there would be more to plant. Graduations and Mother’s Day would add to May’s memory chests.

June meant barefoot days and the first full days of summer. Vacation Bible School would be a priority on our calendar along with summer nights of frog serenades under a canopy of lightning bug parades.

July meant 4th celebrations along with fireworks and possible vacations to the mountains or beaches. It also meant corn harvesting for the freezer — the one task everyone wanted to escape but everyone had to work — no exceptions. The only reward was getting to dine on the liquid gold.

August was plagued with heat — the kind that kept the a/c humming and the garden waving a white flag. It also meant summer vacation was ending. August was branded with an overdose of misery. September meant new school clothes, the last of butterbean and pea shelling and the first welcomed frost.

October had some hayrides, bonfires and lots of pumpkins. The crisp, cooler air lifted our spirits along with SEC football to watch. November was Thanksgiving month — an easy one to celebrate for our family. Cousins would join us to feast on bounty and blessings.

December would spill over in activities and joy beyond measure. School would dismiss for those diamond days of celebration, gift-giving and receiving. The fireplace would crackle and blaze, making family times a treasure of warmth and togetherness.

As we left the bookstore, I wondered what would become of all those calendars. I thought it sad that they wouldn’t have birthday dates, anniversaries and vacations penciled in their days. Sometimes our time-saving gadgets rob us of time to reflect on our blessings and the goodness of our Father.

Even though paper calendars may have seen their best days, God’s Word affirms the days of our years — “As long as the earth endures, seedtime and harvest, cold and heat, summer and winter, day and night will never cease” (Genesis 8:22).

Letters to Camille Anding may be sent to P.O. Box 551, Brookhaven, MS 39602.