It’s that time of year when people prepare their new calendars. I have several:
1. A wall calendar that hangs next to my computer desk. In 2021, it was a “Dennis the Menace” calendar with three cartoons for each month – very enjoyable. For 2022 it will probably be one of the many that come as an incentive to donate to some charity.
2. A small souvenir calendar from my 20th high school reunion. It’s a clear plastic stand-up holder with four little pieces of paper, printed on both sides, displaying generic months, the first of the month starting on a different day of the week. All I have to do is find the paper with the first on the weekday of the current month and pop it into the holder. It’s served me well for 36 years.
3. A novelty calendar that reminds me of Mike from “Monsters, Inc.,” except that it’s basically a ball with a clear front for displaying the numbers for the day of the week. The ball sits on a pair of brown boots. When you click the little button on top of the ball, the numbers (from 1 to 31) change. There’s also a little dial that shows the number of the month.
4. Then there’s my Day-Timer, my pocket wallet with a new insert each month of the year. Changing that will not be anything remarkable since I do that every month.
5. Finally, there’s my “Daily Suggester,” the little (4 ½” x 3”) appointment book that I carry in my shirt pocket. Published by Cokesbury (the United Methodist Publishing House) it’s been an important part of my administrative duties ever since I entered the ministry in 1969, and has continued to keep my scheduling accurate since retirement. In fact, I knew all along that I was going to need it every year, so I signed up for a standing order to make sure it got here without my having to remember to ask for it.
So, you can see why I was starting to get concerned when December arrived and my Daily Suggester didn’t. I called Cokesbury on Monday to see if they had been sent out yet. The very nice lady who answered explained to me that I should have received a letter last year announcing that, after x-number of years, the Daily Suggester would no longer be published. COVID-19 entered into the decision as well as other factors, but apparently there weren’t enough of us old fogies still using them to make them profitable for Cokesbury. (After she mentioned the letter, I did remember having seen that, so, once again, let’s get red-faced.)
I was polite to the nice lady (and she really was nice), but after I hung up, I wrung my hands at the agonizing reality: NOMORE DAILY SUGGESTER!! What in heaven’s name would I do? The scripture references for the Common Lectionary were conveniently displayed on every Sunday. The liturgical colors for paraments were listed in the back. The contact information for every living bishop was listed in the front. Other contacts for the several branches of the Cokesbury enterprise were at my fingertips, being listed in the front. Phone numbers, bank account numbers, license plate numbers, and other vital info including my blood type were all there in that little book, a veritable library of important information. What was I to do now?
Well, as it happens, my Day-Timer came to the rescue. The 12 inserts for each year come in an attractive plastic box that also contains supplemental inserts, one of which is called the “Advance Planner.” It measures 6 ½” x 3 ½” and so will fit in my shirt pocket quite easily.
This is not to say that I’m not facing a major paradigm shift. After 52 years of carrying a Daily Suggester next to my heart and becoming so familiar with its layout that it was second nature to know where I was when I opened it, it’s going to take some getting used to using the Advance Planner.
Hmmm … perhaps I can start a campaign to bring back the Daily Suggester. But, nah, I’m afraid that technology and younger thinking are working against me.