The case of the missing calendar

By Norman Knight

Becky lost her calendar.

She searched the couple of places in the house where it might normally be, but to no avail. I was called in on the case. We sorted through the piles of papers and magazines that nestle in their semi-permanent spots.

We opened drawers. She checked the bag she carries in her role as church treasurer. Nothing. We re-checked the places we had searched just minutes before, re-flipped through the magazines, re-opened the drawers. The calendar still wasn’t there.

We applied our detective skills: When was the last time you saw it? Where did you last use it? She had looked for it during our weekend trip to Michigan. She hadn’t found it, so either she lost it while we were there or it never made the trip. Maybe it is in the car.

I got a flashlight and scrunched down on the back seat floorboards to look underneath the driver’s seat and did the same thing on the passenger side. I forced my hand into those impossible spaces between the seats and console. Nada.

We rely on our calendars to tell us when and where we need to be and what we need to do. We pencil in notes and comments and archive our lives on those monthly pages. Losing a calendar is like losing your wallet. It’s like losing a personal assistant and a good friend. Losing it means starting over.

We like the pocket-sized paper calendars. The ones that begin appearing in the mail around the end of the year tucked into the envelopes as thank-you gifts from charities and organizations that ask for money.

Every year a university where records show I spent some time in my youth asks for a donation. I appreciate the calendar they send and use it. I realize charity thank-you gifts are unsolicited, and I am not obligated to pay for them, but I am thankful for the calendar and feel maybe a little guilty using it for free, so I send a small pledge.

If I had to buy a calendar retail, I would pay, so I justify it that way. Funny, though, I don’t feel the same way about the charity address labels and note pads.

I keep my old calendars in a box along with my old writing journals. That way, if I need to know what year it was when I stood outside of the art museum in Washington D.C. for hours on that freezing cold winter morning to see the Vermeer exhibit I can simply check my old calendars. (It was January 1996.)

Our more techie friends have suggested we use the calendars on our smart phones. Honestly, I have tried that, and found it doesn’t work for me. I don’t check it often enough whereas I keep my paper calendar tucked in with my journal and look at it throughout the day. Besides, making notes on paper is so much easier for me than typing on a screen. I guess I am just incurably 20th century. I think Becky is, as well.

We were hoping that the missing calendar would turn up when she went to the church office, but her tone of voice on the phone let me know even before she said anything that it wasn’t there. We figured it was now a matter of replacing it. We had much the same information on both calendars, so it shouldn’t be too difficult.

The next morning Becky woke up early and said she had dreamt about the recycle bin where we put old papers.

Is it possible? I went downstairs and started going through the bin layer by layer. It was an archeological dig with each stratum of newspapers revealing a earlier date.

There, almost at the bottom, I saw her missing calendar resting between Wednesday and Thursday of the week before we left. No newly discovered ancient desert ruins could have been more exciting. This was definitely a special day we would need to notate in our calendars.

Norman Knight, a retired Clark-Pleasant Middle School teacher, writes this weekly column for the Daily Journal. Send comments to letters@dailyjournal.net.