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Column: Need help keeping track of 2014?

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One thing that went out with the old year was the 2013 calendar. That is, if you had a calendar. So many of us these days have calendars on our cell-phones. Beyond that, our clock radios, TV screens and computers all tell us the date. At our house, even the thermostat and water softener know what day it is.

Most of us still have a few paper calendars, though. The days seem more official when we see them printed out.

Over the centuries, mankind has used various methods to track the endless sunrises and sunsets. We have a yearning to know where we stand in the great flow of time. It also helps when two or more of us want to be in the same place at the same time.

We measure time by the movements of the sun and the moon, and since those two can’t get together, we have never been able to devise the “perfect” paper calendar. Consequently, we have to buy a new calendar every year.

There is still a huge demand for calendars, judging by the wide variety we see for sale this time of year. There are two basic types: the regular wall version and the cube-style which contains a page for each day. You might say this calendar self-destructs over 52 weeks. At the end of the year there is nothing to throw away except a cardboard back.

The one-day-at-a-time calendars offer an amazing range of topics. You can learn a new vocabulary word each morning or pick up a daily nugget of trivia. You can solve a quick crossword puzzle as you begin the day, or read your horoscope, or play Scrabble or get a joke. Some provide a useful fact each day or an encouraging word. For those whose lives center around footwear, there is a page-a-day calendar which shows 365 different shoes. If you have a sweet tooth, you might go for the one that pictures a cake a day all year long.

Wall calendars say a lot about the people looking at the wall. There is one for every interest or passion. Dog lovers can choose a calendar for every breed, from Affenpinscher to Yorkshire terrier. Cats have their own 12-month spread, as well as horses, birds, fish and jungle creatures. Even penguins have a calendar.

Calendars can add a splash of color to any wall with spectacular art and photography. Norman Rockwell’s illustrations of American life have been calendar favorites for nearly a century.

Old advertisements are popular, too. Several 2014 calendars sport bright classic ads for Coke, Pepsi, John Deere and Harley-Davidson.

Car buffs can count the days down each year while gazing upon their classic Mustangs, Thunderbirds, Camaros and Corvettes. All conjure up highway romance and adventure. Remember when calendars were freely given away by local businesses? Every gas station, drugstore, car dealer and funeral home provided a calendar in exchange for a year’s worth of advertising on your kitchen wall.

We don’t see those free calendars much anymore. However, those of us in Greenwood receive a “town planner” each year. It has a colorful picture for each month, in addition to coupons from local businesses. It also lists community events, school schedules and other helpful information. This calendar is very useful and proves that computers don’t take the place of everything.

If you still are looking for a 2014 calendar, you might like to know that you may not need one. Look around the house. If you have been letting things pile up a little, you may still have your calendar from 2003. It will do the job. The days and dates are the same.

And don’t be so quick to throw away last year’s calendar. It will be new again in 2019.

No matter how you keep track of the days, here’s wishing that the ones in 2014 bring happiness, contentment and new adventures.

James H. Johnson is a retired teacher who lives in Greenwood. Send comments to letters@dailyjournal.net.

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