Monday, January 4, 2010

Warming up the calendar

Happy holiday, happy holiday
May the calendar keep bringing
Happy holidays to you
—Irving Berlin, from "Holiday Inn"

I've been thinking about the calendar as a delivery system of holidays, especially now, looking over the trove of holidays to come.

I definitely felt comforted by holidays as a kid. Take February, which needs the company. The groundhog on the 2. The face of Lincoln on the 12, trustworthy as an old penny. Followed by the red trimmed heart on the 14, and the slightly austere George Washington on the 22. They gave the month color, warmth (George, too), momentum.

And now, with this almanac, I feel like I've been entrusted with a vital job: dispenser of holidays. In fact, I've been remiss for the last three months, even though I mentioned the major ones. But you don't really get the call until the year sets forth again. So, let me hasten to say that January's birthstone is the garnet, and its flower (I almost said the state flower) is the carnation. Is that important knowledge? Yes! I'm telling you, it warms up the calendar. You don't want a cold calendar, and the picture can only go so far.

Furthermore, January wears a lot of different hats. It is, it turns out, Hot Tea Month, National Oatmeal Month, National Soup Month, National Blood Donor Month, and National Thank You Month. This is important information.

But you have to be judicious. I won't be mentioning the weeks, except, okay, just one: Universal Letter Writing Week is from the 8th to the 14th. And you can go a little crazy with the days. If you have too many observances, your calendar gets too warm.

So I'll mention Paul Revere's birthday (the first) because we need the image of Paul galloping through the month, and it only takes that one little picture of him on his horse. And okay, I'll mention that the drinking straw was invented on January 2, 1888. And I'll skip to today, the 5th, which is National Bird Day. So I think I'll go outside and try again to see our national bird in "The Tree" on Mystic Lake. (I just got a report that he's there.) But if I miss him, what the hey, I'll come home and have a hot tea.

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