Clare County Review & Marion Press

Postcard from the Pines: Tracking the Days

Marion Creamery 1948

Ah, once again, it’s a shiny New Year. January 1 is not only the beginning of a new calendar year, but is considered by many as the perfect time to commence new things. A good many diets, vows to cease smoking and other life altering pledges are made at the start of a New Year. True, some succeed with real determination and the desire for change triumphing over temptation. But, for the vast majority swept up in the moment, vows and resolutions go by the wayside. A big factor, as in most things that take considerable determination is that a “gotta wanna” epiphany has to strike. “Gotta wanna” doesn’t find most of us and certainly not very often.
If you’ve been Postcard reader for any length of time you know that I’m not much for New Year’s, eve or day. I maintain that it is a lousy way to begin something as important as an entire year. And even though I don’t care for the revelry and whoopla associated with this near cosmic event, there are some aspects of the New Year which I do enjoy. One of them is the hanging of a brand new calendar. There is a certain excitement in the promise of a whole year full of unblemished days.
There are all kinds of calendar styles to choose from. Daily desk calendars, the kind with 365 separate pages often come with a joke or cartoon of the day. Notebook type calendars display a week at a time and allow a line or two for notations to plan in advance. Appointment calendars breakdown the days into segments of hours and are heavily depended upon by very busy folks.
We hang oversized calendars with colorful art or exceptional photographs to be decorative. There are these types of calendars for every taste and preference. There are calendars to be had bearing twelve months of dogs, cats, horses, vintage cars, lighthouses, tractors, Americana, the inspirational and uplifting, and a couple of hundred other choices and causes.
Then there are the good old fashioned, hard working kitchen calendars. These are the ones we hang by the broom closet or at the end of the cupboard to note the business of our days. We used to pick up advertising calendars at the end of the year, courtesy of the pharmacy, lumber yard, gas station or your Avon lady. It was a long tradition that seems to be on the list of endangered amenitites. Computers, cell phones and the cost of the give-away calendars themselves, are bringing about their swift demise.
There was a time in our town when a calendar was available from just about every merchant. An Omer Hall – Insurance and Real Estate, calendar was a staple for many businesses. It was a no nonsense calendar, large, black and red print, all business. A calendar from VanderWarker’s Drugs bore Rexall advertising and was loaded with coupons. The Marion Branch of the Cadillac State Bank gave out desk calendars and sometimes small plastic banks, encouraging savings in the New Year.
The gas stations, and at one time there were more than seven here, all provided calendars. These were often of the hunting and sporting variety with one print above the twelve tear-off months. Small fish printed by the days indicated when the fishing was supposed to be the best. As the calendar collection at the Marion Historical Society Museum attests, calendars given away by Thompson’s Garage were particularly good ones to keep.
The same goes for the year-end advertising given away by the Marion Dairy. Bob Payne’s home delivery customers, and that included just about everyone in town at one time, were favored with a nicely framed print, bearing the Marion Dairy slogan, “You can whip our cream but you can’t beat our milk” and an indoor thermometer. Some years, the give-away included both thermometer and calendar.
Area elevators and farm suppliers handed out calendars specific to farm use. These included extra pages of information useful to the farmer and space for him to note the business of the farm. Often each month had a pocket behind it so that receipts and papers pertaining to that month could be easily stored and found. That monthly pocket style was also favored by Jenkin’s Oil, local purveyors of fuel oil and gas.
Marion’s three grocery stores made sure patrons found a new calendar tucked in grocery bags. A visit to the Ben Franklin assured you of yet another. Forty years ago a trip around town provided the shopper with a calendar for every room in the house. There was no excuse for Marion folks to lose track of the date.
This year we picked up one advertising calendar and received the Old Farmers Almanac Calendar as a gift. It’s a dandy with great outdoor information and natural art for each month. We will note appointments, lows and highs of temperature, heavy snows or thunderstorms and the comings and goings of robins and hummingbirds and we will have 12 months of handy tips from the Old Farmer for the Old Gardener.
Wishing you a Safe, Sane and Happy New Year and Peace from the New Pines ~ the Gardener and me.

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