Calendars arrive with special purposes

By : 
Dr. Jan Meyer
Biker's Diary

It’s almost the time of year when the calendars for the new year start rolling in. It is kind of fun to see the array of what various companies or organizations have chosen to feature this year. My favorite gas station in my old St. Paul neighborhood always sends one with gorgeous photos of our beautiful country. It’s a great monthly reminder that we have unending vistas to visit and enjoy.

Another one I get every year points out, every month with the turn of the page, another national park I could visit this year. I have often thought it would be fun to add that to my bucket list: visit every U.S. National Park. I would do the ones featured in that current calendar. If I were younger, I’d have enough years to accomplish that.

Another one I have gotten in the past features cats or dogs, and appropriately it’s from an animal rescue group. One year I got one that was all red barns. I sent it to my amateur photographer aunt for whom red barns were one of her favorite things to shoot. She did find many amazing ones, big and small and with various shapes on her photography trips.

One friend sends one with outdoor photos from all over northern California that he takes himself. He’s such a serious photographer that he has a goal of covering every wall in their family’s home with framed pictures he has taken. The great room area is open for two stories, and he has very little room left on those three walls. I think almost all other walls are also covered, with maybe an occasional empty spot here and there.

One problem of getting all of these calendars every year is which one to choose to keep and use. I know it is easier to use the calendar on my ”device,” but I still enjoy a paper one. I think that has almost become a luxury, and I know that some day the practice of sending them out as a marketing tool will die away.

This year, however, a new one will be in the mix. OK, it’s not going to come in the mail nor will it be free, but it will be worth the time and the effort to seek it out, and it is being offered at a bargain price to take it home. It is the 2019 American Legion Centennial calendar, unique because while it is the 100th anniversary of the National American Legion, this calendar was created right here.

Carolyn Storlie, a U.S. Marine veteran and member of Lanesboro’s American Legion Post #40, spent the better part of this last winter putting it together. That required research acquiring photos and information, securing permissions to use that collected data, organizing, page layout, and other chores that went with the project. That was all before finding, and getting it to and from, a printer.

This beautiful and colorful guide to the year includes interesting information about the National American Legion organization and also about the local Post. One page is dedicated to the Return of the Sword Ceremony and Marie and Orval Amdahl. Orval had been in the military during World War II and had arrived early in Japan. It was there that he acquired the sword, and after all those years he finally got the opportunity to give it back to the family of the original owner, a Japanese soldier. He treasured the opportunity to do so.

There are many other items both of interest and of use. One month the topic is Legion Baseball, a program established in 1925 for young people, aged 13 to 19, playing in competition and tournaments, all sponsored by the Legion. Most people don’t know that Minnesota Twins’ player Brian Dozier played for the American Legion Post 149 baseball team in Tupelo, Miss. Also mentioned on that page are over a dozen other well-known baseball players, such as Harm Killebrew, with Minnesota connections who once played American Legion Baseball.

There is information about proper flag etiquette, and the date for the next local flag retirement ceremony is included in June. There is a page dedicated to the war memorials in Washington, D.C.

There are poignant pages, such as the one about “The Four Chaplains” and the one describing the POW/MIA Memorial Table at Post 40 in Lanesboro. The calendar will be a resource for information in the future. In fact, a short supplement for educators provides some ideas on how to use the calendar in the classroom. That supplement will be free for educators purchasing a calendar.

The calendar page dedicated to the local American Legion includes old and newer photos of its beautiful building. Built in 1873, it is included in Lanesboro’s National Historic District. Of the few Legion buildings around the country, it is the oldest of the entire list! It is the only one in Minnesota on that list!

Those photos hint at a problem that has been developing for years: it needs tuckpointing. It’s an expensive undertaking and the Legion needs help. Storlie’s beautiful calendar was conceived by her as a means for raising funds to cover some of that cost. So, calendars will be on sale at the Legion’s booth at the upcoming Buffalo Bill Days. Also on sale there will be the Centennial coin, one of which has been uniquely coined for each state. Cost for calendars is $10 each, and $20 for the coin. Or buy either or both at the Legion.

Thinking again to all of those calendars that arrive unbidden every year, there is one thing I don’t enjoy: it is always a clear message that another year is whizzing by.