Guest Viewpoints

A Calendar Girl Each and Every Day of the Year

January 20, 2024

Rosemary, my treasured, Greek-American cousin, is a wonderfully energetic and giving soul. In a technology-addicted world that creeps eerily closer to letting AI have its way, Rosey sports a basic, wholesome, throwback relationship with, of all things, a simple wall calendar that hangs in her kitchen.

Watching Rosey interact with it is exhilarating for its intensity. Challenging herself over what activities make the final cut speaks volumes. But Rosey, a retired public-school and Sunday school teacher, is propelled by her strong Orthodox faith. She is fully aware that while it is human to make plans to do this or that, it is the Lord who has the last word.

One morning, relaxing in her cozy kitchen, sipping fresh coffee, my cousin was escorting me across and through a travelogue. She had just returned from a family wedding in Aigio, a Peloponnese port town astride the Gulf of Corinth. The images she took with her iphone popped with crisply defined colors and perfect composition.

Her impeccable narration whisked me to the southern peninsula, the hearth of Greek myth and merriment.

“I was unaware,” she declared, a sense of wonder sewn in her tone, “that Peloponesse has seven prefectures…Laconia, Patra, Tripoli, and Nafplio are among them…This is a shot of the largest church in the prefecture…The scenery, as you can see, is elegantly lush in its stark simplicity. Have you visited Kalamata? It was a very nice reminder that our ancestral homeland is made up of way more than the islands…”

Suddenly, without explanation, Rosey sprung from her chair. With pen in hand, and  walked calmly, purposely, over to the color-splashed calendar that adorns the wall. A photo of one of her grandchildren crowns the calendar, drawing all passersby into the innocence of childhood, into what really counts.

This Rosey doesn’t merely make entries and rush off to the next thing. No way. And her penmanship is to die for, as each and every number and letter are perfectly arranged in the tiny, empty squares, her windows on the world. With each stroke of the pen, you can almost see the wheels in Rosey’s mind churning. Her critical thinking blooms into full flower, as if she were a judge at the famed Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show. I watch in utter amazement as she marshals critical thinking, reading, reflecting, and re-reading for understanding. I get the sense that my cousin is not the kind of consumer who signs on the dotted line without deep introspection.

“She doesn’t like computers,” shrugged Eleftheria, Rosey’s beloved twin and best friend, who arrived in the world a mere eight minutes before Rosey. “I’ve told her to enter (the information) into her smartphone.” And yet the suggestion has fallen on deaf ears. Rosey makes her own mind up. The loving sisters, raised in a tight Greek-American family, know the permanent bond between them will never crack.

Rosey, of course, lives with one overarching reality: from cradle to grave, nothing in life comes with guarantee. For my cousin, it just injects more pure oxygen that enriches the importance of bringing meaning to her day – forever scented with the hope of a tomorrow and a tomorrow.

If I harbored any questions about how she separates the proverbial wheat from the chaff, my dear cousin left no lingering questions. Let’s see… there’s a procedure on the first, a 1:15 thing at the Moose Lodge. Oh, yes, the PLANTS, all caps, need water. Onward… On the fourth, she and daughter Christina, (my Godchild) are  going shopping together. Brother Dean’s 76th birthday is the next day. Rosey is reminded, too, that Aunt Fran turns 89 on the 15th, the Dormition. Plans are afoot for a haircut and lunch with Ray and Ginger. They’re doing Italian.

“There are millions of olive trees im Peloponnese,” she enthused, putting the pen back on the table as we returned to our visual feast. “My trip, the fun we had at the wedding reception and exploring, was underscored by how important the olive is. It’s a holy symbol. My explorations over there brought that into sharp focus. People don’t appreciate that enough.”

As I mentioned, Rosey throbs with the whole package, seamless in her quest for  immersive communion – and as honest as the day is long, as well as a reservoir of compassion and forgiveness.

And you, dear Rosey, who has put up with my antics for decades, my propensity, during our college days at Maryland, to burst into Astronomy 101 class on Greek time, to endure my sophomoric, free-wheeling ways, are fulfilling a holy calling.

“When you next visit, you must make it a priority to drop by the assortment of tiny village chapels and monasteries!” Rosey bubbled, the eagerness building. “Being there for a wedding, its sacramental foundation, brought to the surface the reason I was a guest.”

Rosey, you can be sure I will pencil your glowing recommendation into my own wall calendar.

When I get around to buying one.



Dear Stavroula, I have been divorced for 24 years.

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