Metal plates inside a small flip calendar I keep on my desk make a distinctive noise when I change the date. Each plate has a number to coincide with the day’s date and it appears in a window on the calendar.
When I change the date I have to rotate the window mounted on a bracket. The plate slides out of the window’s frame and the next day’s date appears. At the end of each month, a plate flips up to remind you to change the month below.
I’ve been doing this since June 30, 1972. I know this because adhered to the bottom of the calendar is that date on a thin red band I stamped out on a label making machine my father owned. For some unknown reason, I’ve managed to keep this flip calendar for more than 40 years, and it’s been marking off days since.
My parents bought it for me a day after my 12th birthday that summer day in 1972 when we visited the Headwaters of the Mississippi River in northern Minnesota. The calendar has a drawing of the Itasca State Park area where the river begins.
I used the calendar to mark the actual days in the past, but for the 1981 APBA baseball replay game I’m doing now, I instead use the calendar to show the day of the replay. I’m at Sept. 10, 1981. So, despite it being February 2013 now, my calendar shows it’s still September 1981. And, since it takes more than one day to replay a full day’s schedule of the 1981 games, the calendar may remain unchanged for two or three days.
On the same token, on days in 1981 when there were only a few games — for example, on Sept. 10, 1981, there were only two games played — I will change the calendar twice in a day.
Flip, ching. Flip, ching.
It’s a way to measure the progress of my replay and it gives me a sense of accomplishment when I change the date. APBA replayers can attest that a season replay takes a long time, and we look for anything to show progression late in the season.
This does it for me. After tonight, when I play the two games scheduled for Sept. 10, 1981, I’ll flip the calendar again to Sept. 11, 1981, and then wait to flip it again while I play the 12 or 13 games scheduled for that day.
It’s somewhat odd to have a calendar, a device normally used to mark the time ahead, to actually show the passage of time years ago.
And the logo of the river’s birth is symbolic as well. It’s a mark of the beginning of something. The beginning of the river, the beginning of my childhood, the beginning of a life itself, I guess. The flowing of the river is a metaphor for life’s journey, smooth at times, turbulent at others.
It all comes to a loop. I’ve walked across the Mississippi River as a child in 1972 at Itasca many times. Two years ago, nearly four decades later and 1,000 miles south of the headwaters, I stood on a Mississippi River levee in Helena, Ark., and watched large trees, parts of barns and other debris float down the flooded waters. At that spot, the river was three miles wide.
So, as I flip the calendar to signify the days’ passage in my 1981 APBA replay, I think of the river, and the day I got this calendar and the 40 years hence. Kind of heady stuff when I’m rolling games like Seattle vs. Cleveland, isn’t it.