Welcome back, Dave Barry

December fourth. I’m planning my Christmas list.

Last Jan. 6, I wrote of my decision to give Dave Barry the deep six. His calendar, that is. At the same time I had decided to do away with all the daily calendars to which I’d become so accustomed. Out went my Inner Bitch with its encouraging advice and the daily Sudoku.

I still have a box filled with old puzzles for the papers provide plenty. Instead I was given a New York Times daily crossword puzzles calendar. Oh, boy! It took very few days to learn how inept I’ve gotten at these. There was a time when my dad would do the Sunday puzzle, erase his answers and pass it on to me. We each managed well — back then. Well, this calendar is even more difficult. National tree of India. Battle of Albert setting, 1914. “The King’s Speech,” director. Recipient of much 2010s humanitarian aid. World Series of Poker champion _______ Ungar. One of the books in the Book of Mormon. I won’t keep you in suspense. Answers are Banyan, Somme, Tom Hooper, Haiti, Stu, Omni. There is so much I don’t know. (And so very much I really don’t find I need to know.)

The Inner Bitch wasn’t missed. I have all the advice I can handle and don’t feel I need extra encouragement either. Life unfolds in beautiful detail just outside my windows. (Life unfolds inside too — dog, cat, and some others I’d just as soon not have visit.) Instead, I opted for pages from The Book of Questions. Now that’s been fun as well as having some of the titillating questions good for opening conversations with others. Today’s asked if I’d accept $20,000 to spend two weeks in a small space with someone I truly disliked. If I could find the time, indeed I would. I’m sure I’d discover her virtues and we’d be good friends by the end of those two weeks. I don’t imagine the calendar for 2018 would vary many of the questions so I’ll seek variety next year.

Dave Barry? He can stay. I enjoyed his columns this year, “Live Right — Find Happiness,” even though I know all are recycled from the days he wrote for the Miami Herald. His daughter never seems to get older, still stuck in the Barbie stage (One I remember so well). A few even feel like repeats to me but that’s OK. Nearby friends also repeat themselves occasionally. And I do enjoy the backside (I have enough blank backs which I use as notes for myself to last at least another couple of years.)

He adds intriguing history trivia, ”’Jingle Bells,’ one of the best-known American Christmas songs, was originally written for Thanksgiving.”

Even quotes from others may make the list: “The main thing is to keep the main thing the main thing. — Stephen Covey.” I don’t require depth first thing in the morning and some of his tidbits do make it into my columns.

I’ve used calendars in the past from a favorite catalogue but this year the discount was tiny and the postage too large to be worth the order. I missed one on church signs and another on senior moments, both promising hilarity.

Then I hit the calendar store. While I disapprove of peeking and won’t open the boxes, at least I’ll reveal with whom — or what — I plan to spend this new year.

Have to say first the choices were rather overwhelming. There were two for dogs and another couple for cats, even one more for Bad Cat. Argyle Sweater (one I don’t know, apparently cartoons), Bad Jokes and Puns (I’ve been warned!), 1000 Places to See Before You Die (I prefer it right here), Dog Shaming (not very funny from the bit I could see), 10-minute Crossword Puzzles (that might be right up my alley), Zen, Brain Puzzles, New Words, Sudoku (not this time), Trivia, Zen, Book Lover’s, Audubon songbirds, 365 Stupidest Things Ever Said, Fact or Crap (probably not for me).

Really, I only want brief (and the briefer the better) entertainment early in my day. Thinking can come later. Along with Dave I added the cartoons of “Close to Home” which I remember as being very funny and ended up debating between “365 Stupidest Things Ever Said” or “Going to be a Great Day!”

Oh yes, Dave Barry Classic. That was first into my basket. Who doesn’t need this? “A guy goes into a restaurant for breakfast at Christmas time. After looking over the menu he orders eggs Benedict. When his order arrives, it’s served on a big, shiny hubcap. He asks the waiter, “What’s with the hubcap?” The waiter sings, “There’s no place like chrome for the hollandaise!”

It’s going to be a great year!

Susan Crossett has lived outside Cassadaga for more than 20 years. A lifetime of writing led to these columns as well as two novels. “Her Reason for Being” was published in 2008 with “Love in Three Acts” following in 2014. Information on all the Musings, her books and the author may be found at Susancrossett.com.