Is it Christmas yet? The season seems to have been with us for a long time this year. Guess it’s the snow and cold.

Have you seen the extended family of penguins here in Forest Park? Each penguin has a block of ice to himself. They’re a very friendly bunch. As I photographed them I thought I could hear them talking to one another, so I approached quietly and this is what I heard. Mother penguin: “I have a tale to tell.” Father penguin: “I have a tale to tell too.” Baby penguin: “My tail is told!” (You must have heard that one in second-grade.)

Unfortunate news on the health of Laureen Thornton; she has been readmitted to the hospital and is under doctor’s orders not to have any visitors. Cards are welcome though, so let her know you’re thinking of her.

Amy Hauser and I have been playing telephone tag all week. Her interest is the upscale dress shop at 7511 Madison St. The name of the shop is 75eleven. They were featured on CBS a week or so ago and will be in a special on CLTV. You can call the shop at 771-7511 for more information. Good luck on a successful stay here in Forest Park.

We love to see our town’s businesses flourish. But not at the expense of well loved citizens being put out of their homes for a parking lot. The 118-year-old house with its stately old pine tree and the neighboring house next to the alley on Thomas Avenue could be destroyed. The home owners will be compensated, but a home cannot be bought with money. After a few years a house becomes a home, a member of the family. You cannot participate in the destruction of a family member.

Mary Erikson, a smart lady who has Forest Park’s best interest at heart, has some ideas about parking that I think should be listened to. Saint John’s parking lot is used primarily during daylight hours. The restaurants, taverns, etc. on Madison need more parking places at night. Can some kind of arrangement be made to use St. John’s lot after 6 p.m.? Another idea of Mary’s is to use the CTA lot after dark with a shuttle. Arrangements for this one might be more complicated. And what’s wrong with a parking garage? It seems to work just fine on Lake Street. It may cost a bit but the cost is minor compared to the good will it will foster when people’s homes are respected and left intact.

One of Forest Park’s published authors Mark Maller will be seen and heard at the “Booksellers” at 4736 Lincoln Ave. on Dec. 13. The late Cora Sallee compiled a list of Forest Park authors. Does anyone know where that list is?

Do you have a musical high school senior in your family? If so, (s)he may be interested in applying for a MacDowell Artists scholarship. Vocalists, pianists, and instrumentalists are eligible (we even had a dancer one year). Auditions will be held Sunday, March 11 at 2 p.m. For an application see your music teacher or call (708) 409-0922 and leave your name and address.

It’s not too late to sign up for the New Year’s Eve party at the community center. For $23 ($26 non-resident) you’ll get lots of entertainment, party favors, noise, a buffet lunch and a champagne toast at “midnight.” Reservations are required, you’ll be picked up at around 10 a.m. and brought home after the party ends around 1 or 2 in the afternoon, but you have to request this when you make your reservation at (708) 771-7737.

Belated birthday greetings to Joan Purvis Dec. 3; on Dec. 14, birthday wishes to Kathy Wilkinson and Steven T. Rozmus; Dec. 17 is the birthday of Dan Barron, Afam Ritter; 18th, Sue Stantonn, Bill Hopp; the 19th, Amanda Rychtanek, Tim Flanagan, Irene O’Shea and Madeleyne Garlisch. Thanks for your time. You have lots to do these days.