Best wishes for a happy 2008!

Winter has arrived in full, but let us not despair. The days will soon be lengthening, spring will come again. Flowers will bloom, trees will leaf out. (I am trying to convince myself as much as I am trying to lighten your spirits.) We have fewer than 100 days of winter ahead of us. Is that so bad? One hundred days. Two thousand four hundred hours.

Welcome home to honeymooners Carl Tellarovic and his bride, Ramya Bavicatte. The new destination for honeymooners is Madagascar! It was for them anyway. They enjoyed the weather and watching the lemurs joyfully jumping all over the place. After a few weeks in Madagascar, the couple meandered to Africa where they spent a few days in South Africa. Now Ramya has left her position with The Paper Source and will play housewife, complete with rolling pin, apron and recipe book, at least until she gets bored with that role.

At a Christmas gathering last week, the derivation of the word “Emmanuel” (God is with us) came up. Some pretty scholarly people weren’t sure of its origins; definitely not Latin. Hebrew? No. Arabic? Possibly. Finally one man, whose wife translates bibles and teaches at Wheaton College, told us the word “Emmanuel” is Aramaic. Of course! Supposedly, it was the language spoken by Christ in His time.

A good way to fill your soul with Christmas cheer might be to visit the Forest Park Public Library and be greeted at the circulation desk by Pricilla Dunn. Pricilla loves her work, smiles sincerely at patrons and walks 13 blocks to work everyday. Another way get yourself in the holiday mood is to check out “A Child’s Christmas in Wales,” a sensitive rendition based on the work by Dylan Thomas as read by Denholm Elliott.

The Oak Park Symphony Chorus will begin rehearsals in earnest on Jan. 6 at First United Church, 848 Lake St. in Oak Park at 2 p.m. This year’s offering will be the “Brahms German Requiem,” one of the most awesome-in the real sense of that word-pieces of music ever written. The performance will be given in February. If you have sung this work before it may not be too late to join the chorus. Contact Bill Chin at First United for more details.

There may still be time to sign up for Tai Chi at the Community Center. Classes begin Jan. 11 and run from 1 p.m. till 2 p.m. and cost $25 for six weeks. Call the center at (708) 771-7737.

There just may be a seat or two available for the Community Center’s trip to see “Jersey Boys,” the story of Frankie Valli and the Four Seasons, on Wednesday, Jan. 30. Cost is $84.

Happy Jan. 2 birthday to Jenni Jargstorf and Renee Rausch; on the 3rd, to twins Alice and Lara Mellin; on the Jan. 4, Lou Moran, Tom Kloess, Marie Skorda; Jan. 5, Christine Malone, Joan Huynh, Deb Harris, Mila Marcantonio, Ashley Breseman, Michael Hutter, April Kutak; Jan. 6, Emily Garrity, Brittany O’Donoghue; Jan. 7, Fred Marunde, Karen Skinner, Laureen Thornton, David Thornton, Cecilia Consalve, Rosemary Cole; Jan. 8, Kathy Leninger, Tina Marcantonio, Charlie Vederal.