Merry Christmas!!!

Best wishes to everyone celebrating Christmas and Hanukkah.

It looks like we may get a tiny amount of snow in Chicago for Christmas for a hint of a white Christmas.

Last night, I made our traditional Cioppino soup — a tradition started by my late father, Jack Turley. I hated the soup as a kid so fate has left this tradition to me. I am now as addicted to the soup as my father was. It was a great meal after a day with the family at the Museum of Science and Industry. (The day before we went to the wonderful Art Institute and the day before that we went to the Chicago Historical Museum with its exhibit on magic).

On Christmas Eve, we then went to Midnight mass at St. Mary’s of the Lake to hear my 85 year old mother sing in the choir. Today, I am cooking the beef as well as the Yorkshire pudding, horseradish. and gravy. We will have the entire family clan over to the house.

Waiting For Santa were notes from the kids and peppermint bark with milk. The notes this year were intriguing.

Aidan (10), for example, wrote Santa a note that said that he is “thankful for you, but there is a problem with the watching thing for me. I am fine with the “he knows if you are good or bad and he know when you’re awake. But the “he sees you want your sleeping” is a bit obsessive. I mean all you need to know is if I was bad or good and it gets a bit creepy when you keep searching for us when we sleep. Well, Merry Christmas, Your thankful/questioning, Aidan.”

Jack took an even more novel approach. On his relatively short list for Santa, he asked for “information.” He then followed with a questionnaire and a requested essay from Santa. The ten questions included such queries as “how many gallons/pounds of milk and cookies do you inject every Christmas?” and “How do you work off the milk and cookies?” He also asks for Mrs. Clauses’ first name and “do you ever use a different hairdo/suit/color and if so, what?”

He then asks Santa to fill in a blank sheet with an essay but gave him the choice to two subjects: “what is it like on a regular day at the workshop? or “what is delivering presents like?”

Madie (7) simply did an elaborate picture attached to a five page, single spaced wish list.

Well, it is 1 am in Chicago and Santa’s little helpers are dead on their feet.

The Turley family wishes everyone a happy and safe holiday. I will be toasting our blog family tonight and give thanks for the wonderful community we have created at this site.

Best wishes,

Jonathan Turley

58 thoughts on “Merry Christmas!!!”

  1. OroLee:

    that was a good story.

    My uncle was a vet and one year I worked with him. He raised sheep, a small flock, for meat and wool. Really just a hobby. He had one lamb who had turned in hooves but could still get around with some effort. I used to carry him around the field once in a while so he could get some relief and I used to bring him carrots and apples and I just generally made sure he had water and food. I would play with him and he would follow me around when I had to do chores in the field where the heard pastured.

    He was a great little guy, almost like a dog. We would sit at the top of the small hill leading down to the pasture and watch the world go by on the main road next to the clinic. I loved that little lamb.

    One day about 3 days before Christmas my uncle got out his knives and told me to come with him. I had no idea what was going on but knew immediately when we went out to the barn and he told me to grab one of the sheep. It was slaughtering day. I had to help him kill his small heard of about 6 sheep and then he grabbed the lamb and slit its throat before I could utter even a cry of protest. I will never forget the look on that little lambs face as he bled out, I held back tears and carried his lifeless body to the kitchen. I made some excuse and left the house and spent the next hour crying like a baby over that poor little crippled lamb.

    That was over 30 years ago and the memory still haunts me. I used to love lamb as a child but after that experience, I cannot bring myself to eat it and havent since that day when my little friend died and I couldnt save him.

    “we ought to love folks as hard as we can love folks whenever we have a chance to love folks for such chances aren’t always there.”

    That is good advice and I would add we ought to voluntarily help those who are in need and who cannot fend for themselves.

  2. Sorry, BK; I wasn’t too happy about when I got home school that day . . .but I offer what I have learned from such experiences as solace: we ought to love folks as hard as we can love folks whenever we have a chance to love folks for such chances aren’t always there. I might not know much more, but I think I know enough.

  3. Since some folks have shared a Christmas story, I’d like to offer what happened to my family so many years ago that my memory of all my childhood Christmases are but a blur save one –

    A blizzard raked the Texas Panhandle with sleet that Christmas morning.

    My brother brought news of a new-born lamb frozen in the sheep pen. All of the ewes were lambing, with one in terrible distress unable to complete delivery. We herded the sheep into the barn. The heat from their bodies and a small gas furnace raised the temperature, but the sheep still were in danger. The lambs were arriving way too early. We were not prepared. The young ewes were not ready–they were barely able to bear their lambs.

    We might lose the whole flock.

    A veterinarian, a friend of my dad, left his family’s Christmas morning celebrations to help. He immediately delivered the lamb that had been partly born outside. The lamb was blue and we cast it on a rag pile near the furnace. The veterinarian delivered the other lambs by noon.

    We prepared to dispose of two lambs – the one outside and the one by the furnace. As the animal doctor lifted the lamb off the rag pile, it softly bleated. The veterinarian placed the lamb inside his coat, cupped his hands around its mouth and nose, and blew warm air into its lungs. The lamb lived and we buried only the one. Yet if not for the one we might have lost the flock.

    We had more lambs than expected. Most of the ewes delivered twins, an unusual event for young ewes. Many had triplets which presented a life-and-death situation. A ewe can nurse but two lambs and is not likely to nurse the lamb of another. Sometimes liberal use of baby powder on the lambs or a vapor rub on the nose of a ewe will suffice to deceive her and she will adopt another’s lamb.

    We placed all the lambs except for the last-saved lamb. Neither its mother nor any other ewe would nurse it. For its first few weeks, we kept the lamb in a box in the kitchen. We named him Bambi and fed him formula milk out of a regular baby’s bottle.

    Bambi gained weight, fast becoming one of the larger lambs and he soon joined the rest of the flock. We still fed Bambi. He graduated to a 32 oz. Dr Pepper bottle of formula. Dad told the neighbors Bambi would jump the fence every day at 10, 2 and 4 and knock on the back door to be fed.

    He was our pet lamb.

    Along about Easter, a truck came and took Bambi and the other sheep. Finances were tight that year, but we made a good bit of money by cutting our expenses short by a couple of months and hitting the market with a large flock when prices were good.

    I recall little else about that particular Christmas so long ago, but I always remember that one lost lamb, the last saved lamb, the work of the good doctor, and how my family’s needs at Easter were met by those Christmas lambs.

  4. Whatever holiday you are celebrating, may it be a happy one, blog peoples!

    Now if you’ll pardon me, I must return to my gluttony induced napping on the couch . . .

  5. I love how this time of year, irrespectve of the holiday name, gets people together to pause and share food, drink, stories, the warmth of companionship and nostalgia, and reconnect in ways that often don’t happen during the year.
    A wish that we carry this in our hearts for another 364 days.

  6. BettyKath, thanks. No, neither, but I was rushing and frustrated. I’m supposed to deliver a bunch of Xmas presents to a friend’s family and my right-front tire is flat and I can’t do anything about it, had a dozen calls to make, and the folks who want me to watch their cats forgot to leave catfood!

    Thanks for alerting me — I was confused because I couldn’t find anyone answering my question and the reason was it was posted in the wrong place!

    HA HA HA HA — Merry Christmas to all and confusion at times. :mrgreen:

  7. A tradition in our family started when I was very, very young, a long, long time ago. My grandmother had 5 children and each year they and their children would gather at her place for merry-making and gift exchange. As more grandchildren appeared and Grandma moved in with my aunt and uncle, the tradition continued but the gathering occurred at the homes of her children in rotation. Gradually, as the families preferred to have Christmas on their own, the gathering moved to just before or just after Christmas. More grandchildren meant that instead of gifts for everyone (it was getting too expensive for most), it was gifts for the children and the adults had a grab bag. Another evolution was a grab bag for adults, another for teens, and gifts from everyone for the under-teens. Each “teen” decided when they wanted to move from the “teens” to the “adults”. When my grandmother died, there was discord in the family and the tradition ended. A few years later I revived it by inviting all to my house. When I moved too far away to host. A cousin invited us to the fire hall for a couple of years. Then it ended. Now most of the grandchildren from that time are grandparents, some great-grandparents, and one is a great-great grandparent. Tomorrow I’m going to my sister’s for a similar gathering.

    A word about the grab bag b/c it was a game that had everyone laughing in interacting. Everyone was to bring a gift of a predetermined value, preferably in a paper sack to disguise who brought what. Homemade arts and crafts were encouraged. Gift wrapping was everything from very elaborate to, well, the paper sack. To start the game, everyone drew a number from a hat to determine order. #1 would pick a gift and open it. #2 could trade her number with #1 for that gift or pick a new gift and open it. #1 would then pick new gift. #3 has the choice of the two opened gifts or an unopened one, and so on. Whoever had the number had the option of any of the already opened gifts or a new one. At the very end, if no one had taken the gift that #1 had opened, then #1 had the choice of all opened gifts. Game over. At this point, it was not unusual for some interesting trades to happen, sometimes involving 3-4 people. (I want what you have, you want what Jim has, Jim wants I have.) It got exciting when a particularly attractive gift was opened and was highly desired by more than one person and even more so when there were 3 or 4 such gifts.

  8. I meant Merry Christmas. This Dogalogue Machine doesnt translate correctly sometimes. It doesnt do i before e except after c either.

  9. When I was growing up there was a family in town with a blind guy and their last name was Christmas. They had a daughter and named her Mary. Their guide dog’s name was Chestnut. The mailbox on their apt had a short space for printing the name of the owner so they put Xmas on there. Mary became an agnostic. She married a guy and dropped the Christmas and Xmas last name thing. If you read this comment Mary its me BarkinDog and that is the same dog name I had in a prior dog life when I lived next door. Mary Xmas.

  10. @ GBlock and Lonnie, concerning this issue:

    Now, we look at the picture, taken of the back of his head at the scene, and we look at the picture taken of the same head at the station. The blood trails are exactly the same. What that means is, the blood rivulets and trails in the photo taken at the scene, had already stopped flowing. Out in the rain, in less that 4 minutes, you’re saying we should believe that GZ’s blood somehow avoided absorbing any rain water, and coagulated faster than blood normally does? By 2.5 minutes yet?

    My problem with this evidentiary conundrum is this: Between the picture “taken of the back of his head at the scene” and the “picture taken of the same head at the station,” there was a third picture taken.


    Here’s the timeline:

    1. At some point before Trayvon Martin was killed OR shortly thereafter, but before the police started making reports about Fogen’s condition, TWO SMALL LACERATIONS occurred to the back of Fogen’s head. I will put them as being “BPA” as in “Before Police Arrived” although, technically, we do not know if the event occurred before the first officer arrived. (First = Smith & Smith = of questionable honesty)

    2. At some point BPA a by-stander allegedly took a picture of the back of Fogen’s head showing that from those two lacerations, blood rivulets (the “Rivulets”) had formed dripping down his head and towards his ears and neck, bilaterally.

    3. At some point after the police arrived and started making reports about Fogen’s condition, a picture of his bloody nose was taken as he sat in the squad car, and presumably at that time the back of his head was still bloody, whether or not the blood was dried.

    4. One or more EMTs cleaned him up. One reported that the blood on the back of his head was dried or congealed (I no longer remember). Peroxide was used to clean up the Rivulets.

    5. Videos were taken by the CCT cameras in the garage of the station house and inside the station house at which time there were no Rivulets.

    6. Still pictures were taken at the station house, front of his face (blood had been cleaned up by the EMTs and there was no more blood either on nose, upper lip, lower lip, mustache or to the right of his mouth) and back of his head (RIVULETS are there again! They are thinner but follow the same PATH! It’s a MIRACLE!)


    FOLKS, whether the blood dries or doesn’t dry, congeals or doesn’t congeal, whether it dates back to before Fogen set out that evening or not, whether it’s from trees or branches or a sign or the flat side of a Kal-tec gun, how the bejeebers does it flow down in rivulets, get cleaned up and dried and then reproduce the same rivulets AFTER THE CLEANING, all for photo ops?


    The time-stamp on the “by-stander” photo taken allegedly at the scene outside shows that it occurred before the trip to the station house in the back of Tim Smith’s squad car.

    The time-stamp on the videos of Fogen getting out of the back of the squad car and being led into the station house through the garage shows that it followed that initial photo.

    The time-stamp of the official front-and-back-of-head photographs at the station house shows that this event came third, of the three.


    Isn’t this a kind of “Columbo would never believe this!” phenomenon?
    Would Monk believe this?
    Would any TV detective believe this?
    Does Serino believe this?
    Clearly O’Mara doesn’t believe this because he’s been exercising his right to remain silent about these photographs of the back of Fogen’s head.


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