Pat Shingleton: "White Christmas and Christmas Trees"
A look-back" to this date in 2008 found a developing low along the Texas coast, tracking northeast, edging closer to south Louisiana. During the evening hours, the National Weather Service predicted a possible "wintry mix" in our area at daybreak. The Channel 2 weather team was "on-the-fence" as to whether it would be a sleet or snow event. Unusually, I awoke that morning at 5:00 AM, as snow fell at a rapid rate. I sped to the station where three inches had accumulated by 9:00 AM. Very soon, Josh Eachus will determine where the "white stuff" will be falling and accumulating for the Christmas weekend. Christmas Eve and Day, 2004 was our last "White Christmas" episode with a dusting of snow. Referencing another Christmas story, the Rouse Simmons sank during a winter gale on November 23, 1912. For 30 years the schooner brought Christmas trees from Michigan and Wisconsin to Chicago. It would arrive at Chicago's docks in early December, decorated with Christmas lights. The public boarded the ship, purchasing balsam, pine trees, garland and wreaths and was dubbed, the "Christmas Tree Ship." The ship's captain, Herman Schuenemann, gave trees to poorer residents and was named, Captain Santa. Following the sinking of Rouse Simmons and its cargo of 5,000 trees, the tradition continues. Trees grown in Michigan are purchased by the Christmas Ship Committee of Chicago. In December they navigate Lake Michigan, escorted by the U.S. Coast Guard.