Pat Shingleton: "Charlie Brown and The Christmas Tree Ship..."
The comic strip “Peanuts” would regularly depict a variety of weather scenes: Snoopy sunbathing atop his box, Lucy carrying an umbrella, Charlie shoveling snow. The Little Blue Book notes that on December 9, 1965, “A Charlie Brown Christmas” premiered on television and was based on the Infancy Narrative of St. Luke as Charlie tries to find the true meaning of Christmas. The program won an Emmy and a Peabody Award; resulting in 30 additional Peanuts shows. Peanuts creator, Charles Schultz’s first job was as a cartoonist at the Catholic magazine, Timeless Topix. His cartoon strip was retired in January, 2000 and when the final “Peanuts” cartoon appeared in the Sunday papers, he died in his sleep on February 12, 2000. Concluding with another seasonal item...The Rouse Simmons sank during a winter gale on November 23, 1912. For 30 years the schooner brought Christmas trees from Northern Michigan and Wisconsin to Chicago. “The Little Blue Book” notes that 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. It was dubbed the “Christmas Tree Ship” and the ship’s captain, Herman Schuenemann, gave trees to poorer residents and was dubbed - Captain Santa. Following the sinking of Rouse Simmons and its cargo of 5,000 trees, the tradition continues. Today, trees grown in northern Michigan are purchased by the Christmas Ship Committee of Chicago. In early December, they navigate Lake Michigan with the assistance of the United States Coast Guard.
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