Christmas Tree Ship 2012

Ooooh myyyy, as George Takei would say, it’s Wednesday already. Have you got your shopping done? Are you shopping? Do you have a list and are you checking it twice or three times if you have real bad memory cells? I’m not even close to being any where near even thinking about Christmas. I think our tree is in the closet upstairs in the apartment rather than in the basement, but I’m not completely sure. When the kids were little we used to go down to Half Moon Bay to chop down our tree, tie it to the roof of the car and schlep it all the way back over Devil’s Slide to Pacifica. I miss those times. This year, like last, we have a “Target” tree and will set it up soon…soon that is when I can locate it. It doesn’t have the smell of the Half Moon Bay kind of tree, but as the Irish say “It’ll do.” Speaking of Half Moon Bay, doesn’t that sound like someone got a butt-ectomy on only one cheek so instead of “mooning” someone they would half-moon them. Sorry if I left you with an uncomfortable image in your head. Speaking of images and trees…

Fun Fact For Today-For nearly 30 years a schooner called the Rouse Simmons brought Christmas trees from northern Michigan and Wisconsin to the city of Chicago. The ship would arrive in December all decked out in Christmas lights and everyone was invited to come on board to buy their trees, wreaths and garlands to decorate their homes. It became known as the “Christmas Tree Ship.”  The Captain, Herman Schuenemann often gave away trees to the city’s poorer residents. He came to be called Captain Santa . However on November 23, 1912 with a cargo of 5,000 trees the Rouse Simmons sank during a gale on the lake. The tradition, however continues to this day with the Christmas Ship Committee of Chicago. Now, the trees travel on Lake Michigan thanks to the U.S. Coast Guard. Cool story don’t you think?

It’s all about giving, not taking. I know you’ve heard this a million times before, but I really do wish the Christmas spirit would permeate the rest of the year.

The reading from today comes from Matthew (15:29-37)

He ordered the crowd to sit down on the ground.
Then he took the seven loaves and the fish,
gave thanks, broke the loaves,
and gave them to the disciples, who in turn gave them to the crowds.
They all ate and were satisfied.
They picked up the fragments left over–seven baskets full.

This is the great story of the loaves and fishes and the bunch of people who really did get a free lunch. Giving. Our generosity as a country is legendary and also in doubt as we move forward with the budget talks. Those who think the U.S.A. is a corporation are missing the point. We are a family who need to take care of and care for each other. After the housing bubble burst and we wound up on El Camino Real in Menlo Park, I can safely say we are not wealthy, but that doesn’t mean we don’t help out where and when we can. You and I are part of the larger family that is the U.S. (‘us’ – get it?) and you and I both know the deficit is not the problem short term, jobs and self sufficiency is. Those in our family who are marginalized or hurting or old should not be the bad guys in this story. The table is set for everyone. Grinchs need not apply right now. OK, so we have only 7 loaves and a “few fish” let’s set it out and have a banquet and invite some people we have seen but don’t know. Oh, and don’t forget to turn off Fox News…

and so it goes…