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Old 10-05-2006, 12:07 AM
Judy Patsch Judy Patsch is offline
Join Date: Apr 2006
Location: Rock Island, Illinois mile 480 UMR
Posts: 3,865
Default Day 3 Tall Stacks

The MAGNOLIA BELLE is tied up upriver from Cincy on the Kentucky side, obviously not a part of TS. In fact, Franz and Carmen were to ride her tonight but they got switched to the NATCHEZ afternoon harbor trip. What an official first day! Ken and I made the WalMart run and got back in time to watch the NATCHEZ and BELLE land...of all days, I left my camera in the motel. I zipped over to the BELLE to briefly greet Hotfingers Prater and Lil Smith. They were driven along the wharf by golf cart, probably the slowest Hotfingers has moved all week. They'll be on the NATCHEZ Thursday. Tom Schiffer and Sharon Cunningham rode an early cruise, and the afternoon harbor trip carried in addition to our webmeisters, Ann Zeiger, Barb Hameister, Noftzgers, Hindmans. True steamboaters, they assisted in picking up the dishes and pieces thereof which went crashing to the deck when a serving table collapsed near them. Amazingly only about 10 plates broke. Capt. Sister Joy Manthey breezed onto the boat between trips. She's port captain operations, assisting the boats in and out of their docks. The dinner cruise had Chief Chris Wirtjes, Ann and Barb, and Capt. Pete and Evie O'Connell ex-BELLE aboard. Capt. Pete favored us with his wonderful handmade monkeyfist keychains, and fortunately there were a few cookie crumbs left for him to sample. Severe storms were forecast for this evening, but we lucked out and missed them. Actually Evie saved us by purchasing 3 rain ponchos before the cruise started. She knew that would keep the rain away, and it did! I'm not sure what the total number of crew is on the NATCHEZ, but the food and beverage is largely staffed by casual labor from the Cincy area, while regular crew (and a couple of strays like Dan and I) man the rest of the boat. Looking at some of the temps hauling stuff up the stairs to the Texas bar/serving area, I suspect a few won't return tomorrow. Working on a boat is NOT the same as on land. I mentioned the goose bumps the other night when the BELLE glided by and gave us a whistle salute... well, today it was tears of joy: I looked out the Gift Shop door before our morning harbor cruise began, and it was nothing but a sea of humanity on deck, shoulder to shoulder - people everywhere. I called my coworkers over to look, and their eyes lit up too - the NATCHEZ had truly come back to life! We had 1164 passengers on that cruise(1100 it seemed were schoolkids, maybe really only 1000 of them). What a joyous moment to see that mass of people out there on deck. We saw many of the older kids in the shop, as one bought a pair of sunglasses and soon all the classmates came in for the same. We probably sold 75 pair that trip, and none the rest of the day! For the day we carried 2616 pax - and Debbie appropriately played each cruise, I Ain't Down Yet! Yes siree, the NATCHEZ never left, but she is really really 'back'. Thanks Cincy and environs and all you steamboaters for your support! ....we've got just under 15,000 pewter hat pins left - reserve yours before they run out!!!! 8 hours before the next 'showtime', so time for some zzzzzzzzzzz....

Last edited by Judy Patsch; 10-14-2006 at 06:40 PM.
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