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Old 12-15-2009, 12:35 AM
Shipyard Sam Shipyard Sam is offline
Join Date: Apr 2006
Location: Rabbit Hash, KY and Decatur, Al Shipyards
Posts: 1,160
Default HBD Deborah- 2009

Today, December the 15th, would have been the Fish's 54th birthday. It seems odd that she would have been that old so soon, considering she was just 23 when I first saw her standing by the door to the cabins she attended as a maid on the MISSISSIPPI QUEEN all decked-out in her candy-striped outfit the girls wore on 'leavin' day'. If I hadn't known better, I would have sworn she was 14, but she had to have been at least 18 to work on the boat. The Fish, as I discovered later, had recently graduated with honors from "a small college in Maryland", as she was fond of saying, on a full academic scholarship, and without waiting to collect her diploma, hurried to New Orleans and landed a job on the new steamboat on the Mississippi River.

To say it was love at first sight, would be an understatement, but that's the way it was, and as soon as it happened, and before I actually met her, I began an investigation into finding what I could about the shy, elusive flame-haired beauty, and I was told that she was "different", "loved the water", and was "unique"', so I borrowed a small row boat from the MQ and asked her to take a ride with me on the Yazoo, and she did, and we were, as she once described, inseparable... but for only a couple of years until circumstances separated us for nineteen agonizing years until I found her again through a 'friend-finder' website. We stayed in constant contact until she died on 2 April 2007-- her Mother's, Sara, 90th birthday.

Fish craved adventure. Besides serving on the MQ for four years, she sailed a giant square-rigger back to Europe after the famous "Tall Ships" exhibition in New York harbor; she braved a tropical storm in the Gulf of Mexico that ripped her foul weather gear apart as she stood wheel watch on an open-decked schooner, and delighted in the telling of it; for several years she was a deckhand on a tanker crossing the Atlantic into the Mediterranean and the Baltic Seas until she fell into an open hatch and had to give up working on the ships.

It is still hard to fathom that such a miraculous creature could have been taken all too soon and so quickly, and there isn't a day that goes by that I fail to fondly remember the most nautical person, man or woman, I ever met. She was, I sincerely believe, Neptune's daughter.

Later today I will call Sara and thank her for bringing such a daughter, as Deborah, into the world. And I will count myself as one of the most fortunate persons in the world that I met the Fish aboard the MISSISSIPPI QUEEN and that I shared a very special loving relationship with her.
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