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2009, end of an era.

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Old 01-15-2009, 02:47 AM
Join Date: Apr 2006
Location: Evansville, Indiana
Posts: 131
Default 2009, end of an era.

I've been a member here for several years and usually just lurk and read other's posts, but after reading about the possible move of the Mississippi Queen to Madison as a "floating hotel", I had to write something. I am amazed at the lack of concern about this happening and even some poster's apparent approval. Even in the MQ's current state, I have always seen her as our best hope for continuing as an overnight steamboat. Although the MQ is not the best looking of the three queens (although she has always had a special place in my heart-preferably without the 'trailer court' on the top deck), she is all steel, has many of the modern amenities people look for today, and her size makes her ideal for many of the rivers she runs (not too big, not too small). I guess that I am just so bummed about the thought of 2009 being the first time in my and probably all of our lifetimes that there will be no overnight steamboats on the Mississippi river system.

I have pictures of me in my mother's arms aboard the DQ as a baby. Pictures of me when I was six years old aboard the President when she was being converted from steam to diesel. My dad was pilot on the Julia Belle Swain when she moved from Peoria to LeClaire. I decked on the Mississippi Queen for a year. I've worked on or around every excursion boat in the Quad Cities. I worked on the Diamond and Emerald Ladies in Iowa, the Par-a-dice (Golden Lady) in Peoria, and City of Evansville in Indiana. I've worked on harbor boats in Mt.Vernon, and Evansville, Indiana. I've been to Tall Stacks four times as Captain on various boats and Piloted the LST-325 on her annual trips for the past three years. For the past year and a half I've been working on a 5000 hp line boat running the upper Mississippi and Ohio rivers. The only reason I'm listing all these jobs is that I did them with one goal in mind...being pilot aboard the Delta and/or Mississippi Queen.

Being only thirty-seven years old, I've not experienced the changes in my life that many of you on this board have, but the past few years have seen so many. Some of my favorite boats have all but dissappeared, the Diamond Lady is rusting away in Memphis, the Par-a-dice was chopped down to the hull and shipped overseas, the President no longer exists as a boat for all intents and purposes and the Admiral will probably follow soon. And now the DQ and MQ are gone, without some sort of divine intervention.

Ever since I was a kid, I loved the song "In my life" by the Beatles. One line in the song seems so fitting now..."There are places I remember all my life, though some have changed, some forever not for better, some have gone and some remain. All these places had there moments, with lovers and friends, I still can recall. Some are dead and some are living, in my life, I loved them all."

I'm not exactly sure what the point of this thread is, I'm sitting in the pilothouse at mile 98 on the upper waiting for barges to load and was bored and decided to write. I guess I just hope for all of our sakes that things somehow improve and that 2009 is not the end of the steamboatin' era.

On a lighter note, I wanted to say "Hi" to Judy Patsch. Apparently you and my mom (Jean) are bingo buddies. With that I'll leave you with a toast I remember hearing on the DQ...Here's to you all and I want you to know that my sentiments are honest and your hearts be as light and your days be as bright as the spray from a big ol' paddlewheel.
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