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Thread: What I'll Miss

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  1. #1

    Default What I'll Miss

    I tried to post this on the boat and kept getting lost signal. Being a week gone this has only intensified. There is an ongoing question about the Steamboat experience. Is it the boat, is it the crew? I feel it is both.
    I cannot really speak to the people and work of hotel-passenger service. I have never worked these areas. I have the utmost respect for those who do work these areas and do their utmost to make the passengers' trip all it should be. This is often done under less than ideal conditions, dealing with less than charming people.
    What I will miss most is watching a pilot make a landing, under lousy conditions and make it look easy when it wasn't. I will miss seeing the deck hands try to make a quick tie-off in a driving rain and wind, slipping and sliding in the mud or loose rocks. Walking back down the stage, grouching at each other with a look of pride on their faces, swearing they will get off for good next rotation. They don't and won't. I'll miss watching the "Academy Kids" as their classroom training turns to river Learnin'.
    I will miss watching a "green" hand begin to accept how things are done on the boat and begin to be accepted by his fellow crew members as a respected member of the team. I will miss the look on an oiler's face as they begin to really understand what the gauges mean and how it all fits together to make the paddlewheel turn. I'll miss the 100's of ways a Chief or other engineers work to explain it all to the same oiler. I will miss the Delta Queen's tolerance of the mistakes required of that learning, and her response when she has had enough.
    All of this is part of the daily life on board and the GROWTH which each and every crew member goes through, regardless of "green" hand or 15 years aboard.
    I will greatly miss the proud grand old lady who creates the stage that allowed this daily life to go on. I will miss meeting new friends and reconnecting with old, based on our relationship with the boat. Be this crew, passengers, Steamboats. board members, etc.
    It is my hope that I will again have the chance to live this life. If not, at this moment I am many lifetimes richer than one who never got the chance for this experience.
    May our paths cross again and thanks to every person I have met on the boat, regardless of amount of time spent together.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Apr 2006
    Cincinnati, OH


    There are so MANY things I miss, but some of them are not so obvious. Yes, I miss my crew and passenger friends tremendously. I miss the sunrises and sunsets--they are like nowhere else. But I miss the way the sound waves from the whistle go through your heart--you can't get that from a recording. I miss hearing the rattle of the Engine Order Telegraph as you walk through the Betty Blake Lounge. I miss the guys in engineering, griping at me as we get close to Paducah, "Where are our cookies, Mary?" I miss how disconcerting it looks when you are in a bend in the river, walking on an outside deck, and the railing suddenly looks so strange--it doesn't line up right with the banks, and your brain doesn't process it right. I miss seeing some load on a barge, wondering what the heck it is, calling up to the pilot house, and asking Captain Finley to call over to find out what it could be. I miss seeing something WAY cool, and running to announce it to everyone--being so excited about it that it comes out silly! I miss a spontaneous hug from a crew member, just because. I miss going down to the lower engine room, or the bow thruster room, and knowing that the guys are humoring me--they think it's funny that I want to go there, but they don't hurry me; they explain things to me seriously, and they did not laugh at me when I went down there one last time to say goodbye to those spaces. I miss it that the people who worked there GET it that you can fall so in love with each other, and with your job, and with the boat. My friends, don't lose hope. I think of you every day. I, too, am proud to have worked with all of you, and hope to see you again.

  3. #3


    OK, I tried to reply first here...typed with abandon for about half an hour, it was wonderful, an epithany, but I didn't "preview post" at all and when I had written about a bazillion words, I finally hit preview post and *poof* it was gone and I was no longer logged on. Soooo...we'll try again...

    Fred, what I will miss most about the DQ is the crew doing their little things just to make the passenger welcome, to make them feel wanted. You fit the bill, you made my day, as I sat on the tool bench on the bow (now why I was on the bow is beyond me, don't remember) when I heard "you know I've heard things about that New York Smart As- that posts on Dot-Org"...You took a slightly gutsy move that day strictly to try to reach out to me. You didn't have to do that, that and the two hours we spent just chewing the fat about stuff outside the Forward Cabin, starboard side. You went out of your way, that's what I'll miss...Think anybody would get that kind of attention on Carnival or Princess?

    In absolutely no particular order and I'm sure I'm gonna inadvertantly leave out a huge amount of people, this is a small portion of what I will miss...Michael at 4:30 in the morning saying hi to me and chatting for 15 seconds because that is all he could afford in time, but always stopping to say hi. Jazzou with "funf und funfzieg" and "we use the word sphere as it isn't polite to say balls in public" and the passion with which he plays ragtime, and Little Sir Echo. Bob Shaad with "what are the chances?" Mike Gentry with Codfish Ball and him playing the theme to Ken Burns Civil War series, and Rockytop. Bob Stevens with Mardi Gras Mambo and teasing us during sing along . Walt and the boys with Muscat Ramble and playing that, our favorite song, enough times that both me and Deb hear it each cruise. Tony playing Kingdom Coming and Dixie on the Calliope, and him teaching us what Slide is. Annie with baseball trivia and playing Eleanor Rigby on the calliope, and of course her "party". Em with her incredible red dress and hat show. Laura for singing a song during her show while sitting in my lap, scared the bageezus outa me, Deb roared... Pat Taylor with her wonderful smile and that incredible John Hartford music she always had on, and me teasing her that the stateroom number of the day drawing was fixed, who did I need to see to provide some payola and of course her impromptu concerts. Herman our wonderful cabin attendant, and Kenny, too, and Justin before that before he went to Iraq. Popeye Jones and how he always gave Deb a big hug with "Darlin..." And all the wonderful dining room servers and Maitre D's...Red Dog, Mo, Lionel, Al, Travis, Tory, Steven, Ortis and of course Lloyd who always took care of my "Sam's", Darryl who made sure I was as comfortable as possible when I was sick, Denis, Shelby...Jessie, who always goes out of his way to find us and say hi even with a paint brush in his hand, William who is always there, usually as we are getting on board for the first time with a hug for Deb, Capt PT, Capt. Mike Williams, Capt. Gabe, Capt Schultz waiting until a very curious Bruno stuck his head almost under the bell before he rang it very lightly, scared me no end but we laughed for days afterwards, Capt Mike Sweigert, Capt Buddy, his wonderful stories about the MQ and of course his lovely wife Miss Alice, Capt Kenny and of course Capt Finley Fraser. Travis and Mary and Jerry Hay and Jim Williams and of course Toots. And Paul and Jonnena both with huge smiles as I come around the Purser window corner, and them allowing me to vent that Majestic no long accepts DiscoverCard, which I had known for a long time but it had become a game, and we just had to play it. And then there is the bar staff, how they let me chew their ear off...Paulina, Gabby, and god there are so many that were there for such a short time, Tony, Zane, Antonio,...Anna Marie and how happy she always seems to see us, watching her play drums with one drumstick...Pony Keg, and how proud he was to show me that he fixed the outside doors into the Forward Cabin Lounge...

    Anyways, I could go on all night, and that isn't my goal here... my point is that the crew is the thing I will miss most. They all go out of their way to want you The Passenger to be there, to want you to be their friend, to want you to become a part of their "family". The Delta Queen is wonderful, incredible but I doubt if I would want to ride her again without you guys, the crew. I feel the same way about the American Queen...If the crew on either of those boats were foreign and/or contract and/or customer contact was discouraged, I know it would have been a very short ride...

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Apr 2006
    Mile 639 is where I grew up


    Oh my GOSH!!! I can't respond for boohooing AGAIN!!! I thought maybe all the tears had been shed Friday night when I got this wonderful "gift" of a CD from one of our steamboat friends of "river music". Now, I'm wondering if I need professional help!!! It's been just over two weeks since we got off of "HER" in Memphis. But the tears are still so near the surface that when I run into friends and folks ask me about it, the tears spill over. But it's a wonderful disease to have. WE MUST CONTINUE TO FIGHT!!!! SAVE THE DELTA QUEEN!!!!!

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jul 2006
    Northern California above Lake Oroville on "Dewey Mountain"


    I thought Bruno's posting made me loose it, but you'rs really did it! I cannot add to what has been posted here. Augh, can't see to type anymore, mabye later.
    David D.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Apr 2006
    On Flintlock Farm on Gunpowder Road in Boone County, Kentucky


    Bruno: loved your analysis but I think that it goes further. Some people are a commanding presence when they enter a room...something about their appearance and demeanor that makes a real statement without their having said a word...either you've got it or you don't. Well, the DELTA QUEEN's got it in spades! Her shape and physical condition (which I freely admit is a reflection of crew care) tell you something. And, if the caliope doesn't get your feet to movin' that way, the whistle will raise the hair on the back of your neck and arrest your progress where ever you are. This from a guy who's never been exposed to the DQ crew or been on her under way...but hopes to have a chance some day! Cap'n Walnut

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Aug 2008
    Lynchburg Va.

    Default new pictures of the old days

    Hey folks I have posted another album of what I have already missed for years. look at my profile under albums.

  8. #8


    Mel, thanks for another album...any chance you could add some naration to the great pictures for us post 2000 newbies?

    Tom, obviously I agree with you, my friend. The Delta Queen is so extremely unique, I am wrong to say that ALL I'll miss is the crew? You bet. My point was that the crew is single most important part of Deb's and my steamboatin' experience. But obviously there are other aspects that are truly important, additional things I'll miss...and I could go on for ages, from the whistle that never fails to raise the hair on my neck down to the little staterooms that are just so much of the charm. How many times have I hit my head climbing into the upper bunk of a "G", love it each time...the smell of the bowthruster, the vibrations, how the bed shakes underway...I could go on forever...

    I love the DQ...I love the AQ...matter of fact I'm kinda crazy about the MQ, too. My point is that the crew is such a big piece of the puzzle that I wonder, and have stated so before here in the past, if the crew went to another boat, would we all follow? Interesting question, huh? Especially if the boat we all love and know isn't available...

  9. #9


    Maybe we ought to take this 'I'll miss this..." theme a bit further...should we list specific, material things we miss about the boats? And notice that all the Mississippi River boats should be included here. Could be interesting...what the hell, let's include specific crew loves also...

    Just talked to Deb, here's our beginning 10...we'll probably add more later.

    1. the whistle, you can feel it, not just hear it, especially Sundeck Bow. I'm sorry but I'm biased, Capt Finley and Capt Schultz are the pros here at blowing that thing...
    2. The calliope...and it doesn't matter who's playing it. I pride myself that I can figure out pretty much who's playing it from YouTube. You know when Tony does his thing, as does everybody, he starts by warming up all the whistles. He starts playing, basically the same group of songs each time, wonderful...anyways, toward the middle there is a tune he plays that requires the far port side little itty-bitty whistle, by then cooled off. It spits and sputters, raining all and Tony moves on. But the tune comes back to that note, he plays it a second time and it always comes out clear and sweet.
    3. A mug of coffee, Sundeck Starboard, between 4 and 6 AM watching the sun rise and/or watching the fog lift. See my earlier post about Michael...and me making the Forward Cabin Lounge coffee myself at 4:30 AM as fast as possible so I don't get "yelled" at...
    3. The individual staterooms. DQ322 has the shower plumbed backwards. DQ320 and DQ330 have showers with ceilings at 5 feet 8 inches with a shower head that sprays about 6 inches above your butt. Every stateroom is unique and has it's own personality...AQ429 has an incredible river view with the doors open. DQ107 you sleep with your head lower than your feet and hope and pray the night watchman, who's walking over your head at night, hasn't just bought new shoes.
    4. How the Texas liquor bottles clang against each other underway. How the bed in every DQ stateroom shakes while underway...How the bed in AQ429 doesn't wiggle an inch while underway.
    5. How the chandelier at the Grand Staircase boogies with the moves of the boat.
    6. The popcorn smell of the Texas...
    7. Rainbows at the paddlewheel.
    8. the smell and sound of the bowthruster combined with the woosh of the steam capstan.
    9. The Aurora effect, and no I'm not talking about the colored lights...I'm talking about the pre-concert silliness, wonderful stuff...
    10. The smell, how utterly unique, how utterly bed and breakfastish, just like Grandmas...
    11. DQ 119 while underway...thump...thump/thump....thump...thump/thump and then you hear the telegraph...
    12. Hunter Green paint...and me walking on it while it was still sticky...and getting yelled at, but damn, that's my footprint for posterity, at least for a little while.
    13. turlet and burler
    14. Schmutz on the deck, Deb's word for soot. The blue towels, the wicker hampers.
    15. the individual state flags
    16. pea soup fog and waking up to the fog horn and that silly light that goes with it.
    17. trying as only an engineer tries to do, pray for us, to figure out why there are two reds and at least two whites on the light staffs. I know what one of the reds is for, is that a good thing after 9 seasons?
    18. How the AQ can dance! Crab sideways, no problem...Backup and turn at the same time without the bowthruster, piece of cake...
    19. gawd, what a view, I was hooked for life.
    20. Louie, Louie on the MQ's can't imagine how that stroked my psyche...

    I guess I went a bit far, but you get the drift. Really, I would like to hear what floats your boat about the boats...

    Please, bring it on...

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Apr 2006
    Cincinnati, OH


    Ah, Captain Finley on the whistle--this summer on the Cumberland--I was in the Forward Cabin Lounge on a very hot afternoon, and spied a herd of cows, half-in, half-out of the river. I just KNEW he would blow the whistle at them--the only man I know who can MOO at cows! They were a little uneasy to begin with ("What's that thing, anyway?"), but when it mooed at them, they very slowly e-a-s-e-d their way back on to the land. No messing with that big cow!! Cap, you are the best!

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