Yes mam, the bell is still solid and ringing true because we occasionally ring it for the tourists on board. One day, I said: when I get the tour on the bow, go ring the bell....I forgot how LOUD it the next time, I made sure that my group was far away from the bow when we rang the bell...

The lovely crystal lamp still sits on it's table in the Betty Blake Library.

I know how fortunate I am to be on the boat. For those passengers that were on board when I brought my book I created on board, you may know my story. I have 2 books I self-published about my time on the DQ and a 3rd book that is dedicated to the crew. It was a great way to do something to remember my time on board, and to showcase some great photos, and as a labor of love, I just left them to be purchased from the website at the publishing cost.

So for those who don't know my story, here is a little snippet of an email I sent back to Pat Carr when we were talking about the Majestic Showboat in Cincinatti and her past with that old boat.

Funny, I never thought that my life would revolve around a steamboat. I had open heart surgery 3 years ago to fix an aneurysm that had caused my aortic valve to go bad, and my heart to enlarge. After the surgery, everything went back to normal except that I knew I had been given a second chance at life.

I knew I wanted to do something different with my life, but not be away from home for months at a time because of wanting to be a part of my grandchildren's lives. They are 3 and 2 and I wanted to be more than a picture on the wall. All I could remember about riverboats was the Delta Queen, and they interviewed me in February and it was June before I heard from them again. When they offered me the position I wanted as tour manager, even though it started out as gift shop relief too, I was thrilled, but it took a layoff between 2007 and 2008 for me to realize how much she had gotten into my blood.

I walked onto the boat in 2008 knowing that it would be a fantastic year, and that I was going to enjoy every moment of that season so that if it was the end, I would know that I got as much joy as possible out of my time on the boat. And it worked, and I did. I met so many wonderful people, on the boat, and in all the little river towns.

Now, I'm kind of the "officer" on board as far as the Coast Guard is concerned because of my TWIC and MMD, both mariner ID's and my safety training. I learned so much about that boat and her operation by hanging out with the navigation staff and the engineers, and I do watch over the boat. Plus, I can call those same friends and ask questions too.

There is so much to do getting the hotel and resturant open, and I really like being involved from the ground up. In addition to being the historian, and guest relations, and tour guide, I'm also doing the bookkeeping, so it's a great opportunity for me to keep learning.

I moved to TN because my daughter's family moved to the Nashville area a couple of years ago. I'll bet I sent out a hundred resumes applying for jobs I did not want, and when the DQ came to Chattanooga, it was like the reason I could not find a job was because I was supposed to be back on that boat, and with my accounting and administrative background, I could fit into the boat in a new way, but also bring my knowledge from my time on the river and my love of the boat. Funny how things work out....