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Date: August 07, 2002 at 16:02:17
From: Captain Mike, [user-119at1j.biz.mindspring.com]
Subject: The Captains Log


Shipyards are surreal places to me, and to see the Steamer Delta Queen high out of the water is strange, impressive but strange. Already I feel her uneasiness,like a grandparent in an elder care facility, asking the kids, when can we leave? Today at 6:30 am, I noticed a 3/4 degree list to port, and thought, my that's odd! We are listing and we are not even in the water! I soon contacted the dry dock foreman, (who seemed to be a bit annoyed) and inquired as to why the dry dock was listing. He explained, Well, Mike, it's because we have a huge sump tank that is collecting rain water down at the end of the dry dock, and it's getting full, and making the dock list a little". Well, I'm not sorry for asking, even if it sounds foolish, because I was on the Delta Queen in a smaller drydock at the same ship yard in 1983, when at about 2 am in the morning, the drydock began to sink by itself! An alert watchman noticed the rapidly increasing lean and called for assistance just in time, I won't tell you the name of the watchman, but it was me! Hey folks, I learn from my teacher, the river, and I don't forget! And when the guys today told me not to worry, I looked at them and said, "What? don't worry? This is my boat, and I will tell you when I will worry about it!" Apparrently, they were surprised that someone aboard would notice such "little" things! You bet your ass we do! The folks at Avondale actually do a fine job, and are at the top of their craft. But the Delta Queen belongs to you and I, and we shall not forsake that trust. Here she sits, this mirror of the past, dwarfed bow and stern by close tied, goliath Navy ships. Dwarfed by their close presence but unintimidated, she shrugs off their size like a grandmother chiding a recalcitrant child!
Today a couple of yard workers, tank repairmen, approached me and said, " Captain Mike, could we speak with you for a moment, please?'" A little surprised at their seemingly solemn request, I paused and said, "Of course". The tall older fellow spoke first. " We saw a tv show about a ghost on this boat, and, we were just wondering what it was all about." Looking closely at their demeanor, I knew immediately that they were quite serious. I responded in the best way I could. " Yes, there is a spirit aboard, that of a gentle and graceful old woman, she means no harm, but she's a little stern at times. So, if you are welding late at night down in the tanks on the Delta Queen, and you look up and see an old, beautiful lady with penetrating eyes staring at you, don't be afraid, she's not there to frighten you, she's watching out for you and protecting as you repair and protect her home." Surely there is no greater reward aboard than to have "a visit" even the most brief, indeed, it is a blessing. The two fellows proceeded to rig their lights and welding gear down to the tanks, and each morning, I see them before they get off of the late shift, and I say, "Well?" They report, "nothing so far", but Gideon, one of the welders, said, "Captain, I aint seen her, but I feel better knowing she's lookin' out for us while we fix her boat." Amen, brother, Amen!


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