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Date: August 12, 2002 at 18:43:14
From: Captain Mike, [user-119at1j.biz.mindspring.com]
Subject: The Captains Log


A day of rain, here at the wharf, cloudy, overcast, sullen, I love days like this! I can't explain, but a dark ,rainy day somehow takes me back to different times, almost ancient. I somehow feel connected to the old days! Old days, INDEED! Here we reside on a rugged, yet splendid old river steamboat! Rugged only because she is still in her lay up and splendid because of what she will soon become! Her decks are littered and oily and the dust of months at idle lay at rest, but not for long! Today, several of our splendid officer corp arrived, and they began immediately to clean the galley and the crew quarters, and by the end of the day I had seen dramatic improvement! It is odd, the layup period that I have experienced now for 50 days, with just a skeleton crew, has been rough, but now, with the return of some vital hotel staff there is a whole new feel to the venture. It becomes more intense as we approach the deadlines before us. I dread the final two weeks as much as I welcome them. To bring a vessel through a layup such as this is an intense, almost religious experience, and by god now, at this point, those of us here intend for it to end successfully, with the Delta Queen sailing away from the wharf in pristine condition! The river rain washes the decks with all of it's summer fury, the workers scurry to and from the boat , sheltering under pieces of discarded cardboard, or rain coats fashioned from old garbage bags, and some where, deep down in the # 2 boiler fire box of the oldest overnight passenger steamboat in the country, a boiler maker tamps in some paste around a block of refractory, to insulate the firebox and to prepare the Delta Queen to make fire, and steam, next week. A deckhand, on his own, saw a line on the bow getting limp, and with out the mates instruction, unwraps, strains, and pulls the line tight, and holding with all of his tempestuous might, re wraps the line and halfhitches it off. The reduction in slack means that the boat will surge less from the wakes of passing boats, and the deckhands deed marks him as one who will forever be tied to the river, for he cares, and he has learned. God help him! He will be a mate! then perhaps a pilot, and who knows, A captain! I have just had a feeling like I have been here before!The Delta Queen is soon to awaken!


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