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Date: April 09, 2002 at 02:21:29
From: Capt. Mike Williams, [user-vc8f7cq.biz.mindspring.com]
Subject: The Sweet Old Delta Queen


It is 6:30pm New Orleans time, and I just returned from a "walkaround" the old Steamer Delta Queen. It is raining, with lots of thunder, a dreary, dark evening here at Robin Street Wharf. I had to hop up onto the bow of the Delta Queen as the river is very high, and the boat is empty of fuel and water, so her gunnel is riding high , about 4 feet above the level of the wharf. I made my way up through the darkened interior, my footsteps echoing off the cardboarded floors. To most folks it would probably be spooky, or a little unnerving, to walk around an old steamboat at night in a thunderstorm, but not me. I have never felt more at home, or more comfortable anywhere on this earth than on this gentle old boat. Her every timber and door welcome me, and I feel great peace just being back aboard her again. I pause to listen, The Delta Queen will tell a listener so much, and I can her her gently rub against the creosote timbers of the wharf, I can hear the rain patter on the outer decks, and I smile to hear that creak in the bulkhead by the piano in the Texas Lounge as she rocks gently against her lines, that creak has been there for years, it's just more pronounced when the boats empty of fuel and water. I pause to softly play a sweet tune on the ole upright piano in the Texas lounge, with memories of Phyllis and happy evenings with friends around us. I wandered back through the silent aft cabin lounge, where I pause and listen, but hear no slamming doors, no hint of any spiritual movement tonight, The Delta Queen is asleep tonight, and dreaming, Dreaming of the moment when she will again be awakened by the first loud crew member to board, shouting to his fellows, and making the happy noise of a boat being brought out of layup and prepared to bring happiness to the river faring folk for yet another season. I realize how truely blessed I have been to be here now, and to have been here for so many moments aboard this beautiful old vessel with so many light-hearted friends. I feel so lucky, because so many of you good folk would love to be where I am right now. But please, don't be envious, for you are here, with us, right now , on The Delta Queen! In spirit, in hope, and in great confidence that the Steamer Delta Queen will soon steam ahead again!


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