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Passenger misbehavior

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    Having worked with them both, I understand that Cap'n Paul was, as I said, "a scrappy little cuss" who could handle himself in a troublesome situation, but not just any "big fellow" can intimidate with size alone and "overwhelm a person". It takes a certain giant of a man, and Wagner was one of those rare individuals of immense size with that capability.

    I'm not a little guy, by any means, at 6'1". I was a muscular 195 pounds in the day, and a beefy 240, now, but at either weight I was not, nor now, big enough to intimidate anyone. I've always been just big enough to have to "prove it" to an adversary. Though I had a burning desire to be a Watchman on the AVALON at ages 17 and 18, but at a skinny 170 pounds, I wasn't the right size, so I was told, to handle a menacing crowd of river-town toughs when they got likker'd up and on the warpath.

    The deck crew on the AVALON, by the way, kept a handy stache of toggle bars and other tools within reach that doubled as weapons for emergency service.


      Size of the Dog ....

      This should settle this:

      "What counts is not the size of the dog in the fight... It is the size of the fight in the dog."
      Dwight D. Eisenhower


        I used to hate gettin into Louisville because "that kid" would always try to sneak on and play the caliope. The skippers were always on my butt to look out for him and I was always thinking of ways to beat him at his own game. Well wouldnt ya know it as Cappy Louden would say "by god he turned out to be a right nice fella". Happy New Year Travis!


          Thanks there Mel! I don't know about the good part...but I turned out!

          Happy New Year to all!


            There was never any question in my mind about "that kid" turning out good, since he never was anything other than good, especially in his persistence at getting his hands on the calliope keyboard. This persistence, of course, only caused him to get better and better and it wasn't long before he could play circles around all of us. I've mentioned before how intrigued I was about the paper bag the young Travis carried with him that contained a portable tape recorder. No doubt after recording his session, he would go home and excitedly play it over and over again - listening, analyzing, dreaming. Folks, this is the stuff of legends.


              LoL Jazzou when I first joined this site about a year and a half ago one of the first things I did was appologize to Travis for all the grief I gave him back in those days. when I look back it was such a cat and mouse game. I remember one time it was middle of the afternoon and we were tied up in Louisville and Gabe told me "I'm gonna take a nap, keep your eyes open, I dont want to be woken up by the Caliope".


                Gabe, of all people! That's funny, Mel, especially because they have that little switch in the Pilot House that can axe the calliope power. I'm certain everyone who has played calliope on any of the boats on a regular basis can relate a horror story of a passenger going berserk because of nappus interruptus. One guy actually tried slamming the keyboard lid on Steve Spracklen's hands. One time during Calliope Capers on the AQ, some lady came storming up from her cabin on the deck below and began to curse me out, not realizing this was a passenger activity. She backed off after everbody started booing her.


                  LOL thats funny Jazzou. Man I hadnt even thought of Steve in like 25 years oh and I ran across a biz card of Mike Illings the other day. Blasts from the past!


                    I have a friend who is an internationally known Theater Organist. I remember him telling me about the time he road the DQ. Seems they were preparing for a landing, no one was around, and he sauntered back to the Calliope--having already observed where the switches, etc. were--and proceeded to play. After a few minutes, he heard an announcement, "Go find out who's playing the @!#@!* Calliope! I need the steam for maneuvering!"
                    He said he quickly slammed the lid, turned off the switch and started sauntering forward. A crew member came racing by, and my friend said, "he went that way!"
                    Maybe this was before the pilot house override switch? It was a long time ago!
                    Names ARE withheld to protect the guilty! (hmm, and my friend is known to "embroider" a story)
                    David D.


                      Originally posted by David Dewey View Post
                      "Go find out who's playing the @!#@!* Calliope!"
                      I've heard that statement several times when we were NOT landing.

                      Sorry, Travis. Couldn't resist. You are allowed one banjo joke in reply.


                      As for passenger misbehavior regarding the calliope. One of my ERB partners, the lovely and talented Leah Burton, was playing the thing at the end of Calliope Capers. Apparently a passenger on the sun deck had heard enough calliope playing and snapped. She charged down the stairs from the pool and proceded to try to physically stop Leah from playing by grabbing her hands.

                      Now, Leah is surely lovely and talented and she is the pesonification of a Southern lady. When abused in this way, however, she becomes the pesonification of an angry freight train. It was not pretty.




                        It's stories like these that make me glad that the keyboards on both the NATCHEZ and the MINNE are away from passengers haha! Also, I would like to say Happy New Year to everyone from sunny (and also unusually cold) New Orleans. may this year be better to steamboatin' than 2009.


                          Originally posted by Alan Bates View Post
                          Compared to the Delta Queen there is a distinct lack of decorum on the Belle of Louisville. Misbehavior by the clientele is almost a daily occurrence there.

                          Usually it is minor mischief but once in a while persons, and even groups, seem to come aboard with malice in mind and heart. It seems to be most prevalent among the well-heeled such as "service" clubs and fraternities. They can be really destructive.

                          Mischief is when a fool decides to jump in the river or a drunk wants to walk the rails like a tightrope or a high school twerp wants to show off for his girl friend and dons a life jacket.

                          Criminality comes in when felons decide to throw furniture, life jackets or each other overboard.

                          One terrifying instance was when a kid decided to jump in the river to save time leaving the boat. We were several yards from the old wharf at Louisville when he did it. He landed in mud, unable to move, while the boat slid on and on. The Belle had worn a path in the river-bottom mud. Once the bow was in that groove she would land herself, so she was not about to slide sidewise into the punk. After landing we dragged him ashore and suggested that he try to improve his brain.
                          Criminality comes in when felons decide to throw furniture, life jackets or each other overboard.
                          This was common Saturday night behavior aboard Str. Admiral back in the early/mid 70's. Under the stewardship of Johnny Carrol, I sometimes was tasked with watching the "brig". The brig was two steel barred cages about the size of a phone booth(remember those?) One crazy night there were 13 boneheads in them and one or two cuffed on the outside. Needless to say, the brig was packed, several guys begging that they need to pee and another was passed out drunk but standing do to the tight confinds and he was puking. Great Times!