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A Limburger Cheese Birthday

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    A Limburger Cheese Birthday

    The heat here today is similar to that August 4th in Prairie du Chien when I brought limburger cheese back to the DQ for the birthday celebration of the Big E. I'm sure they could smell me coming way back behind the bar the crew frequented there on the island. Louise Feilhauer had commissioned me with this task since she couldn't get into town to buy the stinky stuff herself. That was back when shore stops were 3 or 4 hours, half a day at the most. What I want to know from Shipyard, Bob, Keith, David or other DQ crew: did you all eat that stuff too, or was Capt. Wagner the only partaker? August is certainly an august month for natal days of steamboat captains! This would have been 101 for Capt. Ernest E. Wagner, the Big E.

    #2
    Judy: My answer is a big fat N - O. I would drink a beer though.

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      #3
      Y-E-S. In a sandwich with a slice of onion, it wasn't bad. I guess the 2 toxic elements cancelled each other out.

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        #4
        Lexie,

        You've a much tougher constitution than either Bob or myself! I wouldn't get within a mile of the stuff if I could avoid it. Seems to me that I recall the Big E having one of those classic sandwiches one night in the PH when Albert Kelley was on watch, much to Kelley's discomfort and Cap's obvious delight at seeing ol' Capt. Kelley squirm, although he was careful not to register any protest. Many a night I stood at the foot of those PH stairs at the start of my first round when Capt. Kelley would invariable ask, "If it isn't any trouble, would you bring me back a ham sandwich and a piece of cheeeeeeese." I must have carried a deli-full of those sandwiches up those steps. Ahhh, those were the days!

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          #5
          Sorry I missed celebrating Cap's birthday on the message board with the crew. In honor of his birthday, here's a wonderful portrait of Capt. Wagner on the coal-fired AVALON at Louisville in 1953.

          I remember so well celebrating the Big E's 62nd birthday while the boat was landed overnight at Peoria. Gabe and I went up town to get him a birthday present, and when we returned to the landing that evening there were still maybe a thousand people just standing there gawking at the boat (I think this was her first trip up the Illinois River.) Most of them hadn't been able to board for a "tour" of the boat (this was back in the days when the deck crew offered 25-cent tours of the boat to visitors at our shore stops) because the crowds were just too big. So later that night, Cap had Gabe go back and play the calliope for almost an hour for everyone gathered on shore to make up for having to stop boat tours by suppertime. That's the kind of big heart that the Big Cap had. Sure miss his presence these days.
          Attached Files

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            #6
            good PR = $$$

            And how many trips were booked because of that kind gesture? Today's business models don't include these little things.

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              #7
              Hi, Judy and steamboating colleagues:
              Judy, you brightened my day with the above RE: 'A Limberger Cheese Birthday,' A real classic. I LOVE Limberger cheese, as a fact, on good rye bread, Bermuda onion, touch of mustard. The accompanying beverage? Why a good German beer!

              Seems to me Capt. Ernie Wagner was also quite a fan of fried green tomatoes, right? Seems to me I also heard he once had a nice, big plate of the FGT's and got a roaring case of indigestion. Cheers!

              R. Dale Flick
              Summer - shores of north Lake Michigan.

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                #8
                Sigh! The good ol' daze is long gone. Gone with the Big Cap methinks. Judy, I donno if you noticed but the good ol' Moose Brand limburger is GONE! Haven't seen any in years now. Yeah, you can get some stuff in a red label from Wisconsin but it ain't the same. It was the official cheese of Gunpowder Road...some say that's how the road got its name but that's not so. Still, with enuff onion and enuff beer, it'll still work but the horsepower ain't the same! Cap'n Walnut

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                  #9
                  The boat at Peoria

                  I assume the boat at Peoria of which you speak is the DQ. When was that?

                  That is a great picture, so I saved it. The color has mellowed out to a rich effect, making it look like a painting. Let's see. I was about 6 when that picture was taken. If the Big E was seeing the future, he would be seeing a bunch of rug rats, who would some day be bowled over by him and his various steamboats.

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                    #10
                    I well recall a "bow party" aboard the DQ one night when there was a bounteous supply of that "evil" cheese along with oysters on the half shell. Capt. Wagner was in absolute ecstacy and handed me a small plate of the stuff -- as he slapped me on the back so hard I nearly fell down on the deck and bellowed, "Try this Keith! You'll LOVE it!" I nearly barfed from the odor, but I wasn't about to say no to the Big E, so I obediently took it and hesitantly placed it into my mouth. NO WAY was I going to swallow it! I managed to "disappear" into the group of crew members congregated on the head of the boat, got to the rail and spit it overboard!!!

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                      #11
                      Lexie, the incident at Peoria was on the evening of August 4, 1972, and yes, it was on the DQ. Like you, I have always admired that shot of Big Cap on the AVALON, and we have Mary Bill Bauer to thank for tracking it down for us "rugrats" to enjoy nearly six decades later.

                      Keith, I'm greatly impressed that you were able to navigate that odiferous mass past your nostrils and into your mouth without losing it all right then and there! But as you say, most of us found that we were able to do some things we might not have normally considered possible when in the commanding presence of Capt. Wagner. That's one of the many things I remember and admire most about him. Speaking for myself, here, I think I learned more about myself and about real life in those years on the boat than from any schooling or any of my previous experiences put together.

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                        #12
                        End cut of Prime Rib

                        The limburger cheese and onions I remember were served in the small bar that used to be just off the Grand Saloon. Passengers would enjoy? them also. As for Cap'n Wagner he always had the end cut of prime rib at the Captain's Dinner. He like the "crunchy" and I always ordered the same so I could give him mine too. I had many a dinner with him. He always played the "spoons" at the end before the toast!

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                          #13
                          Captain's Dinner and Capt. Ernie

                          I never had the privilege of working under Capt. Wagner, but I was lucky to have been a passenger on many trips on which he was Master. My first trip, Aug. 20-23, 1973 from St. Louis to Davenport (a Dick Billings special), I was sitting in a lounge chair on the Sundeck stern enjoying having my own private 285 ft. yacht, as everyone else was down at Captain's Dinner. Suddenly there was a huge shadow over me - it was Capt. Wagner in his dress uniform: "What? Aren't you coming down to my dinner?" "Nnno, sir, I'd rather stay up here and enjoy the sunset." A big guffaw and: "So would I, so would I!" Man, I never was so scared in my life and then so suddenly relieved. I did drag myself down later to see my friends get their Vox Calliopus certificates and saw Capt. Wagner play the spoons.
                          Here are the pix from my first missed Captain's Dinner on the DQ 8/22/73
                          1) Capt. Wagner playing spoons(probably Alabama Jubilee). Gabe is on piano, Mom on bass, Vic on banjo, Pop on drums and Pete Eveland on organ. Dick Billings of State Bank of East Moline Travel is seated to the left at the table. On the right in an orange dress is Jeanne Kittrell of St. Louis. She had just finished her Ph.D in English and was a guest performer this trip. She did a history of ragtime/jazz and the song I remember was: If You Don't Want my Peaches, Then Don't Shake My Tree.
                          2) Capt. Wagner posing with my friends Mary Kae and Cheryl. They booked the trip while I was in summer school. They never set foot on the DQ again, and I....
                          3) Capt. Wagner on the wingbridge
                          Attached Files

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                            #14
                            Amen on that last line. My first trip on the DQ was that year: Chattanooga to Mussel Shoals - a life changing 3 days.

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                              #15
                              1973...I will always remember that year at the steamboat race at Louisville. Somewhere I still have pictures I took of the BELLE OF LOUISVILLE and the DELTA QUEEN is that race (with my 126 Kodak Instamatic Camera). They are probably somewhere back home down in the basement in a box with thousands of others I have taken over the years. We were at our adopted Grandmothers (Miss Kathrine Ambrosius) house at 808 Riverside Drive in Jeffersonville, IN. and watched the boats. I remember seeing a vehicle passing by her house in the shape of a Schlitz Beer Can as I climbed back up the hill from the river where I went to watch the boats steam past upbound. The family had dinner on her front porch and I excused myself to run back to the river to watch the boats come back down when I could hear the BELLE's scape pipes in the distance. I think I even passed on dessert so I would be there when the boats arrived. After the race we were sitting on the front porch as the adults talked over coffee and I swore that I would work on one of those boats one day. Now, I have worked on both of them. What a blessed life we have all had because of the DQ and so many other wonderful steamboats!

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