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    Default The End of an Era- A Queen with no passengers

    http://www.commercialappeal.com/2008...up-passengers/

    Because the steamboat Delta Queen is losing her exemption for wooden hulled vessels to carry passengers overnight,today she is leaving Memphis for winter layup in New Orleans with no passengers aboard.
    The hull has been checked and upgraded to a steel hull but the superstructure is still wood.There are sprinklers installed and a roving firewatch is set 24/7.
    The boat is no less dangerous than any of our ski and fishing boats are when we are using them after sunset.
    Having worked on the Mississippi River for over 10 years as a deckhand,a tankerman and a master of 100 ton vessels on the Western rivers,I call it an outrage when such a historical vessel is not "allowed" to ply the inland waterways.
    My favorite personal story about the Delta Queen comes from my early days living in Paducah Kentucky in 1998.I was working for a refueling concern there and as yet still hadn't drawn a full paycheck from the company.
    On this cool cloudy October morning,I was making an approach to the port side of the Queen to refuel them for their trip down the Ohio River.
    While the deckhand/tankerman was securing the lines and the pilot I was under instruction to was critiquing my steering,we heard some awful words being spoken on the Delta Queen's forecastle.My thought was"Hey,watch your language.We got towboaters that can hear you!"
    As we went about the business of preparing the paperwork and fuel hoses for transferring 10,000 gallons of #2 Diesel fuel,we learned that the majority of passengers had opted for breakfast ashore but no one in the purser's office had bothered to tell the steward's department.Henceforth,they had whomped up breakfast for all crew members and passengers.When they had learned about the choices made that morning,they got some upset.
    So when we came alongside,after calming down from the shouting match,they saw an opportunity to avoid wasting food by giving us some of their leftovers.
    When the offer was made,on the MV Frances Stevens,we all thought it was the usual offering,as in a baggie of biscuits,some sausage and maybe bacon to go along with it.
    Nope.
    When we accepted,the stewards started carrying out entire trays of waffles,pancakes,sausage,biscuits,ham,bacon toast and asking us "How y'all want your aigs?Do you want coffee,orange juice or milk?"
    Though I was just the steersman until they cut me loose with a towboat out of sight from the office,I eagerly accepted on behalf of the crew.It was the best command decision I ever usurped as I have metnioned earlier,I hadn't drawn a check yet and was living off the leftovers of a $400 advance to get a roof over my head until I'd gone the two pay periods(1 month) before drawing pay.I was a bit hungry.
    We ate our fill and still they wanted us to take some more for the next crew to come on.Though that was in another 12 hours,we accepted and took as much as they wanted to give us.
    You don't see that in most industries but riverboats will feed the crew of a towboat that helps them whether it's refuelling them,helping them get off ground after hitting a sandbar,or even giving them a newspaper after they haven't seen one for days will garner an offer of drinks or leftovers so the cook doesn't waste them.
    Last edited by doughesson; 11-03-2008 at 02:32 PM.

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    T'is always a sad day when politics and such like get in the way of something as majestic and classical as a Riverboat. Although I've only ever seen the one that used to work on the Glenmore Resevoir, at Heritage Park in Calgary. I tried to find out more just now, but apprently it "doesn't" anymore. Or else I've not got the right search question?

    In any case, the loss of any ship, for any reason is always a sad thing.
    =====

    Ed. HAHAHAA on me. I found the park map, which indicates the ticket booth and wharf for the SS Moyie. Apparently she is a small scale replica (I had no idea) of the real SS Moyie, which is the SS Moyie National Historic Site, the world's oldest intact passenger sternwheeler, located in the town of Kaslo, British Columbia, Canada.

    Doug, you may have a dispute with that last claim, but this is what the link reads.
    Last edited by MalahatTwo7; 10-31-2008 at 02:09 PM.

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    Doug, I agree. (I know, scary thought) My wife and I have (or maybe had)the perfect Vacation all planned out - Amtrak to New Orleans, a Riverboat to Pittsburgh, and Amtrak back home. Two Weeks and $9,600.00 would do it. alas, we've never gotten around to to it.
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    Quote Originally Posted by hwoods View Post
    Doug, I agree. (I know, scary thought) My wife and I have (or maybe had)the perfect Vacation all planned out - Amtrak to New Orleans, a Riverboat to Pittsburgh, and Amtrak back home. Two Weeks and $9,600.00 would do it. alas, we've never gotten around to to it.
    THAT! Would be a cool trip.

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    Y'all still can. http://www.majesticamericaline.com/ takes you to the website for cruises with the American and Mississippi Queens.
    http://www.riverbarge.com will get you onto the Riverbarge Explorer.It's a couple barges pushed by a towboat with Z drives but it does give you a river experience.There's a section in the lead barge set up with pilot house chairs and radios monitoring Channels 13 and 16 so you can see what the pilot and Captain do to get around the bend.
    I've only been aboard to collect payment for the shuttles we ran in Paducah but that is one nice boat.As the puff piece in the Waterways Journal said,the only way to get closer to the riverman experience is to pick up a paintbrush and work for the ride.
    I've seen her running as late as November so maybe you'll have to wait until the Spring.The fall cruises with the foiliage changing colors are something else.
    There was another one called the RV Explorer where people could park their RVs on the barge and get hooked up to their water and power.You'd have to supply your own food and comestibles but they do have pet facilities.I'm not sure if it's still running,though.
    As I said,I've only rode the river as a crewman,not as a paying passenger so the experience would be different for me.
    Friday evening,I was down at Greenbelt Park on Mud Island watching the American Queen get refuelled and passengers boarded for going down river.I was also explaining to a lot of people about the difference between the Delta Queen and the American Queen.
    They both ran emergency drills,even though the DQ had only crew on board and as the sun was sinking over Arkansas,they pulled back from the bank,blew their whistles and turned down river with their calliopes playing a duet.
    Even that sent chills down my spine.I always said that if I was fogbound and heard a steamboat's whistle signalling their presence and that did not make me shiver,THAT was when I was going to just quit the river and never come back.
    I've quit a few times,decked a port captain once when I quit and got rehired in the spring but haven't gotten over working out there yet.I've done lots of jobs but always seem to want to be on the river throwing lines,dragging hoses or running the boat.Obviously,it's not all I know but it's what I do best.



    Quote Originally Posted by hwoods View Post
    Doug, I agree. (I know, scary thought) My wife and I have (or maybe had)the perfect Vacation all planned out - Amtrak to New Orleans, a Riverboat to Pittsburgh, and Amtrak back home. Two Weeks and $9,600.00 would do it. alas, we've never gotten around to to it.
    Last edited by doughesson; 11-03-2008 at 02:34 PM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by doughesson View Post
    Friday evening,I was down at Greenbelt Park on Mud Island watching the American Queen get refuelled and passengers boarded for going down river.I was also explaining to a lot of people about the difference between the Delta Queen and the American Queen.
    They both ran emergency drills,even though the DQ had only crew on board and as the sun was sinking over Arkansas,they pulled back from the bank,blew their whistles and turned down river with their calliopes playing a duet.
    Even that sent chills down my spine.I always said that if I was fogbound and heard a steamboat's whistle signalling their presence and that did not make me shiver,THAT was when I was going to just quit the river and never come back.
    I've quit a few times,decked a port captain once when I quit and got rehired in the spring but haven't gotten over working out there yet.I've done lots of jobs but always seem to want to be on the river throwing lines,dragging hoses or running the boat.Obviously,it's not all I know but it's what I do best.
    Thanks Doug. That pretty well sums it up for me and Fire Engines as well......
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    I've quit a few times,decked a port captain once when I quit and got rehired in the spring but haven't gotten over working out there yet.I've done lots of jobs but always seem to want to be on the river throwing lines,dragging hoses or running the boat.Obviously,it's not all I know but it's what I do best.
    A Sailor is A Sailor is A Sailor. Either you are or you are not. If you are, then you're one for Life. If not, then probably you never will be. Its a special person who can become a Sailor. Kinda like being a trucker but with a great deal many more places to play....
    If you don't do it RIGHT today, when will you have time to do it over? (Hall of Fame basketball player/coach John Wooden)

    "I may be slow, but my work is poor." Chief Dave Balding, MVFD

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    Well,it's been said that if you wear out a pair of steel toed work boots,you'll never leave the river as a line of work.
    I don't know about that but in talking with a cowboy friend of mine,there's a lot of similarities in towboating and ranching.One of the main parts is where the boss pays you just enough to keep you around hoping there'll be more.
    You also have to work in all kinds of weather irregardless of it being day or night,working hours can be from midnight to when the job's damn well done and if you threaten to quit,the boss just laughs at you.
    The food can be good or it can be the worst thing you ever smelled driving down a country road.If you've ever seen the movie 'Monte Walsh',you'll understand.
    "Guaranteed hospitalization" can be just that.It is almost guaranteed that at some point,you will need to go to a hospital.If you work on the river and don't know anyone who's been seriously hurt,you don't have much experience.I know guys like "Three Fingers Roy","Burns Gilbert" and"Stumpy Stimson"(he isn't called that due to his height).
    A guy I once knew decided he was going to quit the river so he took a picture of the last towboat he worked on.He swore that he was going to flash that photo at each gas stop as he drove away from river towns and whereever he was that someone asked "What's that?" he was going to settle down there.
    He went up the hill to gas up first and flashed that picture of a towboat at the cashier.And that is why he moved into a house just off President's Island here in Memphis.Barely made it a mile from where my grocery boat dropped him off at the dock.
    That's sad.

    Quote Originally Posted by MalahatTwo7 View Post
    A Sailor is A Sailor is A Sailor. Either you are or you are not. If you are, then you're one for Life. If not, then probably you never will be. Its a special person who can become a Sailor. Kinda like being a trucker but with a great deal many more places to play....
    Last edited by doughesson; 11-04-2008 at 04:37 PM.

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    When I was with the Regiment we haqd an officer (he just retired as a Col last year) what was "introduced" to me as "Sparky".

    He was a Lt at the time. There was something about a barn full of hay and an arctic candle............. I noted he had the scars from 2nd and 3rd degree burns on his hands and arms......

    I'm also well acquainted with the "good food/bad food" while at sea too. Although "bad" cooks don't last long on a ship.
    If you don't do it RIGHT today, when will you have time to do it over? (Hall of Fame basketball player/coach John Wooden)

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    Get it up. Get it on. Get it done!

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    Quote Originally Posted by MalahatTwo7 View Post
    I'm also well acquainted with the "good food/bad food" while at sea too. Although "bad" cooks don't last long on a ship.
    Wanna bet?In 1990 before I stopped riding line haul towboats,we were waiting our turn to lock through at Quincy Illinois and we got some visitors from another company boat.
    They had come through 30 degree weather in the rain because the cook on their boat wasn't up to snuff.As they put it to our cook:"Evelyn,please cook our eggs for us."
    Anyway,a year ago,I happened to run into one of those guys and he said that cook was still on the river and had stayed when the company we had worked for was bought out.I don't know if he has improved in 18 years.
    Having said that,there are 3 people on a line haul towboat that you don't want to make mad.
    You can make the Mate and Lead Deckhand mad all you want.All they can do to you is work you to death and after your six hours off watch,you're good to go again.Get up and go check those wires.He's got a chore list longer than his rap sheet for you.
    You don't want to irritate the Captain.He controls the "official" communications between the boat and the company office.In these times of cell phones anyone can end run around him and call the office,but official requests from the crew for time off still have to be run through the wheelhouse.
    Make the Captain mad enough and he'll just say"Dang it Doug,I forgot to send your RTO(Request for Time Off) into the office.Soon's I finish my dinner,I'll go tell Johnny(the pilot) to send it in on the afternoon traffic."
    No he's not.When he finishes eating,he's only going upstairs as far as his cabin to do paperwork or sleep since he works so hard on the forward watch(0600-1200,1800-2400).
    You don't get off the boat until you stop shortsheeting his bed and putting pink bedding on it and he says so.I knew a guy that rode the MV Jim Ludwig for 100 days before the company MADE the Captain let him go home.I rode that boat twice.I rode my first 30 days and he was already aboard,went home with him holding the ladder as I climbed down to the riverbank and went up the hill,came back after thirty days off and he was STILL there wanting to get the H off when I left the second time.
    You don't want to pixx off the engineers.In the Summer,they know how to cut the air conditioning to your cabin during your off watch time and leave the rest of the boat comfortably cooled.
    In the Winter,you won't get enough heat to your room and the hot water system will mysteriously go down just when you want to take a shower.
    Make the cook mad?As Rex Linn said in "Monte Walsh": 'Hell you know better than that.'
    This crew member is usually a woman old enough to bring pictures of her Grandchildren for her hitch on the boat.Would you want someone making YOUR Grandmother mad or cry?
    If you do,and survive the wrath of your crewmates,you WILL get the burnt portions of meals,you WILL get served last and you WILL get the smallest portions.
    If you make her mad enough,you won't get to eat with the rest of the crew and instead have to wait until she clears out of the galley to get into the fridge and eat cold cuts for the rest of your hitch.
    Oh,did you know that suddenly there will be a lock on ALL refrigerators in the galley and not just the ones for longer term storage of food?
    Go ahead.Make the cook mad.I dare ya.
    Last edited by doughesson; 11-07-2008 at 03:08 PM.

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    Hehehehe. I didn't say "Make Cook Mad", I just said a bad cook does not usually last long on a ship - as in he/she gets transferred off pretty quick. And yes, on a warship, just like any other "ship", the Cook, the Purser (Supply Chief) and the Pay Master are not ones you want to overly upset. All for the afore mentioned reasons.

    On the bigger rigs, the Coxn and the Chief Bosn are a couple others who's feathers are often best left unruffled too. {not that I've ever done THAT to either of them OR the Engieer Chief.....well... ok. Not UNintentionally, at least. maybe once or twice for a purpose though... }

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    Quote Originally Posted by MalahatTwo7 View Post
    Hehehehe. I didn't say "Make Cook Mad", I just said a bad cook does not usually last long on a ship - as in he/she gets transferred off pretty quick.
    The Good Lord provides the food and the Devil send the cook.

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    Default This ain't right!

    Even though some ships have done well after serving as passenger vessels and then got refurbished into hotels,I do NOT think that this is a fitting end for such a storied vessel.
    I'd rather see her steaming on with an annually renewed waiver than tied permanently to the bank growing moss.

    http://www.commercialappeal.com/news...l-chattanooga/

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    Company owner Harry Phillips, a licensed boat captain and former banker, said he is committed to historic preservation and the Delta Queen will be cared for accordingly until it can be returned to open water. He said the boat's safety equipment exceeds that of many hotels.

    "We're going to take good care of her," he added.
    So I wonder what he is going to do to ensure the "Delta Queen will be cared for accordingly" means. Is he going to spend the 100's of K's it will take to ensure her continued seaworthiness? Bet that dont last too long, as it would not be fiscally sound, and his business partners will start squalling soon enough about the output of money, with limited returns. The hotel earnings not withstanding.

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    There was a recent Waterways Journal piece about some folks who'd purchased a locally famous riverboat and actually moved it to a private dock by using houseboats and straps for the move instead of hiring a tug to make the move.
    After the new owners had finished dredging out their own graving dock and closing it,the area suffered a flood that sank the boat and ruined the area for finishing the rebuild.
    The folks wanting to buy the DQ seem to have the opinion that all they have to do is keep the water out and not have to worry about freshwater electrolysis decomposing the hull as she sits still in Chattanooga.
    There is an axiom among the river industry that "Boats are just like women.The initial price isn't too bad but the jewelry is a bear to keep up:,'jewelry' being the upkeep and equipment needed to keep her looking as good as the day you got her.

    Quote Originally Posted by MalahatTwo7 View Post
    So I wonder what he is going to do to ensure the "Delta Queen will be cared for accordingly" means. Is he going to spend the 100's of K's it will take to ensure her continued seaworthiness? Bet that dont last too long, as it would not be fiscally sound, and his business partners will start squalling soon enough about the output of money, with limited returns. The hotel earnings not withstanding.
    Last edited by doughesson; 02-04-2009 at 01:53 PM.

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    Default Home Away From Home

    This is an article from the Waterways Journal March 23,2009 issue authored by Alan L. Bates. All I can say is the more things change,the more they stay the same.Though women are being hired for deckhands,their usual post aboard a towboat is to cook and be the boat's Mom.You do your own laundry because if you ask her to do it,you might as well pack your bags.She won't feed you and none of your crewmates will slip you anything or help you get into the locked fridges.

    "A vital part of every steamboat crew is the provision of creature comforts for the officers and crew.Nothing will destroy morale aboard quicker than the engagement of a bad cook and no civilized person wants to sleep on dirty linen.
    We decked on a steam towboat in 1942.The Captain hired a chef from a prominent hotel,thinking that he was a cook.Actually,he had hired a dessert chef who could whip out puddings and pies galore but when faced by a barrel of potatoes,he failed.A hundred and thirty-four miles later,he was carrying his suitcase up the hill to a railroad station as the Captain complained 'I ain't never seen a skinny cook that was any good.'
    He was replaced by two unlimited tonnage ladies and life became easier aboard.They walked into the cookhouse and started snapping beans and opening cans as if they had been born there.
    In the crew roster,one of them was carried as the cook,the other as the chambermaid.Both ladies worked in kitchen and laundry,probably to keep each other company as the only females aboard.Life for all from Captain to coal passer immediately improved.
    They had a set of unwritten and unspoken rules and enforced them rigidly.
    They washed the sheets and the pillowcases.They washed the crew's underwear(nobody called it "lingerie") and the licensed people's shirts.The greasy stained jackets and pants of the deck crew and the firemen were excluded.Those articles went unwashed until even the deckhands couldn't stand them. (Doug:Lord,I wish he was making that part up)
    When that happened,a washtub was set up in the deckroom and partially filled with clean water.A factory sized block of yellow Werk's Tag Soap was whittled into chips and cast in the water.Everybody dumped their work clothing into the tub and a steam hose was run from the engineroom,inserted into the mess and eased open.In jig-time the water was boiling away the detritus of a couple weeks' worth of labor.In a little while,broomsticks were used to lift the cleaned garments from the tub,and after a mandatory cooling period,they were hung up to dry."Overhauls"(sic)with metal buttons survived the treatment very well,but garments with Bakelite or plastic buttons came out with the fastenings curled into balls or completely melted away.
    It was late fall on that trip and the staterooms were chilly to say the least.Each berth had a sheet and two army blankets.We soon learned to slip between the blankets to be kept warm from both below and above.Like young workmen everywhere,we had little trouble falling asleep.
    We had four meals per day immediately before going on or after coming off watch.Breakfast was served at 5:30 and consisted of an imposing variety of foods,all calculated to horrify a dietician.Fresh baked biscuits,pancake or potato cakes fried from last night's mashed spuds,jellies and jams and bacon or ham with eggs fried into submission were all available.
    Dinner came at 11:30 for the oncoming watch.This was a real meat and potatoes meal.A rack of condiments stood in the middle of the table surrounded by fruit and cake for dessert.Supper was a duplicate of dinner,served at 5:30.
    Breads were home baked.At the midnight watch-change,the crew was on its own.The ladies left a table with breads and lunch meats,maybe some cheese,and if we were lucky,some doughnuts.Everybody ate rapidly,for it was impolite to delay those coming off watch.
    Coffee was on tap at all times.Coffee was cooked and stored in half-gallon pots.A smaller pot nearby contained chicory,an additive those from southern climes demanded.It was the duty of the deckhand to learn the preferred mixture for the pilot on his watch,for a whoop of the whistle could order it at any time."
    Last edited by doughesson; 03-27-2009 at 04:09 PM.

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    Amen to that article Doug. Having been a army field geek and a sailor, I can attest to the "need a good cook on a long cruise" bit. There might be bad cooks in the army, but they DO NOT last long on a ship. However, the comment about "skinny cooks" is only 1/2 true. I have known one or two "unlimited tonnage ladies" types in the navy who could not cook worth the weight of their clothes, but when they went in as Baker...... that was something to contend with!
    If you don't do it RIGHT today, when will you have time to do it over? (Hall of Fame basketball player/coach John Wooden)

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    Get it up. Get it on. Get it done!

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    In May of 1989,I caught my first line haul towboat the MV Dick Conerly(now running as the MV Martha Ingram) in New Orleans on a Saturday and while dragging my seabag through the galley to my bunkroom,the cook stopped me and told me that "Tommy(the guy I replaced on the boat) ate your steak before you arrived but you can still have hamburger for supper."Now next week,when do you want your steak,dinner or suppertime?" because most cooks will try to save the company money and only allow one steak per crew member on Saturday known up and down the river as "Steak day".
    I always picked suppertime for the steak since I usually rode as call man which on the Lower Mississippi pulls a straight 12 hour watch and then is off for 12 instead of the usual 6 hours on watch and 6 off.His watch may be shortened if tow work late at night comes up and they don't want to pay too much overtime.
    I wanted to be able to enjoy digesting that treat instead of gobbling it down and then running back out onto the tow to yank rigging or other heavy labors.
    Lots of guys had that same idea and ate their steaks when they'd be off watch and could enjoy it.
    As to the various "days",as I said,Saturday was steak day,Sunday was chicken,Friday HAD to be fish and Thursday was usually for pot roast.The rest of the week we just ate any particular food as the cook felt like preparing.
    One October day on another boat,I was kind of fuming over a joke someone had played by telling the cook that I'd waited until she went to bed after I didn't eat dinner and fixed myself a peanut butter sandwich.After working on a big ol pot roast all morning,she was kind of pixilated about it and took out after me,trying to use a meat cleaver.No lie,GI.It took the whole crew except the pilot in the wheelhouse to pull her away from me for my safety.
    Anyway,a week later,I was getting the coffee ready before calling the oncoming watch and noticed that the cook was fixing another pot roast.
    She demanded"You ARE going to eat while I am still up today aren't you?"while waving that daggum cleaver in the air.(Someone shoulda thrown that thing overboard last week)
    I decided that now was payback time and said "I eat it but shouldn't you be fixing fish today?"
    She had to ask "Why?" and I said ever so innocently,"Well,don't you fix us fish on Friday?".
    She realizes that due to the nature of the 3 day towboat calendar of "Yesterday,Today and Tomorrow" that she didn't know what day of the week it really was ,screams "Is today Friday?" and freaks out.
    The Junior engineer comes out for a cup of coffee and she asks him what day of the week it is,and he doesn't know.So he finds the lead deckhand(second Mate) in the deck locker and no one out there knows what day it is.
    Finally they ask the Captain up in the wheelhouse if he knows whether it's Thursday or Friday and he doesn't know either.Everybody starts asking around and not one soul on board knows if it's Thursday or if it's Friday.
    Imagine a 10,500 bhp towboat and 35 barges shoving downriver near Vicksburg Mississippi in that condition.
    Cap calls the boat just ahead of us and delicately asks if they know whether it's Friday or Thursday and THEY aks around and realize that they've lost rack as well.Now,we have TWO big ol' boats going downriver,26 people who don't know what day of the week it is and one cook is about to toss food overboard and microwave fishsticks in a hurry because she thinks she's lost a day of the week.
    The Coast Guard office in Vicksburg heard the radio traffic,wondering why two towboats would be unsure of the days of the week and broke in to ask if they could be of assistance.
    They eventually stopped shaking their heads and told everyone listening in(VHF radio is just a wireless party line.if you don't tune in,you don't have a clue)that "Yes,today IS Thursday.It is NOT,repeat NOT Friday and fish is not mandatory today."
    It was a good thing I was getting off after Vicksburg.
    On my next trip,I ran into the cook's husband who also rode for that company,just not with her and he said that was a good joke I'd pulled on her.She was spitting bricks about "that damn DOUG" for a week after she got home from that run.Somehow,he knew it wasn't another Doug who was also a mutual friend of ours.
    And yes,we did make friends a few trips later.I started off by asking if the guy who'd started the joke about me fixing my own meals was on board and tried to explain that I'd NEVER offend a cook by refusing her food.It took a while but she accepted my apology that trip.
    Last edited by doughesson; 03-31-2009 at 04:14 PM.

  19. #19
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    Sigh. Ya, I've had me a many of those "Yesterday, Today and Tomorrow" cruises myself. Doing escort duty to commercial shipping the Gulf of Arden is about as boring and slow as a warship can go. Usually the only way to know what "day" it is was by the menu. CF is steak on Thursday and fish on Friday, so at least you knew what days those were. Menu was up to the Chief Cook after that, based on available rations.

    I'll tell ya though, it sure gave me a real appreciation for the guys on escort duties in the Atlantic 1914-18 and 1939-45. Extreme bordom followed by intense moments of mad panic. Except that mostly we didn't get the "panic" part. Other than our daily 1600 to 1630 buzz-by from the Iranian P3, when he'd lock up our radars with his, but even that got boring and "old hat" after a few weeks too.
    If you don't do it RIGHT today, when will you have time to do it over? (Hall of Fame basketball player/coach John Wooden)

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    Get it up. Get it on. Get it done!

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    Line of Death ops in the Med during Jan-Feb 1986.
    We stayed at modified Zebra(all the hatches down and dogged but the scuttles were opened to allow easier passage between the decks) so we could go to GQ as quickly as pssible.
    We were out there for over a month,45 days IIRC and were kinda nervous about the whole thing,even after copying a message sent from the Libyan navy commander about how they were going to this t us,they were going to do that to us and when all that was done,they were going to do the other thing to us as well.
    Some guys were getting a little scared reading it until the read the final line which aid "Respectfully,Admiral Somebody or Other al-Triploi".
    Then we all had some good laughs about that.
    Coming back from the Med,we had to eat up all the food we'd bought from NATO stores as we couldn't bring beef back into the US because they'd figured out what Mad Cow Disease was.The beef at the time was being supplied by our British friends.(To this day,I am unaffected by it.Cows don't associate with helicopters any)
    Anyway,we had roast beef in every possible permutation.I do not recommend "roast beast hash" on too often a rotation.
    We get back to the States and the first officer to rotate out was the Supply Officer,aka Suppo.
    The new guy decided he was going to arrange a Homecoming party for all crewmembers and he even sprang for it out of his own pocket.
    The big day comes and everyone not on duty who wanted to go showed up in their dress blues and most of us had either our wife,girlfriends,and/or kids with us for the banquet.
    The main course was rolled out on carts for the CO to sample and pronounce "This meal is edible and fit for human consumption" as tradition calls for.
    The caterer opens the lid and the CO's face just dropped.He turned and motioned for Suppo to approach expeditiously. "Romeo is at the dip,Lieutenant!Come alongside!"
    We could hear the conversation as the Captain wanted to know just what the supply officer thought that he was doing by giving us roast beef for a crew that had just spent time trying out all the combinations thereof.
    We then heard the LT try to explain with "But,Sir,this was the most unoffensive meal that I could think of.Everybody loves roast beef!"
    Last edited by doughesson; 04-01-2009 at 02:52 PM.

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