On The Riverfront

July 6, 2005 at 10:14 am (Uncategorized)

Right after I broke things off with Jeff in September of 1997, I went on a couple of trips with my cousin, Rick. He was working at a local marine shop at the time and was the mechanic on the owner’s sternwheeler. After clearing it through his boss, he invited me to come along to a couple of regattas. I would drive to the regatta and then spend the night, or two, on the sternwheeler.

When the sternwheelers get together its like a floating city. They have their own toilets, kitchens, bedrooms, living room, central air/heat, etc. Some are more fancy than others. Some are floating mansions. I’ve seen some with shiny wooden floors and brass fixtures. High end and swank.

The River Rats are a friendly bunch and I can’t recall NOT seeing a cooler or two (maybe three) on deck filled with beverages. Ahem. Lots of beverages.

Our Captain, Moe, made a special drink named after his sternwheeler. It had half a dozen (maybe a dozen) different liquors and fruit juices in it. It was served in 24 oz. cups although some pussies only drank half a cup. Guaranteed to be the only drink you would need all night. Oy vey!! I’ll call it Polyjuice Potion because when you drank it, you became another person.

We were in Marietta, Ohio at the Ohio River Sternwheel River Fest Regatta something aruther (the details are still sketchy). Marietta is a very nice town. Clean and friendly and full of River Rats. The first night everyone met up and reacquainted themselves, sharing river gossip. The next day were the races and the last night were the fireworks. My cousin and I inched our way around the edge of the sternwheeler so we could sit on the buckets (paddles) to watch. It was amazing.

The river lapped along, black water rolling. That’s all we saw because the boats had been cleared from the river for the fireworks. If you think looking up into the starry sky at fireworks is cool… be on the river, with a sky above and a sky below, warm breeze, the gentle sway of the sternwheeler, and water wetting your bare toes. It gives me chills to think about it.

Then it was on.

The great thing about sleeping on the sternwheelers is, you don’t have to drive anywhere so you’re free to drink like a fish, if you so desire, and I so desired. I can remember having two cups of Polyjuice Potion, a couple shots of this, another kind of mixed drink there, a beer at the bar, dancing a lot, sweaty, hot bodies because the place was packed, and then stumbling back to the sternwheeler. Another great thing… all the sternwheelers are tied together so if you fall overboard you fall onto someone else’s deck (unless you’re back near the buckets). Not that I did that. Shut up.

Then you wake up the next morning, tongue stuck to the roof of your mouth, breath that could kill a barracuda, sore and achy from all those bruises you forgot how you acquired, feet blistered from too much dancing on the levee at 4 a.m. (We had to do something when the bars closed), head that feels roughly the size and weight of a wrecking ball, sunshine, and that gentle sway… of the water… lapping against the boat. *Sway* *Sway* *Sway* *Groan*

Ahhhhh… I love the river.

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The Hobby III Not the boat I was on, but good people regardless.

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