Good Sunday Morning to you all, and welcome to Mississippi Riverboat Week here at OPOD. We start with this marvelous picture of riverboats, taken near Cincinnati, Ohio. The picture was taken around 1900, and has two, count them, two riverboats. Most of you know that I have always secretly dreamed of being a Gentleman Farmer. My other secret dream is to be a Mississippi Riverboat Captain. With my keen sense of direction, steady nerves, and calm under fire, I feel I have what it would take to captain one of these majestic vehicles. OK, I really don't have a very good sense of direction, but none-the-less, I still feel I could make it in the high flying world of Riverboat Captaintry.
On many occasions, I have been somewhere that offered a "Mississippi Riverboat Tour". Since I aspire to be a captain, I have always signed up for the ride, as there are still some of these riverboats around. However, on all that I have been on, which have been many, they have all been fakes. By fake I mean that while they have a smoke stack and a paddle wheel, they are just for show . . . there is no steam, and the paddle wheel is not connected to an engine, it just turns in the water as the boat moves. If you ever go on one of these boats, go back and stand by the paddle wheel . . . is it connected to a drive mechanism? . . . usually not, it is just for show, and turns in the water as the boat moves. There is a normal propeller and rudder down under the waterline moving the boat forward. What I have found is that when I take such boat rides, and stand back by the paddle wheel and point out to other people on the boat that the paddle wheel is fake, that there is no steam engine, and it it really just a normal boat dressed out to look like a river boat . . . when I do that, people get mad, and say I "ruined" it for them. It never stops amazing me how people would prefer to believe the lie, rather than know the truth, and have the fantasy they are living in "ruined".