Mudcat Café message #211779 The Mudcat Café TM
Thread #20177   Message #211779
Posted By: Amos
14-Apr-00 - 02:23 PM
Thread Name: TAVERN STEAMBOAT- Albert Hansell Part 3
Subject: RE: TAVERN STEAMBOAT- Albert Hansell Part 3
They had crossed the river in darkness, after picking up the wet and unhappy young lovers, and inducted them into the plan. They had worked all night with the bottomless zeal of young people at play. By midnight the long creaky raft had been unbound, the stout pinesmaking up her main platform separated out and the long waterlogged sections of graying hemp rope used to bind her up pressed into other service. Jim's Barlow pocket-knife had worked overtime, and the Deckhands good arm was throbbing as much as the bad one. As dawn rose over the mississippi the head stood at the promontory where Cold Creek flooded in to the Big Muddy, the waters around them still thick with washed-down soil from the levee collapse earlier in the week. They admired their handiwork in the growing light -- a tower of stout pine logs on rwo legs, pointing toward heaven like a giant crude finger, supported in the air by crudely tied ropes.

As the sun rose, they saw the Maid of Ohio steaming full bore toward them, swerving across the Albert's and then curving back toward their bank where the known channel ran close in to shore.

"Git ready, boys -- here she comes!" whispered the Deckhand.

The huge bluff bows of the steamboat seemed close enough to touch as she loomed just upstream of the invisible siltage at the mouth of Cold Creek. Just as the Maid came abeam of the party of tired boys and girls a huge grating sound rose up from under her bows, and her for'ard end tried to suddenly to stop in the embrace of the underwater mudbank, while her stern section tried forcefully to keep driving here. In seconds the giant steamboat slewed violently, her stern end swinging rapidly to port while her bows skewed deeper into the sunken mud at the Cold Creek Delta.

As the giant frame of the huge sternwheel swung by them, the Deckhand held up one hand, stretching his whole body upward in excitement.

"NOW!! NOW!!", he yelled, bringing his arm down in a frantic signal.

Jim and Philly laid to the hemp lines, cutting them clean through, and four hundred pounds of stout pine logs came crashing down from the Creek's near bank falling and crashing directly athrwart the blades of the Maid's sternwheel, locking and snashing against the heavy iron framework and snapping huge sections of the sternwheel into the muddy boil of the delta.

The Maid had reached the end of her race down the Mississippi.