A crowd gathered along the shore, waving and smiling as we turned and cruised away from Henderson. I know many in these little towns will miss us as much as we will miss them. Strolling through the towns recently, I have heard many disheartened discussions about losing the Delta Queen. These river communities and the Delta Queen have become partners in preserving the treasure of small-town America. And with the Delta Queen rumbling her way into history, it somehow seems as if the entire foundation of that small-town American dream is cracking and crumbling with it. We all thought we could believe in this. The Delta Queen is the symbolic flag that flies over our battle to savor the simple pleasures of life. But that symbol is falling to the tyranny, greed, and apathy of Corporate America and Congressional Inaction.

This last Delta Queen trip is providing a full range of emotions. I realize we are all going through our own stages of grief.
At times I am in complete denial. Pat in the Gift Shop has already informed me that she does not want to say “Goodbye” at the end of the cruise. She says it would be more than she can bear. I also cannot imagine that in a week this onboard family will scatter to the four corners of the nation.
Other times, I am saddened into sobbing, as Cabin Attendant Theresa and I were as we listened to Captain Gabe Chengery play the farewell calliope concert as we left Louisville. (Admittedly, calliope music often brings people to tears!)
Occasionally, I find myself simply angry at the seeming disdain and apathy of some of those who have the power to impact my livelihood and passion.
Then I am afraid for the future of the members of this wonderful crew that I love so dearly.
Suddenly, I am falling into an abyss of frustration, worried that my efforts are simply exhales of cold breath that will quickly dissipate and be forgotten.
I am thankful that I am often in front of our cruise guests because that reminds me to put on my brave face and allow myself no other emotion than the powerful cleanser of hope. Hope. Yes, Hope. Keep Hoping.