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Riverboatin' on the Historic Delta Queen
Other highlights of the week included a visit to the Vicksburg, Mississippi
Civil War Battlefield. History buff or not, one could not help but be
awestruck by the story told here. We felt compelled to speak in whispers
out of respect for the fallen soldiers, our silence broken only when our
guide broke into a spontaneous acapella rendition of "The Battle Hymn
of the Republic" inside the Illinois monument. As the rest of our group
joined in the chorus, tears flowed freely.
In contrast to the solemnity of Vickburg, our day in Helena, Arkansas, the
last stop prior to arriving in Memphis, proved to be lively and joyful.
The Heart and Soul of the Delta Tour took us to the Greater First Baptist
Church where the Delta Tourist Choir had even the atheists among us
stomping their feet and clapping hands in joy. The incredible spirit of the
people here was overwhelming and contagious. This was an unforgettable experience.
Next we headed into town where we listened to "Super Chicken"
Willie King as he sang the blues, with an assortment of odd guitars he
made himself. It came as no surprise to hear he was headed to Washington, D.C. the following week to entertain the President and First Lady.
In between all of this we feasted on local delicacies to complete our Delta
experience. Wonderful people, abundant spirit, toe-tapping music,
delicious food… this was a great day.
Speaking of food, a word about this often-discussed topic of cruisers, river and ocean alike. The Delta Queen chefs do a good job in a teeny weenie kitchen. Meals were ample and enjoyable, though a bit lacking in variety. The service staff was more than eager to please. No one on the boat lost weight that week.
It's always difficult to say goodbye at the end of a wonderful journey,
perhaps more so this time. We learned many things about the history
of this great country during the week, and especially about the Mississippi River. We watched the staff and crew of this boat reprise the roles that they had temporarily lost because of Katrina.
We sailed on a boat which has carried presidents and queens, and we were treated the same way they had been.
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Photos ©Ray Fischer