Watching the river

Thursday, July 17, 2008

@SL_body_copy_ragged:When I walk down the tiered steps of the Common Pleas Courthouse on my way for coffee or lunch or coffee (it's usually for coffee), I can't stop the small smile that crosses my face at the sight of that massive river. I've managed to contain it to a quick grin and inner sigh so as not to draw questions from the co-worker accompanying me.

Some people contemplate and come to terms with their place in the universe while staring up at the stars on a clear night. I find comfort and reassurance in the current of the Mississippi River or the churning of the ocean.

One of the things I like most about Cape Girardeau is proximity to the Mississippi River. I can sit and just watch it and be content. With the Mississippi as my favorite Cape Girardeau attraction, I was understandably excited when they reopened the floodgates to show the water had receded enough that you could walk more than five feet from the opening.

I saw people Sunday evening enjoying the weather in camping chairs perched beside the Broadway opening and others walking along the now-dry path along the river. I realize, though, that not everyone finds such easy pleasure in the sheer beauty of this body of moving water. Some people need extra entertainment. A riverboat, maybe? Tourists to meet and entertain, perhaps?

For the last many years, this relative newcomer knows not how long, river boats like the Delta Queen or the Mississippi Queen or other refurbished steamboats have docked and decorated the riverfront for a few hours on a summer day.

The eateries and antique shops watch excited riverboat passengers wander around and into their shops. The Glenn House has historically held teas and special tours for the influx of guests.

It may not have been a huge deposit in the bank, but it probably helped a little. And the riverboats docking in Cape Girardeau was a quirky additional blip on the tourist attractions map. Now, as a Rudi Keller article pointed out Sunday, the Delta Queen may be dethroned due to an old law restricting wooden vessels to embark on overnight excursions.

Did you know due to old laws, it's illegal for four unrelated women to live together? It's considered a brothel. According to old laws in Natchez, Mo., it is unlawful to provide beer or other intoxicants to elephants. There goes Dumbo's birthday party.

And because of this old law, people can't come to Cape Girardeau via the beautiful and historic Delta Queen that has always brought them here.

To learn more and help save the queen, visit www.save-the-delta-queen.org.

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