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In the drizzle, BBC Alabama awaits cargo in Port of Albany.

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Pocomoke transfers cargo,

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Brooklyn heads south,

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Hudson Valley sentinels keep vigil no matter

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how much rain falls,

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Doris hangs with Adelaide,

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as does Coral Coast with Cement Transporter 5300,

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Strider rests from striding,

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Union Dede docks at a port that 10 years ago was sleepy,

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HR Pike (?) rests on rolling spuds,

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Saugerties Light houses B&B guests,

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not far from Clermont, home of the father-in-law of the father of steam boating on the Hudson and then the Mississippi,

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Comet pushes Eva Leigh Cutler to the north,

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Spooky‘s colors look subdued in the fall colors, and

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two shipyard relatives meet.

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Will Van Dorp took all these photos in a 12-hour period.

Type Kristin Poling into the search window here, and you’ll find lots of references to the 1934 vessel, which still works as hard as ever.  One of my favorites is here.  The foto below shows her under load, looking ever so slightly likea vessel from 120 years before her . . . if you lop off the paddle wheels.   To read how Clermont intersected my ife, click here.    By the way, whatever became of the project to build a replica of Clermont a few years back?

Foto by will Van Dorp.

At lunch today some friends dredged up a memory I want to write about. It may explain “tugster” and this blog. Earlier I disclosed that my parents, as immigrants, arrived in this country by ship from the Netherlands. As Dutch Calvinists whose adolescence coincided with Nazi occupation, not only could they not identify with North American commercialism, but they proudly abstained from it. Christmas eve and morning were to be spent in church not matter what days of the week they fell on. There was some gift giving but that happened on December 5, “sinterklaas dag,” and the gifts then might be a new pair of socks and some candy.

My parents were and still are dairy farmers way upstate, not far from Lake Ontario. A cattle dealer who came to the farm at least monthly was Ralph, who was also an immigrant. Ralph came from Dusseldorf, a German city on the Rhine just 30 miles from Arnhem, the Dutch city on the Rhine where my mother grew up. The war motivated my parents to leave the Netherlands, but in a much more powerful way, the same war motivated Ralph to leave Germany. He was Jewish; he left just before all of his family was arrested and sent to that place from which almost no one returned. You know that story.

My father and Ralph talked often and of many things. Like best of friends, they would get mad at each other, but they always made up. One day, they must have talked about Christmas, and Ralph left the farm mad. He returned the next day with a big box. In the box were Christmas presents; it turns out Ralph was very angry when he learned that my parents didn’t believe in giving us kids gifts.

So when I opened my Christmas present, my first Christmas present ever at the age of seven, my gift from my father’s Jewish friend, it was not socks, gloves, underwear, or a chocolate bar. My gift was a plastic boat model of Robert Fulton‘s Clermont. In all my life, I can say this was my best ever gift.

Merry Christmas, Ralph. And Happy Hannakuh, Kwanzaa, Eid al Adhaa, New Year….. and thanks for the boat. Here are some pictures for you.

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All photos by Will Van Dorp.

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