I took a little trip down the river with Yolanda, summer of 1962
We hooted into Maysville on the Avalon
The big paddle wheel back churned mud and silt
The stacks belched black coal smoke and red hot cinders
Steam engines shook the floor boards
Down came the stage fast, calliope played My Old Kentucky Home
We went out on the port promenade deck to watch
Cargo went off, cargo came on. The pilot came ’round
“One half hour folks, thirty minutes  and we go, one half hour.”
Roller blinds pulled down to soften the harsh August sunset
The soft glow of old carved walnut
The plank floor lightly dusted for dancing 
Screwed down tables all up and down the bowed rail of the cabin
It was a pleasantly shaded breezy evening
Smell of river coming in the open windows
At our table for dinner, craw daddies, greasy greens and potato chips
Nick Clooney on the TV behind the bar doing the WLW news
River characters sitting all around passing the time of travel
Next morning heat and noise pulled me from my stateroom bunk
We were moored on the Kentucky side under the Suspension Bridge
The public landing on the other side was jammed with boat traffic
The River Queen nosed up to the cobble stones, big wheel slowly churning
Coal barges stuffed in all around her
The noise was deafening from the bridge right over head
Busses and trucks rumbling over the wooden floor
The river was slick and rainbow shiney from oil slurry
High up on Price Hill a little to the west
I could see the statue of Jesus painted white
And at his feet the billboard, “Impeach Earl Warren”
Later that night the Avalon pulled out
Mighty big stink of coal smoke
Churned up mud bath from the stern wheel
She backed into the river and turned down stream
No hooting or calliope this time
We gathered speed quick with the currant and
Cincinnati was left behind
I watched it all from the fan tail
The cruise to Louisville was fast, high river no traffic
We were there by dawn