Sharing a Memory

Slice of Life
hosted at the
Two Writing Teachers

This past weekend my husband, my sister, and I went to a memorial service in Tennessee for our dear, dear cousin who passed away in March. We stopped first at our father’s family cemetery in Missouri. We have ten family members buried there. It took us a while, but we were able to find each gravesite. We placed flowers on all the graves and said prayers, wishing eternal peace for our loved ones.

From there we crossed the Mississippi River (from Missouri to Kentucky) on the riverboat ferry. This is a childhood memory that my sister and I share. This weekend we shared it with Paul. It felt like we were letting him in on a cherished secret or letting him join a favorite childhood game.  Many almost forgotten memories flooded our conversation.

When we were children, we often visited our family in Missouri. We had family on the other side of the Mississippi, in Tennessee, as well. If the ferry was running, we would cross the river on the ferry. If the water level was too high or it was too windy, the ferry wouldn’t run. If the ferry wasn’t running, we would have to drive around. Then you would have to cross the bridges over the Mississippi River and the Ohio River. Although it was a picturesque drive, it would mean a much longer car ride. (You don’t appreciate picturesque drives when you’re a kid.)

When we were children, riding the ferry was a VERY. BIG. DEAL. I can still remember listening in on adult talk, wanting to hear if we were crossing the river on the ferry. Riding across the river on the ferry was fun, but it also saved us from the longer drive! We were always anxious to get to our long distance cousins for some long awaited playtime.

We would drive the long and dusty country road to the ferry, turn the tall, metal sign (letting the ferry captain know we were on the river bank, wanting to cross the river) and wait for the ferry to get to our side. When the ferry would reach the riverbank, we would drive our car onto the shaky riverboat and cross the muddy Mississippi. I can remember the loud, vibrating sound of the engine as the boat started it’s journey. Depending on the wind and the current, the ride across could sometimes take a while. I remember being relieved when we would get to the other side and drive off the ferry safely back onto land.

This time we weren’t in a hurry and we were able to enjoy every minute of our ride across the river. Although many of the sights and sounds were the same, the riverboat ferry wasn’t the same as I remembered. It had some 21st century updates! Nowadays, the riverboat captain carries a cell phone. You can call him if you’re going to be late. He’ll wait for you! There were restroom facilities and even a vending machine on board in case you get thirsty!  The sign you turn to let the captain know you wanted to cross the river was replaced with a call button that you can press to advise the captain of your status. The riverboat ferry even has a facebook page so you can stay connected! These updates are definitely an improvement!

Or are they?