Drinking Alcohol taught me how to fly
Then it took away the sky....

Thursday, September 1, 2011


 “Oh, I was born to wander
I was born to roam
And Mister and Mississippi
made me feel at home”


Life during my drinking career (who but an alcoholic refers to drinking as a “career”--grin!) was spent partly on my own houseboat, named Thor. Three years I lived here, became a river rat (Ohio river at Cincinnati). These were some of the happiest (read: carefree!) years of my life.

I had annually to pull the 32-foot, 12-ton boat out of the river, and up a 500-foot ramp for winter--Nov, Dec, Jan, and Feb. Thor sat high on steel drums and I--high on other 'stuff'--spent many a cold night in that cabin, loving the smells, darkness, loneliness...sometimes I could hear the sounds of snow falling on piled dead leaves.

One memorable mid-summer midnight a fellow boater strung out on some hallucinatory substance was shooting his guns, threatening Peeps all over our small harbor. The shanty-boat 'community' all stayed hidden in their (five) boats. Your Peep—me--walked right out there atop all six floats and challenged this crazy man. He was firing two weapons, helter-skelter, one in each hand.

Carrying nothing to defend myself except a quart of dark rum, I walked right up to him, talked him down, took away the guns and walked back to my boat to sleep. Next morning, guess who they called the 'crazy' man? Only one guess per Peep allowed!


Frequently, 2-3 times a week, I'd just set out on Thor chugging along in early morning fog until something on the river bank piqued my interest. Shallow draft allowed me to pull up on the sandy mud anywhere, anchor to a tree, maybe spend a couple days.

Those years I met, ate and drank with literally hundreds of Peeps—strangers, until we talked awhile. If you knew me, you'd realize I'm in my glory when doing that. Living on the river, most of these Peeps were like one big family. Each of these friendships were another story. 

Note: Our harbor—I was one-sixth owner—was named “Friendship Harbor”. It is still there, almost fifty years later. It's marked on Ohio River Charts.

The gunslinger cast off the day after his spree, and nobody saw him after that. He left behind his 40-foot float, which space we rented and split the bucks.

It was on the river I learned the fun of taking chances, how to survive, and finally how to live well, love everything, and be kind to Peeps. The code there was “Do unto others...” 

From then, my addictions began to seriously take over, run and ruin my life

Each hour of living is as a brick laid in the building of a life. And I revel yet in memories--laying those bricks. Thank you for walking with me here. PEACE!

--Steve E


  1. Really interesting, Steve. I think that there is something about being on a boat and enjoying the water that is truly magical. Thor looks like a cool boat.

  2. You actually OWNED a houseboat?!?!? Wow, Steve, you must be a very rich man. As Syd remarked, there is something magical about water and living in water.

    Another dimension to you: A houseboat owner!

    Joy always,

  3. My husband's ancestors traveled by flatboat up the Missouri River... interesting post, Steve.

  4. loved this read....life of a river rat....sounds wild romantic...free...but the booze....so grateful it's not hanging out with you anymore. By the way...love that pic of Thor....

  5. SYD:
    Thor was a cool scow, 12-ton 32 feet 10' beam, etc., etc. Powerful, but nor too fast, although it left quite a wake when moving in serious fashion!

    Always I have been very rich, Honey. But I never had any money! Enjoy these days of work, life, and love...with JOY!

    Maybe I should 'save' this post and one day my great-grandson can talk about his ancestor's scow—with photos, be they ever so old! Thanks, Tess.

    It sounds like you somehow identify with this post, Sarah. Everything you write in comment is SO true!

  6. Sounded an amazing time. My niece owns a canal boat that she hires out for parties and events, along the Thames. Her mum had her wedding reception there, (with accompanying storm) and I had to go home. I was terrified. The bobbing boat was bad enough for me!

    I'd quite like the houseboat life if I wasn't such a wuss! I love my own company at the end of the day.

  7. Sounds like a great spot, (gunslinger and the "crazy guy" notwithstanding). I've always wanted to live on a houseboat. I think it was Surfside 6 that did it. :-)

  8. Your posts are always thought-provoking for me. I'm a person who has always pondered and tried to see both sides of a coin and even given the devil his due sometimes. I often ask what some may consider rude questions, when all I'm seeking is an understanding. But I think I'll keep those to myself today. Have a wonderful weekend!

  9. Love the name THOR for a houseboat.

    I truly think that we all have such amazing stories in us and sometimes even during our drinking careers!

    Thank you for sharing this one, it brought out some memories of life lived before AA and the things that we do that are crazy.

    Love to you

  10. LENA:
    Any life is acceptable once we are used to it. Peeps who never knew about TV (Telly?) don't miss it. I cannot believe you are a 'wuss'...grin!

    I'll describe it as...”A WONDERFUL LIFE!”

    Babe! You mean “House Boat”! LOL. It is not an expensive living.

    I may end up sorry for writing this...but I'd sure like to read –and answer—your questions. Nothing to me would be rude, that's for insecure Peeps! WAIT! WHAT? Don't, PLEASE don't ask THAT question...!!!--grin.

    Yes, each of us has unique experiences to share, yet deep down, we are so alike! And you know ALL ABOUT THAT...I'm sure—grin!
    Love....and PEACE!

  11. 'Your peep - me'
    Oh yes, You are Our Peep!
    Only a mad man could face an armed guy and that's our Peep of course.
    hadn't you be drunk I would have liked to share a coffee or two with you on that deck and you'd tell me about previous stories of your life...
    Ah!!!this has been a really nice, sweet read, my dear Steve


  12. what a lovely life minus the addiction, my dear steve.....your way of seeing, a lovely break from my reality, such as it is.....thank you for sharing your memories, your kindness. xoxlinda