THE 1956 SUMMER "CRUISE"
By Floyd Stormer
Once upon a time there was a "Great White Mother"
'Twas the 15th of June they gave us the news,
It was time to head out on our long summer cruise.
We said goodbye to our families, we'll be gone for awhile,
Then we steamed down the river in the best showboat style.
We had no calliope but the pipes trilled away,
All hands to quarters, in the uniform of the day.
Then in the shipyard in our whites we did stay,
Tourists all welcome, about ten thousand a day.
Then we steamed for the Soo, in the heart of our nation,
To put on a show for their big celebration.
The big Air-Sea Rescue was efficient and neat,
But the march down the main drag was ten thousand left feet.
Then a surprise Admiral's inspection -- It was not really new,
Just a tried and true formula to shake up the crew.
Four bells to Chicago to escort the big race,
Combined with a reserve cruise, it helped save our face.
At the island we took all the tourists for a ride,
The crew hid their faces, swore they'd jump over the side.
All sailors of showboats are bound for perdition,
But we carried on proudly in the best Coast Guard tradition.
Then on to Detroit and the Port Huron race,
The night of the storm was the final disgrace.
The gas tank slid with a crash in the drink,
And fifty school boys prayed we would sink.
MACKINAW to Sailboat -- We hope you come to no harm,
But we must enter port to get out of the storm.
The heat is terrific -- "One Forty" below,
But we must keep on going to put on our show.
The engines are pounding and the paints lost it's luster,
Instead of "turn to on ships work" -- It's quarters for muster.
To the Canadian backwoods to cruise around awhile,
'Cause the Captain's friends like to travel in style.
Down to Grand Haven for the Great Coast Guard Day,
Big parties for the brass, while the crew earns their pay.
It's parades and formations, muster and drills,
We sweat out the week while the brass gets their thrills.
Another Admiral's inspection to shake up the crew,
One Admiral can do it but they send two.
Four bells and a jingle for the Put-In-Bay side,
The Auxiliary is waiting -- It's their turn to ride.
Then we must go down to Cleveland for a two day celebration,
With the bosses of the Coast Guard, The Lake Carriers Association.
One lousy excursion we've got left to do,
Take a Senator fishing and then we are through.
If we charged for our boat rides I swear on my soul,
We'd soon have the government out of the hole.
We're fighting Coast Guardsmen who suffer these ills,
We've run more excursions than Carter's got pills.
The Marine Corps for fighting as everyone knows,
But it sure takes the Coast Guard to put on the shows.
-From The Mackinaw Weekly Rag
Purloined from "We've Been There" by Esther Stormer ©1992 Republished by permission
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