Letter: Capt. Harris Underwood
Again, many thanks to Keith Norrington for the Old Boat Column in general and for the column in the January 24, 2022, WJ. Keith continues to delight with his writings.
I also had the opportunity and good fortune to meet Capt. Harris Underwood.
As was required on the Belle of Louisville, in addition to the pilot, a watchman was required to be carried. On my very first trip as deckhand, I rotated for my shift. It was a moonless and dark night, and we were in a dark stretch of river that I had never seen before. I came up from below with no night vision. Sitting in a chair was a man of small stature, looking intently forward. As an 18-year-old and greenest of green deckhand, I blurted out to a riverman who had held a First Class Pilot license for 50-plus years, “How do you know where you are?” Slowly Capt. Underwood pushed back his chair, stood up and walked over to where I was sitting on the lazy bench and calmly said, “Sonny, in the dark can you walk from your bedroom to the bathroom without turning a light on?”
I pondered his response and passed the rest of my shift without further inquiries. It was sage advice.
Captain Kevin Mullen