Mississippi Drifting

Twenty-eight straight days pushing freight up and down the Big Muddy -- and oh-so-slowly

But he controls the towboat and its 60,000 tons like it's a john-boat, and rides it under the Greenville Bridge. "You can't get any closer to the center than that," he says proudly as he pushes south. In front of him, a long stretch of barges drifts south. When it gets to the Gulf, the Parsonage will unload. Then it will turn around, grab more loads and head back north, and Kelley and the rest of the crew will continue the routine, one that never changes.

Jennifer Silverberg
At any given time nine crew members are on board the 
Christopher M. Parsonage. Mate Scott Davison (top); 
cook Peggy Rowberry.
Jennifer Silverberg
At any given time nine crew members are on board the Christopher M. Parsonage. Mate Scott Davison (top); cook Peggy Rowberry.

Kelley pauses to adjust the wheel. "You get used to it," he says. "It doesn't bother me. It's been that way since boats have been boats."

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