Captain Joe & the Old Man

Just above Dubuque, the Coast Guard's Del Commune ran into real trouble last week. The Mississippi's Dam No. 11 was frozen tight; the little towboat had to stand by for five hours while men thawed out the valves with hot water, cut away 20-inch slabs of ice from behind the gates, finally nursed them open. Then the Del Commune moved upstream through the locks—into an icefield that stretched from bank to bank as far as the eye could see.

The Del Commune's men looked at the ice, at each other, at the 85-ton ice plow attached to their boat's blunt bow....

Want the full story?

Subscribe Now

Subscribe
Subscribe

Get TIME the way you want it

  • One Week Digital Pass — $4.99
  • Monthly Pay-As-You-Go DIGITAL ACCESS$2.99
  • One Year ALL ACCESSJust $30!   Best Deal!
    Print Magazine + Digital Edition + Subscriber-only Content on TIME.com

Learn more about the benefits of being a TIME subscriber

If you are already a subscriber sign up — registration is free!