The following is an announcement read by Dave Bell to the members of the Northwest Steam Society at the annual meeting in Seattle, Washington, February 17th, 2001.




Many things in life are difficult. The renaming of a boat should not be among them. Many of you in this room have had to deal with the uncertainty and doubt that comes with naming a vessel for the first time. But I'm here to tell you that renaming - in this case for the second time on our watch - can be a very difficult thing. Our boat first saw life as the FERN - then became the POLLY when the owner went from wife "Fern" to wife "Polly". Not a difficult decision on his part. The name POLLY fit right in to Ed Todd's life and he left it unchanged when he assumed ownership. But when Mom and Dad bought the boat from Ed...well...Dad already had a pretty good idea what he wanted to name her. Now, I'm sure many of you are familiar with the idea that renaming a boat can bring bad luck, but that thought didn't daunt my father. So for the third time in her life, she took on a new identity - and became the SLOW BELL. The name had a particular meaning to Dad - boats he had worked on all his life responded to the "slow bell" command when ordered to proceed slowly. Dad's sense of humor - combined with the dynamic speed of the boat in addition to our last name - confirmed his choice. And SLOW BELL she has been for nearly 14 years. Now, once again, comes the opportunity - and with it...the uncertainty. When my father passed away last summer, I thought of changing the name to honor him. In discussing it with Mom and the rest of the family, it sounded like a plan - but with one major flaw. Dad was the one who had named the boat SLOW BELL. How do you honor a man by changing the name he gave the vessel? The answer is: you just do it. We could have gone on with SLOW BELL - and we would know who named her that - and why. But no one else would.
So - after a great deal of soul searching and consciousness-wringing - we're here tonight to announce that in order to honor the memory of her skipper, she will - from now on, carry his name.