Saturday, December 13, 2014

A Riverview Christmas story

At my age, you never wish for another week to go by, but this is one that I will not mind seeing in my rear view mirror. Now that I have finally gotten my brain cells down to a manageable level, I don't have any excess cells floating around to call into action. We have been completely full all week long with guests. In addition to being full, we have had several large groups request to spend an extra night. Now I do not handle the cottage assignments, guides, hunting course assignments,etc. any more. However, I certainly got sucked into a situation this week that was not of my making.
 As I was sitting at my desk reading on Monday, I heard Cader IV mumbling and groaning, and then I heard those fateful words," Uh, Dad , we have a little problem, and I need you to walk in to my office for a minute". Well, the "little problem" was that we had nine groups spending Thursday night here, but we only have eight guest cottages. Cader discovered this on Monday. Normally we pray for no cancellations here. This time we prayed to lose two guests between Monday and Thursday night. Any other time that we would hope not to lose a guest or two, we would inevitably do so. Not this time!
 So, now we get to the Christmas story part that everyone is familiar with. Thursday night approached, and there was " no room in the Inn". I had a solution, but it required selecting the right two guests, and negotiating a tough deal with my son whose butt was in a sling.
 I knew that Martha was going to a play in Albany on Thursday night. I also knew that Martha had just remodeled her utility room. I told Cader IV that I would pick one of our parties of two, and turn our home over to them for one night if he would pick up the remodeling costs on our utility room. I have learned that is always more fun to negotiate with someone when you have them bent over a barrel. Oh, did I mention that Cader's daughter, Caroline has the flu, and my home was the only game in town. I also knew that our house guests would be in bed before Martha and the ladies returned from the play around midnight. I also knew that we would have a cottage ready for them the next morning when one of my overnight groups departed after breakfast. It seemed like a slam dunk to me, and it was.
 One of our twosomes was two real nice brothers from Oklahoma, Mike and Mark. I took them to my house after dinner at the lodge, opened them a bottle of wine, and bid them goodnight as I retired to my bedroom. They were most gracious at being asked to sacrifice and  stay in our home for one night, and everything worked like a charm. Cader IV is not too happy since he just paid for a utility room renovation at my home, but I bet he will not make that mistake again. As I shared with him, I did the same think once during my time at the head of the company.
 We have one more week before we close for our Christmas break here. We always like to give the guides,dogs, and kitchen staff a solid week's break at Christmas since that is almost the midpoint of our season. I will enjoy Christmas because I get to spend more time with my children and grandchildren. There was a period of time after my mother passed away in 1985 that Christmas was more sad than fun for me. But then grandchildren came along, and made it very real and special to me again. I have had to grow mature enough to accept that sometimes, no matter how much faith we have, we lose people we love.But we never forget those loved ones, and sometimes, it's those memories that give us the faith to go on. I see my parents in my children and grandchildren, and rejoice that God is in heaven, and He has a plan for my life and my family. Merry Christmas to all of you!

Friday, December 5, 2014

Holidays

Years ago when I was first beginning my career here as a " social director for the over-privileged", an old Oklahoma oilman said to me." Son, I love the holidays and all of the holiday lights, but the prettiest lights that I ever see during the holidays are the tail lights on the cars of my children and grandchildren as they are leaving my house". I have finally lived long enough to understand what he meant. I am a firm believer in the old adage that it is the time spent with children rather than the money spent on them that counts the most. Martha and I spent three full days with our family running a full court press over the Thanksgiving holiday period, and we were worn slam out when everyone left.Grandchildren are such a blessing, but they do not have an "off" button.
 Much to my chagrin, I just realized that Christmas is just around the corner, and we will have to "lock and load" all over again shortly. Whose bright idea was it to schedule Christmas and Thanksgiving so close together in the first place ?
 Now that football season is over I can really concentrate on the important business of quail hunting. For the few of you who may not have caught the score, my beloved Georgia Bulldogs lost to our arch rivals, the Insects from the North Avenue Trade School, also known as Georgia Tech. So, for me, the football season is over. Some of you may still have teams in the running, and I wish you well if that is the case.
 We are running wide open at Riverview now. Most of the fall has been abnormally cold, but we have hit a week this week that is running about 10 degrees above average. According to the weatherman, next week drops back to below average temps. As a matter of fact we have been so busy that I have had very little time to observe the circus known as Washington politics, and that's a good thing because I have rested better that way.
 Our English Cockers continue to impress everyone with their performance this season, and we remain very excited about this program. We just need to bring more of them on-line as we have decided that each guide using these little fellows needs two, one for the morning and one for the afternoon. We simply do not want to work them to death. As any of you who have hunted with us know, there are quite a few birds to retrieve here on any given hunt. If you have not visited Riverview, I would encourage you to give us a call. We have precious few openings remaining for this season.

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Thanksgiving

As we enter the Thanksgiving season here at Riverview, we have so many blessings to be thankful for. I would be hesitant to thank God for all of them by name for fear of leaving one out. I am very grateful to see the sunshine after three days of rain which included 5+ inches of rain since Saturday evening. I am also very blessed to live in South Georgia rather than the Mideast or the Midwest of our own great nation following what I have been seeing in Ferguson, Mo. Watching this mess made me think of the following lines from one of Willie Nelson's old songs, "Whiskey for my men and beer for my horses". The opening lines to that song has the following words: " Grandpappy told my pappy, back in my day,son, a man had to answer for the wicked he done. Take all the rope in Texas, find a tall oak tree, round up all them bad boys. Hang them high in the street for all the people to see".
 Our country has lost its way, and justice is not being handed out swiftly and surely. Until the lawless learn that there are severe consequences for their crimes, they will just get bolder and more destructive. I am not saying that I would personally enjoy seeing them dead, but I sure would enjoy reading their obituaries.
 OK, that's it for my political diatribes, but I am very grateful to live in a small rural community where people look after one another regardless of race or economic status. I believe that the world can really be divided into two categories, rural and urban. By and large, I have traveled the world in the past five years. Country folks are the same the world over. They try to help you even when they do not speak the same language that you do. I have experienced that personally. So I am going to close my short Thanksgiving message with this comment, "Thank God, I'm a country boy"!

Thursday, November 20, 2014

Cold weather

I once heard someone say, "Don't knock the weather. Without weather, most folks would have nothing to talk about at all". In our part of the world, we would add football, pickup trucks, quail hunting, and dogs to that list. The weatherman said yesterday that parts of all 50 states were registering temperatures below freezing, and that included Hawaii. Then this morning the weather lady was standing in Buffalo, NY where they had already received SEVEN FEET of snow. Just as an aside, have any of you ever seen an ugly weather lady? I sure as heck have not.
 Down here in the sunny south, Riverview has been no exception to the cold weather. Yesterday we set a record low for this date at 21 degrees. Now I must admit that I am normally jealous when I see a bunch of excited hunters climbing on the jeeps in the morning to enjoy a glorious day in one of God's most beautiful creations--the big piney woods of south Georgia. We had 16 jeeps pull out from the main lodge yesterday morning, and each of them had two guests going to their very own, private 250-300 acre hunting course. I did not experience the first pang of envy toward a single one of them. And the strangest thing of all to me was that they all seemed eager to get out there.
 It made me think of the line from "The Great Gatsby" that said,"the rich are not like you and me". I have come to the conclusion that Yankees are not like southerners either. I think that folks who live north of the "Smith&Wesson Line" have thicker blood and skin than we folks down here have. However, it was a great day for hunting yesterday, and today is a carbon copy, although just a shade warmer.
 One other good thing about this cold weather is that we have now experienced back to back hard, killing frosts. That will make the scenting conditions a lot better for the bird dogs. One of my guides said that one of his dogs was so good that he was going to have to tape one of his nostrils closed next week. He figures that's the only way that he can stop him from pointing two different coveys at the same time after this frost.
 I hope everyone has a very happy Thanksgiving. The Cox family is looking forward to having everyone home for that occasion!

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

An early fall in the South

I now know at least two segments of the economy that are pleased with the cold weather; the energy sector and the southern hunting plantations. Those old energy boys who are visiting us at the moment are grinning like a bunch of mules eating briars, and we are happier than dead pigs in the sunshine also. Now I do not wish misery on anyone, but then again, I have to question the sanity of anyone living in the far northern climates of this great nation who are already experiencing blizzard like conditions. We have already had two light frosts here which really improves the scenting conditions for the bird dogs, and the weather man is calling for very cold weather for this time of the year over the next ten days.
 Our fall hunting has been outstanding, and only promises to continue getting better with this type of weather. Our fall reservation calendar is the strongest that we have seen since the great recession of 2008-2010. We do have some open dates available between now and our March closing, but there are not many of them. if God continues to bless us with a safe season, I can already say that it will be a successful one!
 Our English Cocker flushing/retreiving dogs continue to be very popular with our guests. We entered them in a little field trial event a few weeks ago, and the Riverview Cockers very nearly swept the field in every age bracket. That just confirms what we already knew, and that is the fact that Chuck and Jerry are doing an outstanding job with both the bloodline and training of these puppy dogs. I wish that my Georgia Bulldogs could perform on the field as well as our hunting dogs are doing.
 Now that the elections are over, I can actually answer my telephone again, and watch a little television in peace. I still think that term limits may be the only answer for this great nation, but for some reason no one seems to listen to me in Washington when I make the suggestion.I would love to think that we might see a change after the midterms, but my real concern is , " can my clowns perform any better than their clowns"?
 Oh well, life goes on, and right now it's going good at Riverview. I hope everyone reading this has a great fall and a happy Thanksgiving!

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Fall quail hunting

Very rarely in south Georgia does the calendar arrival of fall and the actual arrival of fall occur simultaneously, but it certainly has this year! We are back in the hunting business, and could not ask for more perfect hunting conditions. We got a big rain of 3+ inches last week to aid in the scenting conditions for the dogs. Our low temps are now in the mid 40's and our highs are in the mid 70's. If I promised someone a pretty day and they would not accept today, I would just be inclined to whip their butts.
 We continue to be excited about our English Cocker flushing/retrieving dogs for this season. All of the guests who have hunted with them so far have really enjoyed the experience. While we are still training and finishing 2-3 more, I believe that we are actively using them with 6 or 7 of our 15 hunting guides. Training the guides was more difficult than training the dogs. Eventually, we hope to have one of these little dogs on each jeep, but that will probably take another year.
 One of the things that we train our guides on is subjects to avoid when talking to guests. One of those subjects is politics. I'm about to make a statement that is a reflection on neither party. Rather, I am commenting on everyone in Washington these days, and how they are handling the many complex issues we are facing such as ISIS, Ebola, the IRS, the VA, etc. I think that I have a solution to the problem. Since it is illegal to kill all of the stupid people running our country, why don't we just remove the warning labels from all products, and let natural selection wean them out. Since our leaders are dumber than a box of rocks, we should be rid of them by Christmas utilizing my plan.
 If you have not booked a hunt for this season, give us a call. Open slots are disappearing fast!

Monday, October 6, 2014

Senior citizen status

Well, today I officially enter the ranks of senior citizens although some of these fast food twerps have been trying to place me in that category for years. At least I know how to make change in my head, and I know that a half-dozen and six are the same number. That's more than I can say for most of the Einsteins I encounter in such establishments.
 Sometime during the wee hours of the morning, I became Medicare eligible.Since I was up and reading at 3:15 this morning, I celebrated my 50+15th birthday alone. I could have awakened my wife, but my chances of seeing 66 would have been slim and none had I chosen to do so. I have always had difficulties sleeping on a full moon, and this one is a doozy. It will peak with a "Blood Moon" on Wednesday of this week between 6:25-7:15 in the morning. I plan to sit on the banks of the Flint and watch the eclipse. I am either: 1) very light sensitive, 2) a werewolf, or 3) a lunatic. I am going with "light sensitive" rather than options two and three.
 Before I started reading very early this morning, I decided to watch a little television. The advertisements were all about Lifelock or Lifeline for the folks who have fallen and can't get up. The others dealt with devices for foot pain and/or back pain which leads me to believe that the advertisers know their target market during the middle of the night. Only us old, crazy folks are awake during these hours, and if we are awake, we are hurting somewhere.
 I have decided to adopt my Dad's philosophy. He always felt that old age was someone at least 20 years older than he was. He believed that even in his early 80's, and I'm beginning to adopt the same attitude. I have already been promoted to my last Sunday School class at our little country church. There is no older men's group than the one I'm in. My next promotion is across the road to the cemetery. While heaven is my home, I ain't homesick at the moment.
 As Garth Brooks said in one of his earlier country music songs, I'm too dang young to be this dang old" ! I feel good and have a lot of things left to teach my grandchildren. We are excited about opening the 2014-2015 hunting season at Riverview next week, and hope to visit with you here!