Wednesday, September 28, 2016

Not an easy blog to write

While it seems like two years ago, it was actually only two weeks ago that my beloved wife of over 46 years, Martha, was diagnosed with ovarian cancer. This is the same type of cancer that claimed my mother's life over 30 years ago. While everyone has told me that there have been great strides in cancer surgeries and treatments in the past 30 years, this was still a very tough diagnosis for me to hear.

Back when I was really running Riverview on a day to day basis, I always trained my guides to stay away from the subjects of politics and religion because they are very controversial subjects. But I am going to break that rule here and state for the record that I am a very strong believer in God and the power of intercessory prayer. There is no doubt that God's grace and mercy have been very evident in how fast the past two weeks have unfolded.

Martha's OBGYN in Albany said that there was only one surgeon that he would send his wife or mother to if they had this diagnosis. Her Albany doctor was able to get her an appointment right away, and we went to Atlanta on Sunday of last week for a Monday appointment. The doctor in Atlanta said that he was booked through October on surgery, but he wanted to go ahead and perform an exam on Martha. While performing the exam, his office received a call that he had a surgery cancellation opening for Thursday of last week. However, there was one lady on the waiting list. He instructed his office to call that lady, and she was not quite ready.

We could see God's hands at work, and we accepted the opening right away for Martha to have surgery on last Thursday. As per normal operating procedures, we signed about 4000 forms, and were told of all of the dire outcomes. Dr. Feuer did say that, depending upon what he found, he might be able to perform the surgery robotically. If so, Martha's stay in the hospital , and recovery would be much shorter. My definition of eternity was the time between her being taken to surgery and the time the doctor came out to talk to us.

He was able to perform the surgery by robot, and in his own words he said, " I would deem this surgery an A+ success. I was able to get all of the cancer". We go back to see him this Monday, and we do know that we face chemo in our future, but we feel confident that God is going to restore Martha back to good health.

Now I know all of the statistics out there; so I know that many of you are facing similar situations with loved ones. I know that I am praying for a few of you like Mark's wife and others. I just thought it important to let everyone know why I have been so silent at the time of the year when I should be rambling on about hunting season getting ready to start up.

I will say that we are expecting our first fall weather to arrive tomorrow, and everything here looks great. In any company, succession planning is so important, and I am so glad that I started working on that plan years ago. Cader IV firmly has this place humming at top speed along with the help of Jerry and Greg. While I plan to be around as much as possible, my primary job is going to be in a role as " Nurse Nick" to Martha. As a natter of fact, I'm "driving Miss Daisy" to her beauty parlor appointment tomorrow, and this is being done by a man who has not needed anything but his "sidewalls" trimmed for years.

So long for now, but I hope to see many of you at Riverview during the 2016-2017 hunting season!

Tuesday, September 13, 2016

Of dogs and politicians

I know that we have all seen the funny emails over the years comparing dogs to wives. My personal favorite has always been the one about locking your dog and wife in the trunk of the car for an hour. Then open the trunk and see which one is the happiest to see you. That got me to thinking about comparing dogs to politicians, especially in this particularly insane political climate.

When I feed my dog, he has never immediately started begging for another bowl of food. When I give money to a politician, he starts asking for more money as soon as the first check clears the bank.

All politicians lie skilfully and often. I have had a few dogs false point on me from time to time, and occasionally a young dog will point a stink sparrow. But all of my dogs have been ashamed of themselves for being untruthful. A politician is born without a hint of shame. To say that a politician "lies like a dog" is an insult to all of the dogs that I have known.

Usually when a dog barks, he is trying to let you know something. Politicians bark incessantly without saying anything. When a dog defecates, the worst that can happen is that you get crap on your boots. With politicians, we get covered in doo-doo up to our ears. I could go on like this forever, but I think that everyone gets the message.

On the Riverview front, we have all begun our lodge grounds clean up. It kind of reminds me of the old chain gang crews except the equipment is more modern than the slings and axes of yesteryear. In this rich land and humid soil, a lot of things can grow up on the lodge grounds in six months that need to be pruned, cut, or completely eradicated. We are beginning to get into hunting season shape, and look forward to seeing a lot of old and new friends this season!

Friday, September 2, 2016

A short weather blog

I just wanted to send out this short blog letting everyone know that Riverview survived the hurricane with absolutely no damage. The forecast for us was for 35-50 mph winds along with 5-8 inches of rain. We were certain that we would lose power since all it takes for us to lose our electricity is for a mule to poot.

When we went to bed we had our lanterns, flashlights, and all of our emergency gear around us . We left all of our shutters open under the assumption that the lightning and strong winds would wake us up. Evidently the storm shifted just enough to the east of Riverview to spare us. We never lost power, and only received an inch of rain. The storm has now shifted north and east of us; so I would say that it is over here.

I have talked to friends in Tallahassee, Thomasville, and Valdosta. Many of those cities are without power with a lot of down power lines due to fallen trees on the power lines. Our thoughts and prayers got out to them as they begin the clean up from the hurricane. I have been there/done that, and it's not a lot of fun. But, it could have been much worse, and for that we are grateful

Tuesday, August 30, 2016

Fall season

I believe that I saw on our local weather station that South Georgia has gone 76 straight days during which our low temperatures at night have not fallen below the low 70's. Sometimes the seasons and the temperatures actually get on the same page. This weekend is Labor Day, and we are predicting temperatures in the mid 60's on Sunday and Monday.

This weekend also kicks off college football season, and there are some pretty big games being played on week one. My television and porch will be a very popular destination for me on Saturday. Hopefully by then, this tropical depression will have dumped a little rain on our thirsty soil. We have not had a drop
of rain since Martha and I returned from overseas on August 13th. Prior to then, we had been getting steady rains once or twice a week. Some folks at Riverview are beginning to draw unflattering conclusions about these two events. I plan to stick with my dad's old words of wisdom that stated "dry weather will scare you, but wet weather will ruin you". I've experience both extremes in my life, and I will take "too dry" any day of the week.

At any rate, our food plots have all made it, and our grain sorghum has all been harvested. A rain would be most welcome, but it is not critical at this moment. We would like to see some cooler weather so that we could have more productive hours of dog training, and that appears to be headed our way.

On an entirely different subject, it seems that any discussion of politics these days is difficult to have in a civil manner; so what I'm about to say is a matter of public record rather than an opinion. I just read the list of companies who have paid Hilary Clinton huge sums of money for her speeches. I recognize many of those companies as having visited here in the past. As anyone who has ever hunted with us knows, I always give a very in depth safety talk to each group. I never realized that I could have been charging $250,000+ for my speeches. I know what I talked about, but I certainly wonder what she said that was worth so much money?

In closing, if football season begins this weekend, we know that hunting season is also just around the corner, and we are VERY ready for that also. Come see us this season!

Wednesday, August 24, 2016

Seasons of the year

I do believe that I would hate to live in a location where the seasons never changed, even if the climate there was always pleasant. I look forward to the change of seasons in South Georgia, and enjoy each of them with the exception of summer. I just can't find anything positive to say about the summer season in my part of the country. Yesterday our temperature/humidity index reached 112 degrees. I raised the white flag and retreated to the AC.

Perhaps that is why my favorite season of the year here is fall. Fall is when I can see summer in my rear view window. Fall is also college football and hunting seasons, two of my favorite past times. I enjoy watching one and participating in the other. Living as close to nature as I do, I promise you that I can smell fall before it arrives. I've begun sniffing the air every morning in hopes of picking up that scent which I can't define. Regretfully, I have yet to smell it, but I know that any day now I might catch a whiff of it in the air. Right now, I can't sniff too hard because I might still inhale a bunch of gnats and have a sneezing fit.

Another sure indication that fall ids just around the corner is how much later daylight is coming. I have always been an early riser, and love to watch day slowly break. Just a few short months ago, we were in the sweet corn fields, and actually picking corn before 6:00 am with decent light. This morning it was 6:40 am before I could even begin to define the trees in my yard. Of course, Cader IV says that is because I can't see good, but I disagree with him on that point. I have noticed that he no longer trusts me to tell him that no cars are coming when we approach a stop sign while riding together.

So I would say," Please hurry up and arrive at Riverview, Mr. Fall Season". We are more than ready for your arrival. Well, maybe the quail are not too excited about it. However, if I were a quail, I think that I would prefer a quick, clean kill shot to being eaten alive by a hawk. Maybe that's kind of like choosing between Trump and Clinton.

Wednesday, August 17, 2016

There's no place like home, Toto

I've always been told that there are three things that a man should never do--don't pee into the wind, don't pull on Superman's cape, and don't sword fight with Zorro. Well, I would like to add one more--do not try to visit five European countries in 13 days !

Martha and I just got back from a blitz of Hungary, Slovakia, Austria, Germany, and the Czech Republic. We pulled into our drive at about 2:00 am yesterday morning, and my biological clock is still completely confused due to the six hour time difference. I was wide awake and drinking coffee at 3:30 this morning. I know that many of our guests routinely travel the world on business. I just want you to know that I have an even higher respect for the lifestyle so many of our executive guests lead than ever before.

Although we saw many beautiful and historic sites, I have never seen a more beautiful sight than my home and river, highlighted by a full moon, as we finally pulled into our yard. Even the armadillo rooting up my grass looked good. Of course he will look even better when he is dead before the end of the week.

Cader IV told me that when Jonah left( that would be me), we got beneficial rains almost every day. He rode me all around yesterday, and our woods and food plots have never looked better. I was shocked at how much our grain sorghum had matured while I was away. We planted several hundred acres under center pivots in order to supplemental feed the quail during the fall and winter months. We combine this grain sorghum, store it in our grain bins, and then spread it in the woods from October through March. When I left, this grain was a golden yellow, and when I returned, it was brown and ready for harvest.

One thing that I did NOT miss while we were on our trip was the non-stop, incessant political commentary of all of the 24 hour news channels. I've about decided that ignorance may be bliss. I miss the days when Walter Cronkite told us everything we needed to know once a night in a 30 minute broadcast. However, I was unaware of the devastating flooding in Louisana  until I got home. Having lived through two historic floods here in 1994 and 1998, my prayers go out to all of my friends in that great state

In closing this short blog, let me say that I would like to reach a larger audience with these blogs; so please feel free to forward them, or send me a name of anyone whom you think might be interested in being added to this list. One of my goals in writing, other than the pure joy of writing, is to introduce more potential guests to Riverview.

Everything looks great here. All we need now is for fall to arrive along with YOU !

Friday, July 29, 2016

Politics and politicians

Wasn't it Diogenes who walked all around looking for just one honest man?  After watching the two national conventions, I could not help but think of the definition of politics. With apologies to my friend, Allan, who is a former politician, just think about this. " Poly" means "many, and "tics" are blood sucking leeches; so I would have to assume that politicians are a bunch of blood sucking leeches.

I was astounded to read recently that John Kerry stated that our AC units were a bigger threat to us than ISIS. I stayed up three nights in a row watching my AC units. Not a single one of them brandished an AK 47 or made any move to behead me although one of them did sound like it was in its death throes as it tried to combat this heat and humidity down here. Does anyone know what planet John Kerry hails from? He looks a good bit like "Lurch" from the old Adams family dark comedy to me.

We continue to get much needed rains just in the nick of time at Riverview to keep our woods and feed patches looking good. The guys at the kennels tell me that bird dog and Cocker training is progressing rapidly, but we are only able to work our dogs early in the mornings at the moment due to the extreme heat.

Meanwhile, Blake is in charge of going through all of our jeeps from bottom to top. He will soon be finished with that, and we will repaint a few of them again this year. We like to start each season with no bird pellet marks in our jeeps. I've never quite figured out how a jeep looks like a quail to a few of our guests, but evidently they do. It is also the reason we have never been willing to send more than two hunters out on a jeep with a guide. A third hunter sitting on the jeep would make an inviting target for a hunter who loses his gun discipline swinging on a quail.

In closing, let me give you this quote from someone named Ben Witherington III--" God has revealed enough of the future to give us hope, but not so much that we do not need to live by faith." I have faith that this great nation will survive and prosper no matter who occupies the Whitehouse this fall, but it is only because I have faith in the American citizens. I have very little confidence in our representatives. I believe at some point, the silent majority will rise up and take back our great nation !