Thursday, February 26, 2015

Various thoughts

It has been said that two of the things that a man can want the most are sex and rain. Well, we caught up on the rain part last night. We have learned to be expert meteorologists here at Riverview. As the brain trust of Cader IV, Jerry, Greg , and I studied the weather early yesterday morning, we made the decision to get everyone up early yesterday. We had an early breakfast, and had everyone on the jeeps at 8:30 am, and we hunted until 1:00 pm. We changed our normal three hour morning hunt to a four and a half hour hunt. Just about the time all of the jeeps rolled in at 1:00 pm it began to sprinkle. Shortly after that as Noah would have said, "It came up a cloud", and the skies opened up. There was some major league snoring going on yesterday afternoon in our cottages and some rested, happy hunters at dinner last night. This morning has broken raw and overcast, but the rain has all moved well east of us.
 Speaking of hunting, Jerry just informed me that one of our prized English Cockers gave birth to seven puppies last night. You would think that Jerry was the grandfather from the way he was carrying on about how pretty they were this morning. We are very excited about this litter as they come out of two really good blood lines. We continue to get rave reviews from all of our guests about these little dogs, and we are definitely expanding this program in the years ahead. Not only have they added to the quality of the hunts, but they are some of the sweetest dogs I have ever seen. If one of them ever washes out of the program as a retriever, I plan to take one for a house pet.
 In closing, allow me to make a personal observation. last night as Martha and I were leaving church, I found myself once again waiting for her to speak to every soul at church before ambling to our car in the deluge. That got me to thinking. there are definitely two typed of folks in the world-- Those who want to go home and those who don't. The trouble is that they are usually married to each other. Such is definitely the case for me. I do not have to wait for the fat lady to sing while Martha has what I term as "departure anxiety". Oh well, that is what makes life interesting !

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

cold weather

I don't know about you folks, but I would like to find that Al Gore fellow, and tell him where he could stick his global warming theory. After looking at the weather in places like Boston and Nashville, I know that I should not complain, but it is getting colder by the minute down here in the sunny south. I just got back from exercising, and there was a steady cold wind blowing out of the northwest at about 25-30 mph while the actual temperature is only 48 degrees. that makes for a fairly brisk wind chill. I bet our bird dogs are either pointing covies that are 100 yards away from them or running over them if they come into the birds from the wrong side of the wind.
 However, as I stated earlier, I have no business complaining. One of my daughters lives only about four and a half hours north of here, about an hour above Atlanta. They are in the midst of a full fledged ice storm with power out and trees down all over the place. A very close friend of mine who lives in Brevard, N.C. sent me a photo of his drive yesterday, and it is a solid sheet of ice. They are hoping to be able to escape their home by Sunday. I feel sorry for his wife because I have a feeling he might get ornery after being housebound for six days.
 If any of you folks have a hankering to see some green grass rather than that white stuff, we have four more weeks of hunting season left after this week. I can't promise you that the weather will be warm, but I can almost guarantee you that we will not have any snow or ice at Riverview.
 In closing, I just have to share this funny thought that my friend,Mike, sent me the other day. He said, " If we could convince the Chinese that Jihadists' testicles were aphrodisiacs, within ten years they would be extinct".

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Rambling thoughts

It's  strange phenomenon in this business, but random events far away can affect our business down here in south Georgia. I've been watching the events of the blizzard in the northeast unfold.The Christian in me should be worried about the poor folks who may be cold, out of power, and hungry. However, the businessman in me keeps wondering," Do I have any jets up that way that should be flying to south Georgia for a hunting trip that might be stuck on the tarmac". It's the same thing with oil prices. All of my farmer neighbors are rejoicing over cheap gas and diesel while I fret over oil prices dropping lower, and some of my best customers deciding to forego hunting at Riverview. The folks in the oil patch do enjoy their quail hunting. At one time the coal folks did also, but this current administration has almost put them out of business.
 Speaking of administrations and politicians, I was reading this morning where one regulator was defending Fannie and Freddie's 3% down payment on mortgages. One of my dad's favorite quotes was"those who fail to learn the lessons from history are doomed to repeat them".These folks have short memories and small to non-existent brains. I have said many times that I want to be the person that my dog thinks I am. I can now add that I wish my politicians and government officials were able to learn things and remember them as well as my dog does. I have never owned a dog that forgot his training lessons as fast as a politician does.
 We are having great weather, and a great week of hunting here. For those of you who are covered up in that white stuff that we have heard called"snow", come on down to enjoy some green grass, big piney woods, and some great quail hunting at Riverview over the next seven weeks. I can guarantee you that our dogs are smarter than your politicians!

Thursday, January 22, 2015

Of dogs and men

I am a voracious reader, and often read quotes that I say to myself," I could have said that". With the exception of Ronald Reagan and Winston Churchill, I very rarely read quotes from politicians that I wish that I had thought of. However, yesterday while starting on a book of short stories about gun dogs, I read the following quote from Woodrow Wilson, " If a dog will not come to you after having looked you in the face, you should go home and examine your conscience". And, in spite of what my adult children might think, I do not remember Woodrow Wilson.
 I could not help but think of this quotes as I have been giving my beloved 13 year old Lab two pills daily for a skin infection. I began y placing the pill on a cracker and sticking it in a little peanut butter. This ruse worked for all of two days before Sugar ate the cracker and peanut butter while spitting out the bitter pill. Because of that, I had to revert to the old fashioned method of opening her mouth,sticking the pill down the back of her throat, and then closing her muzzle until she swallows. To accomplish this task, my hand is about half way down her throat before I can let go of the pill. On either side of my hand are huge canine teeth that I have personally seen snap an armadillo so hard that its intestines squirted out of its rear end. My sweet lab just looks at me with those trusting eyes thinking," Boss, I do not know why you are intent on choking me to death twice a day, but I love and trust you to do the right thing". I sure would never want to disappoint my dog.
 As I have mentioned to several folks, I enjoy writing when the mood strikes me, and have no idea how many folks log in to read my occasional ramblings. I told Cader IV that I was going to post this offer just to see if anyone responds. We are just about sold out for the entire season with the exception of some March dates still available. Yesterday we had a big group that had to cancel Feb. 16-17 due to an unexpected business development. That date is less than a month from now. If anyone is interested in reserving that date, we will price it the same way we do our holiday rates which is 35% off of the base rate. That amounts to a $369.25 per person per day discount. If interested, just give the office a call at 229-294-4904, and ask for Cader IV.

Thursday, January 15, 2015

People are interesting

I'm certain that it would be a boring world if God made all of us just alike. I understand and appreciate that fact. However, it has always amazed me how people can spend a day together, and see things so completely differently,especially between guides and their hunting guests. I always ask my guests how their hunt went, and then go to the guide room to ask the guides the same question.
 On so many occasions, the exchange goes something like this: Guest, " We killed almost every bird we saw. We just did not see all that many birds this morning". Interestingly these comments most often occur with guests who do not kill many quail. Guide comments on the same party." Boss, we were in birds all morning. These are very nice folks , but they could not hit a bull in the butt with a bass fiddle".
 Now obviously as the man in the middle, I know that someone is not telling the truth. Our guides are trained to lie, and could all pass a lie detector test while never telling the truth. Also, it's a known fact that all hunters will lie, including me. I find it almost impossible to admit that I missed a bird without some very rational alibi. I have decided that we need to add one more training function to our English Cockers. We are going to need to teach them to talk! That may be the only way for me to get to the truth.
 I would expect that conversation to go something like this; Cocker," I can't rat out my master since he loves me and feeds me, but he did hunt the course a bit backwards from what I would have done. He should know that we always find a big covey on the edge of the Flats field, and we didn't even go there. However, my pointer mates nailed a pile of covies this morning, and the guests made some good shots here and there. We would have found more covies if these hunters didn't just insist that I keep looking for dead birds that even a blind dog could see was not even slightly shot.Humans can be so stubborn sometimes, but I have to play along with them".

Wednesday, January 7, 2015

January weather---Brrr !

I realize that many things are opened by mistake, but none so frequently as the mouth. With that caveat stated, I just can't help myself, and am going to say it anyway. How in the world do you folks who live north of the Smith & Wesson line survive the kind of temperatures and weather that I am seeing on my weather map? Also, at least one of y'all must have left the back door open because these frigid temps are headed our way, aided by a brisk wind out of the northwest.
 Now I will freely admit to normally being a bit envious of my guests as they climb on those jeeps to head out to enjoy a great day of quail hunting in the big piney woods of south Georgia. However, it is not going to bother me one bit to see them head out over the next couple of days while I adjourn to my heated office. The dogs and birds do not seem to mind this cold weather, but old, bald-headed senior citizens of south Georgia could live without wind chills in the low teens. Considering what some of you are enduring, I know that I sound like a wimp, and I guess that I am.
 I received a phone call last night from Michael Gaines. Michael's father, Thomas Gaines, retired last season after spending his entire career here as our top guide. Michael and his family are planning a retirement party for Tommy sometimes this spring. He asked me to post that anyone who had ever hunted with his Dad would be welcome to send a congratulatory letter to Tommy on his stellar career at Riverview. If you would like to do that, just mail the letter to me, and I will get them to Michael before the event.
 In the meantime, stay warm, and I wish everyone a healthy, prosperous New Year !

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!