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 !

Thursday, July 21, 2016

Pearls of wisdom

No matter how old we get, wouldn't it be nice if we could just have our parents back for a little while to ask them a few more questions? And THIS time, we would listen to them ! What brought this to my mind is that Martha and I just got back from an annual four day meeting I have at the Ponte Vedra Inn & Club in Ponte Vedra Beach , Florida. Having been in the resort and service business all of my adult life, it's very difficult for me not to be critical of things that I see in the service business.

Well, these folks do it right, and always have. I watched how friendly and attentive the entire staff was from housekeeping on up. That kind of service does not happen by accident. Someone is constantly preaching and training on customer service to achieve that level of service. I'm always an early riser, and enjoyed watching the maintenance people adjusting the sprinkler heads at daylight  because the patterns of spray were not perfect. It is just one of the many things I observed, and is one of the reasons we have held our meeting there since 1994. We also have no intentions of changing locations.

That got me to thinking of so many of the things my parents taught me about the service business when I first came home, and thought I knew everything. I will never forget my Dad saying, " Son, don't worry about the big things. You will never let those big balls drop, but it's the little things that make a difference". Folks have a tendency to notice the little things more than you can imagine. I can't walk by a piece of trash on the ground without picking it up. When your employees notice you doing that, they will do the same thing.

Dad also taught me that the sweetest sound in the world was the sound of a man's own name. From 1971-2013, I could call every guest by name after meeting him. I would learn 32 names, three times a week, and call them by name when they walked in for breakfast. That's Cader IV's job now, and it's a good thing because I think that the hard drive on my brain circuit is full. If I could dump out useless information such as ," Mary had a little lamb, it's fleece was white as snow", I might have room up there to store more information. However, until they learn how to do a brain dump, my storage capacity is full.

From my mother I learned the importance of smiling and laughing. Mom told me years ago, "When faced with adversity, you can either laugh or cry. You might as well laugh because neither choice is going to change the outcome". I firmly believe people who laugh a lot live longer. And in the people business, you sure as heck need to learn how to laugh because some of the things I have been asked over the years reminds me of another of  my Dad's favorite sayings when frustrated with someone--" He's just breathing oxygen that someone else could have used".

But the most important thing that I learned from my parents, and the one that I fervently hope that I have passed on to both Cader IV and his two sisters, is that all of business is about relationships. Your customers have to know that you care about them as human beings rather than as just a potential income source. I told Cader IV when I was running Riverview that I wanted any guest who came here to think of my name when they thought about quail hunting. It was OK for them to think about Riverview in the next thought, but they needed to think about me as a friend first, and then his thought would logically flow to calling here for a hunting reservation.

I have been blessed to have the finest guests and friends in the world. They have taught me a lot over the years--including how to laugh at some really crazy questions and suggestions ! We are having a great summer, and hope y'all are also.

Thursday, July 14, 2016

The power of prayer

Before I start on this short blog, I will say that I remember a line from one of my favorite country music songs that said," Sometimes I thank God for unanswered prayers". I know that to be a true sentiment as I have prayed for some things that I did not need, but certainly thought I did at the time.

However, after keeping Cader IV and Heather's two children from Sunday to Wednesday afternoon, I am certain that God has answered one of my prayers from long ago. When Martha and I were raising our children, at least I found raising a son to be more difficult than a daughter, and Cader IV has two older sisters. Well, my dad told me that I had gotten exactly the son I deserved because he acted just like I did at that age.

So, I can remember looking at Cader IV many times when he was young and praying," God, please give him a son someday who will be as much fun and a challenge to him as he is to me". Well, after this time spent with Caroline and CB Cox V, I think that it's a safe bet that my prayers are going to be answered. Martha and I had a blast with both of them, and loved every minute of it, but I can see those Cox genes coming!!

Speaking of prayer, we are very dry here. I promised myself that I would never pray for rain again after the flood of 1994, and I have kept that promise. However, I did mention to Him that we are getting pretty dry down here in South Georgia last night. I am also beseeching God to raise us up a great leader for this nation. We need one now in the worst way !

Friday, July 8, 2016

Sctor Rotation

In financial terms, I would define sector rotation in this manner," Every stock that I have purchased has suddenly fallen out of favor while every stock that I have sold is suddenly on everyone's buy list". In terms of Martha and I , we define sector rotation as taking turns keeping one of our triplet grandchildren for three days at a time on a rotating basis. This week finishes up the final rotation with Nate being the third and last.

Poor Nate's luck has his week as being the hottest week of the summer. Our temp/ humidity indexes have been 103-106 during his visit. Since his Papa is , shall we say"mature", we have had to revise some of our planned activities. A lot of the things we planned to do, we were still able to do, and we have substituted swimming pool time for the others. Of course the swimming pool water currently feels like a hot tub.

Meanwhile the only happy employees on Riverview this week are the ones on tractors since all of our tractors are air conditioned. As I was riding around on the Polaris with Nate yesterday, he asked me," Papa, where is everyone"? Having years of experience as an employer in South Georgia, I told him that we would find all of the men where ever the most shade was. Since I know all of those spots, we soon located everyone, and I could not blame them a bit.

If there is a slow time at Riverview , it is from early July until the end of August. All of the sweet corn has been harvested, all of the feed patches are planted, and we basically get down to maintenance, and praying for rain. We could use a good rain at the moment even though we know any storms we get with this kind of heat will be violent.

And speaking of praying,let's all pray for the United States. I was watching the news this morning of the ambush and deaths of the police officers in Dallas. Folks we have enough problems with ISIS and Muslim terrorists. We sure as heck do not need to turn on one another in this country. We need to be united as never before !

Well, I need to close for now as I'm certain that I am about to get a text informing me that my buddy is up and ready to spend his last morning with his Papa.


Wednesday, June 29, 2016

Praise the Lord

In about three hours we will pick our last ear of sweet corn for the 2016 season. I will not cry over saying good-bye to the harvesting crews or the ten trillion gnats. For the first time in three years, we have managed to sell all of our sweet corn at a profit, but that profit comes at a cost to someone else. I hate to agree with Al Gore, but it certainly seems that our storms in South Georgia are becoming a lot more intense than in prior years. For the past three years, there has been a lot of sweet corn grown in our area that has been flattened by severe thunderstorm winds. We were the recipients of those winds for the last two years, but we only had about five acres of wind damaged corn this season while some of our neighbors lost hundreds of acres. When demand exceeds supply in the fresh vegetable business, one can make some money.

Now that we are finishing up with our sweet corn harvest this morning, let the rains come. Barring flat tires or tractor break downs, we should plant our last food plots today, and the weather man is calling for strong storms this afternoon. Heavy rains in our woods would hit us just right today. Of course, that will mean that I will be out in Martha's yard picking up tree limbs once again tomorrow.

Speaking of the woods, they are really looking good, and we are beginning to see some young quail chicks these days as we ride around late in the day. I love watching the mama quail pretend to be wounded in order to pull us away from her precious chicks. If she only knew that I want them to survive as much as she does, she would not have to put on such an Oscar performance.

In closing this blog, I want to partially quote a very old and dear friend who also manages a little money for me. He and I go back to our college years together. The reason I say "partially quote" is because the last part is too profane to share, but it was still very funny. He said, " I have had the Asian Flu, been through Busted Bubbles, survived the Financial Crisis, been oiled down, and now I have been Brexited".

The more things change, the more they stay the same. Life is interesting. I just keep praying that God will raise up a real leader for this great nation. Right now, I do not see that person on the horizon in either party. I am an equal opportunity detester of all things Washington on both sides of the aisle!