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!