I remember the day that Cader IV called me after graduation from college with a couple of good job offers. When he called to say, “Dad, I need to talk to you”, all I could think was that he was in some kind of trouble. When he told me that he was thinking about coming home to work in the family business, I shared with him the special joys and hells of working with a father since I had done the same thing. It has really worked out well, and I am so proud of him!
I remember sitting on our patio with Martha when she suggested that I should hire Greg Hays because he had such great people skills. Greg’s father owns the land bordering us, and I have jokingly stated that I hired him to keep him from poaching on Riverview. He is a great asset to Riverview. Greg has moved more into our agricultural operations, but he is still available and willing to do anything in the hunting division. We are blessed to have Greg!
I remember interviewing Jerry Cooper at his college and hiring him for a part-time job. I quickly converted him to full-time when I observed his intelligence, integrity, and drive. Jerry was our number one guide for many years, but I knew that he wanted to move into management. Patience is a virtue that neither Jerry nor I possess, but he hung on until his opportunity to become our hunting manager arrived. I could not be prouder of his loyalty and job performance!
And finally, Andy Hay. Andy was wilder than a March Hare in his younger years, but he had a latent talent that I recognized. We stuck by him through his accident and rehab, and have been greatly rewarded by his talents and contributions to Riverview.
And lastly, I remember our former hunting manager Aaron Faircloth who passed away of cancer in 1999. When I first came home, Pop had just fired our manager due to an ethics violation. He got Aaron and me in a room together and said, “Cader you know everything about finance and accounting, but you don’t know much about this business of ours, and how it works. Aaron, you know this business, but know nothing of the financial aspect of Riverview; so I’m going to put the two of you together to make one manager.”
Aaron and I even shared an office side by side for three years. In all of our years together, we never had an argument or hurt feelings. He was a man of few words, but what he said was worth listening to. I just want to share about three of my many Aaron memories:
- He and I were burning the Yates place at night. We walked, talked, and took turns with the firepot. I said something about the direction of the highway on one side and the river on the other. He quietly told me that I was disoriented and wrong. I told him that I was completely certain that I was correct. In about an hour we heard a car. Aaron calmly said, “Well, I’ll be damn. Just listen to that car driving up the river.”
- We had a training guide once that just wasn’t going to make it. I asked Aaron to talk to him which he did. He told the young man, “Son, your dad should have used a condom the night that you were conceived.”
- And finally just a story about his toughness. We had a group who had just arrived at their cottage. They called us in a panic stating that a big snake was trying to get into their cottage. Aaron and I scooted down there in a hurry. We saw that it was a big White Oak Runner. Aaron grabbed the snake by the tail just before he got into the cottage. The snake whirled around quickly and sunk his fangs into his finger. Aaron pulled the fangs out, broke the snake’s neck, flung him over the riverbank, sucked the blood off of his finger, and turned to walk back to the car. One of the guests in that cottage cornered me that night to ask who Aaron was. When I told him his position at Riverview, the gentleman stated, “he can assign me to any guides, courses, or dogs he wants, and I’m not going to say a word because I don’t want to get on his bad side.”
Aaron was a unique man, and I still miss him!
Now that my nostalgia period is over, let me just say that our hunting season is going great! We are having one of our best fall weather patterns in years. It’s great to also see and talk to a bunch of happy hunters.
May God bless y’all, and I hope you have a joyous Thanksgiving!