Yes, Virginia there is a Santa Claus, and yes, Riverview is open on Thanksgiving Day and weekend. We are also open on New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day, but we do shut down for a solid six days around Christmas. This gives our guides and kitchen staff a much-needed break in order to be fresh for the second half of our hunting season. A good friend of mine once made this profound observation when he stated,” What if the only things you had when you woke up one morning were the things that you had thought to thank God for the day before”. We take so many things for granted in this country that many people in other countries never come close to experiencing. That’s why I have learned to close my prayers with a catchall phrase thanking God for all the many other blessings that I have forgot to mention. That’s called “covering my bases”.
Two great Southern writers, Furman Bisher and Lewis Grizzard always wrote a column in the Atlanta Journal &Constitution about things that they were thankful for in the Thanksgiving edition of the paper. I knew Lewis personally, and have every book he ever wrote. Lewis would walk real close to the line with what he could get away with having printed in a paper. When he was in college, he wrote for one of the local Athens newspapers. We had a great linebacker at that time named Happy Dicks. We were playing the South Carolina Gamecocks that Saturday, and Lewis managed to slip the following headline past his elder editors, which said, “ Georgia plays Cocks with Dicks out”. Lewis was very proud of that one.
I am in no way in the league of each of these legends, but I wanted to list just a few of the things that I am both thankful and grateful for today:
- First and foremost, I am thankful that I worship a risen Lord, and that I have life eternal. So does Charles Manson, but he took the down escalator while I will be riding the up one!
- I am thankful that I still live in the greatest nation on earth, warts and all. Why do you think so many people are still trying to get into the US rather than out if this was not true?
- I am thankful for my wife of 47 years, Martha Cox, and I am very thankful for my three children and grandchildren who have never been anything but a source of joy and pride.
- I am thankful that Martha has done so well with her cancer surgery and chemo, and am grateful to see her feisty personality return.
- I am grateful for my health, which is something we all tend to take for granted until we no longer have it.
- I am thankful to be blessed with the best friends a man could ever have. They love me enough to tell me when I am wrong, and I even listen to them—sometimes.
- I am thankful to have a home to live in, food to eat, and clothes to wear. These are some of the blessings that we all too often take for granted also.
- I am thankful to have worked with a group of employees over the years who seem more like family to me than employees.
- And, I am very thankful to have the finest folks in the world as customers and friends of Riverview.
For those of you who live north of the Mason/Dixon line, let me just close with one of Grizzard’s lines that will help you to understand his character and flavor a bit better: “There’s a big difference between the words ‘naked’ and ‘nekkid’. ‘Naked’ means you don’t have any clothes on while ‘Nekkid’ means you don’t have any clothe on and you’re up to something.
Everyone at Riverview joins me in wishing you and your families a very blessed and Happy Thanksgiving Day and weekend!