As promised, I do believe the statute of limitations has run on this story that I am about to tell. As I mentioned in an earlier blog, our guests in the early 70’s would fly in on private prop planes, and most of the trips took 3-4 hours to arrive in Albany. Now this was before the days of cell phones and laptops; so most of our guests would hit the ground in a very well lubricated state of mind. I also should mention that they almost always landed after dark, and the Riverview of those days did not have nearly the night and accent lighting that we now have.
We had one major New York City bank that always booked the entire week, and rotated guests three times during the week. You must remember that in those days most of the private planes were prop planes, and most trips were 3-4 hours to Albany accompanied by heavy drinking while in flight. I always referred to this as the week from hell because the bank would hire a bus stocked with a bar to keep serving already over-served guests on the ride from the Albany airport to Riverview. Well, when the bus would pull up in the dark, guests would start tumbling out and heading in different directions although only about 25% of them had a clue where they were going, or where their cottages were. I would always have all hands on deck with flashlights, and we would try to capture and herd cats to their proper cottage. We also didn’t have nearly the night lighting back then on the Lodge grounds that we have now.
Well, as I had always feared, it finally happened. We lost a guest that our host company knew had gotten on the bus. As any of you who have been here know, most of our cottages sit on a very steep bluff overlooking the Flint River. I was just certain that we had a drowned, dead guest floating down the river.
I called my top five men together, and we divided the Lodge grounds up in sections. Each of us carried a flashlight, and walked all around screaming the name, Mr. Oscar, at the top of our lungs. As luck would have it , I finally heard a weak voice answering to his name. I yelled,” where are you?” his terse response was, “don’t know”. I then told him to walk towards the sound of my voice and my flashlight. His reply , again very terse was,” scared to”. When I asked him why he was scared to walk toward me, he replied that he had taken a step and had fallen 5-10 straight down, and that he was scared that if he moved again he would plunge to his death.
Viola! I now knew where the old coot was. He had walked off into the dark, and had stepped off of the top of our trap house, which was built like a concrete bunker recessed into the hillside. I knew that had to be the only 5-foot straight drop anywhere near where this herd had scattered. I walked around the trap, and helped him up and got him to his room. He had no memory of this incident at all the next day. However, I did get a bit of redemption as we never could find his glasses, and he couldn’t hit a bull in the butt with a base fiddle without his glasses.
We just do not see this type of behavior anymore here as all of our guests are on call and available for their business 24/7, and as far as I’m concerned, that is a good thing. In my opinion, the good old days at Riverview were not nearly as good as they are now from the perspective of management. I have a ton of stories to share in the future, but I will close with a somber prayer for the good folks in that little church in Texas who were killed yesterday. May God be with their families and their eternal souls. Should that happen in our little country church, there are at least 6-10 of us who carry concealed weapons with us to church, and I am one of them. However, if I sang in the choir, I would need a rifle because I don’t think I could hit someone if I shot from the back of our church to the front, and it isn’t a big church. I am, however, a very poor pistol shooter.