You will probably notice that I did not title this blog “ The GOOD old days” because Riverview is a much more pleasant place to work than it was when I first came home in 1971. You must remember that cell phones, computers, laptops, and all of the other devices keeping us in constant connection with the world did not exist back then. Except for quail hunting the number one sport in those days was alcohol consumption, especially on the first night’s arrival and dinner. The average bar bill today for a party of six today is around $240. Back in the early 70’s, that figure was $600+. I had a friend who had an inflation-adjusting calculator who told me that in today’s dollars, that $600 would be over $2,000 today. That makes it easier for you to understand what I had to deal with on the first night arrival groups, which occurred three times a week.
One of the many great pieces of advice that my Dad gave me was to never argue with a drunk. I became very adroit at avoiding scenes, but sometimes I had to quite groups down since the old main lodge had one big dining room. Each group had their own table, but if someone got too loud and obnoxious, he could interfere with the good times of a group at an adjacent table. There were very few times that I had any difficulty with this although I did escort more than one guest to his cottage before he had finished his meal. It was either that or hit him in the head with a baseball bat.
One of my funnier inebriated guest memories did not really involve a loud and obnoxious guest, but he was a few drinks over the line. As I walked by his table, he grabbed me by my elbow and slurred, “You probably don’t meet any people as rich as I am.” I quickly answered, “Probably not, but I look forward to hearing more about it in the morning.” The recent issue of the Forbes 400 richest people in the US had just been delivered to me. As I looked around the dining room that night, I knew three people dining with us that night that were on that list.
Early the next morning I approached each of them, whom I knew well, and asked them if they would be willing to help me teach someone an object lesson. When I explained what I wanted to do, they all reluctantly agreed. That morning when the miscreant showed up for breakfast, I introduced him to each of these three men, and told him what Forbes said that they were worth. All three of them said that Forbes had over stated their net worth; so obviously none of them were our current President.
As we slowly walked to his table I casually said, “So, last night you told me that I probably never met anyone as rich as you. Now, what I want to know is just how damn rich are you?” He sheepishly responded, “Not nearly as rich as I was last night when the whiskey was talking.” This man hunted with me for many years until he sold his company, and I never called him by his given name. I would always just call him “ Big Money” when we were talking.
In closing, I wanted to mention that my eldest child has written a novel titled, A Flame in the Night, by Holland C Kirbo. I have read it, and liked it. Martha has always fussed at me to write a novel, but my brain isn’t wired that way. I love to read all kinds of books, and keep at least two books in the hole to read after I finish my current book. I just do not see how a writer takes a bunch of different characters with different plots, and ties them all together at the end. My attention span may be my problem.
I hope that all of you are managing to avoid the flu. It is almost pandemic in Georgia, and the one place I want to avoid is a doctor’s office. I recently received a call from my Internist’s office asking me to come in for my annual wellness check. Wellness check is Arabic for a dementia test. I called them and told them that I was sane enough to know that I was not coming in for a test until this flu season was over. The lady laughed and told me that pretty much guaranteed her that I was still of sound mind!