The Old Days at Riverview

You will notice in the title of this blog that I did not say ” The GOOD Old days” because a lot of them were not so good. Every now and then when Cader IV is complaining about a hectic day around here these days, I feel compelled to share some of my stories from my early years back home in the early 70’s. I’m just going to tell one story here, but I have many of them.


Before telling the story, allow me to set the scene for you. Back then, there were no cell phones, IPads, laptops, etc. We had one television in the main lodge and one phone in each of five cottages. A full house was 20 guests. Most of those guests flew in on the old Gulfstream prop planes, and it took them 3-4 hours to get here. Evidently one of the requirements for being invited to sit on one of those planes was that you had to drink liquor from the time you got on the plane until the time you landed.


Our most dreaded week of the season each year was when one of the major New York City banks booked out the entire week. They would rotate guests every two days. The logistics alone would have been a nightmare, but it was complicated by the fact that our “go to” guy at the bank was only interested in his guide,cottage, hunting course etc. The bank was not satisfied with allowing their guests four hours of drinking time on the plane. Oh no, they would charter a bus with a bar to drive their guests to Riverview.


Now, I want you to get a mental picture of this. Twenty folks who were drunker than Fido’s butt would pull in here after dark, and start stumbling out of the bus ,scattering like a flushed covey of quail. Did I mention that we did not have the night lighting on the grounds that we now have?


I would assemble as many of the staff as possible with the task of finding guests, and taking them and their luggage to their assigned cottages. Sometimes we didn’t know what their assigned cottage was because the host had taken his broad butt into the one he wanted, and left us holding the bag. Well, one fateful night, it finally happened. After herding all of our intoxicated guests into their respective rooms, we found ourselves missing a guest. I found the host and asked him if Mr. Oscar was on the bus when they left the airport. He confirmed that he was.


Any of you reading this who have visited Riverview know that we have some fairly steep drop offs leading down to the Flint River that are very near our cottages. Every bad scenario was running through my head as three of us set out all over the Lodge grounds yelling Mr. Oscar’s name to the top of our lungs. Finally, I heard a weak answer when I called his name. I asked, ” where are you”? His terse reply,”Don’t know”. I then said, “Walk toward my voice and the flashlight”. Again a very short reply,”scared to”. When I inquired as to why, he said, ” I took one step and fell 10 feet straight down. I’m afraid that the next step could be 100 feet”.


That was when I knew where he was. He had walked right off the top of our trap house which was recessed, bunker style, into the side of a hill, and it was about an 8 foot drop from the concrete top to the grass below. Had he not been drunk, he would have probably broken his neck. As it turned out, the only think that he broke was his glasses.


There are many, many stories of the first night’s stay here during the old days. I, for one, am very happy to say that this wireless and connected world of ours keeps our guests on their toes all of the time. I can’t even remember the last time that I have witnessed an over-served guest here, and sober guests are much more pleasant to deal with than drunk ones.