Returning to my hotel room after a round of golf with some bankers I was met by my sons, both dressed in their little coats and ties, their mom in tow, as they headed toward the lobby. “Where are you guys going?” I asked, stepping aside to let the trio pass, “Sorry dad” Nathan shrieked, “but we can’t talk now or we will be late for afternoon tea.” As Nathan and Jerod pulled their reluctant mother toward the tea room of the Greenbrier Hotel I looked at Libby and asked “Really?…. Afternoon Tea?” but she only managed to shrug her shoulders as her two short dates steered her toward the main dinning hall.
Extended pinky not withstanding, High Tea was just one of many unusual experiences enjoyed by our boys as they got a small taste of “how the other half lived” in our treks every spring to the Tennessee Bankers Association (TBA) annual meeting. Like us, most of those small community bankers were out of their element as we made excursions to places like, Bermuda, the Broadmoor in Colorado Springs, The Greenbrier in West Virginia, and the Breakers in Palm Beach.
My primary goal during these trips was to promote our construction company to the bankers who where looking to build new buildings, but we always found ways to have some family fun as well. Our boys helped me in the trade show booth in the mornings, enjoyed the resort during the day and then they had to dress up in “church clothes” each night for dinner.
We all had very fond memories of our unique trips and our kids experienced many “firsts” such as getting to order room service “like big boys”, making introductions at the dinner table and tipping the bellman. The experiences themselves were as diverse as horse back riding in Tempe, Arizona, skeet shooting classes at the Hermitage, hiking Pikes Peak, mountain biking in Lake Tahoe, Falconry training in West Virginia and white water rafting on the Arkansas river.
It has been more than ten years since Jerod and Nathan both were able to attend the TBA meeting; that is, until two weeks ago when we all went to The Belmond Charleston Place in Charleston, SC, but making the event even more special was Nathan’s wife Bethany, as well as my granddaughters Elizabeth and Lydia, were able to attend as well.
The Belmond was the sight of the last TBA event that Libby attended with me just over three years ago and once again it coincided with our wedding anniversary, so its no wonder that nearly every event and every land mark in the old city of Charleston released a new memory from our time there.
It was not hard to image how proud Libby would have been to see our granddaughters helping in the booth, swimming in the pool, riding horse-drawn carriages and then dressing up in their “church clothes” for dinner at night.