As long as I can remember, we have tried to sit at one of two particular tables at the Clubhouse inside the Red Lion Paper Valley Hotel, because they had pictures of my dad on them.
Each table in that sports bar had a theme, and my dad, who played for the Packers from 1961 through 1968, was included in the Super Bowl II table, and the Glory Days table. We joked that those were our tables when we sat there and it felt good to see good ole No. 77 kind of join in on the fun.
It was a silly tradition, but it never got old and we have lots of great memories of sitting at those tables, sometimes two pushed together, with friends and family.
Earlier this summer, during all the Mile of Music craziness, I walked past the Clubhouse and noticed a major renovation going on in there.
“What happened to the tables in there?” I asked a passing hotel employee.
“I’m not sure,” she answered. “But, I don’t think they’re going to be using them anymore.”
I felt a little sad about that, so I decided to take a shot. I scribbled my name, phone number and my Dad’s jersey number on a piece of scrap paper and gave it to the employee. I asked her to see if the hotel manager would let me buy our two tables, if they were still around.
I wasn’t even sure if the manager would get my scribbled note, much less be able to read my scrawl, especially during both a renovation and one of the busiest times at the hotel.
Earlier this week, though, I answered a call from the Red Lion Hotel and enjoyed a delightful conversation with hotel manager Linda Garvey.
It turns out, she had set aside both table tops, and was saving them for me. She said I could pick them up anytime and that she was giving them to me.
“I want them to have a good home,” she said.
How unbelievably nice is that?
Last night, my mom and I went down to pick them up and I got to thank Linda in person. She gave us a little tour of the upgraded Clubhouse, which is scheduled to open in two weeks, and showed us some really cool artwork fashioned from a few of the other table tops.
I know right where I’m going to put the tables, once I have stands made for them. They’re going to our family cabin so we can sit around those tables again with family and friends and share some laughs and great memories.
And, while our tables won’t be at the Clubhouse anymore, we’ll be sure to visit often because, along with all the good old stories we told there, we can add a new one about a really kind hotel manager who took time out of her busy life to reunite a sentimental family with a couple of tables they’ll treasure for the rest of their lives.