The Trophy Room

Elephant

One of the hardest jobs I ever had was one I didn’t seek out. Mr. Virgo had lost his job at a historic hotel when his position was eliminated due to budgetary cutbacks. It wasn’t a week later when he came to me and asked how I’d like to manage a luxury boutique hotel on 4200 acres in Pagosa Springs, CO. We had discussed the possibility of buying a bed and breakfast someday so I was working the front desk at a Best Western in order to learn the ropes of the hospitality industry. Mr. Virgo was SO excited by the opportunity to move back to Pagosa. He had lived there years earlier but went back to Florida when his dad got sick. Always up for an adventure, I said “Sure!” The next week, we drove through a whiteout blizzard to the interview.

This hotel is a beautiful place. After entering through the electronic gate, you drive about a mile or so through fields of domesticated elk, past the skeet range and the barn, and head up to the top of a hill. The hotel had eight sleeping rooms, a bar, a freestanding restaurant, a spa, and an impressive wine cellar. When we entered the foyer, we were met with an original Chihuly glass sculpture on the wall, travertine floors and some pretty impressive artwork. Each suite is decorated to represent a different country. It truly is stunning.

Once we had a tour of the hotel, we met with the owners in their office at the big house located on a twin knob. We waited in the sitting room. When the owner came to the door to call Mr. Virgo in, he turned to me and said, “Let’s go.” I looked at him in confusion and he said, ”You’re being interviewed as well.” “For what?!” I asked. “Marketing Director, Catering, Public Relations…whatever I need.” My husband knew me well. He knew if I would have known he wanted me to do this job, I would have said no and explained a million reasons why. Top of the list was having absolutely NO experience in this particular arena. I would have never believed I could do that. HE knew I could and he was the one to teach me. I dutifully got up and went into the interview. That’s when I saw it. A polar bear.

A real, dead, gorgeous…huge polar bear. Once I got over the shock, I was angry. I have never hunted unless you count varmints at the farm. I would never in a million years shoot a polar bear to put in my office. However…my husband needed a job and apparently I was in the running for one as well, so I swallowed my feelings and focused on the interview…praying we wouldn’t get THIS job. We did.

The first time we were given a tour of the big house, we were ushered into “the trophy room”…a HUGE room filled with dead animals. And there…right in the middle of it all…was an elephant. I was sick. I don’t know how I was going to market this place. That’s why this was the hardest job I’ve ever had…I had to do something every day that went against everything I believed in. I loved the people who worked there but thank God the job only lasted a year.

I was horrified when I read that our President said that trophy hunters could now bring elephants into the country from Zambia and Zimbabwe. The public outcry caused him to reverse that decision twenty-four hours later for further review. It goes against his M.O. to change course once a decision has been made so I am grateful he listened to the people. These are majestic creatures and their numbers continue to decline. When I say my prayers, I pray for conservation of our treasures. I do not understand trophy hunting. I do not understand the sport in being driven up to an animal, shooting it, then being driven back to the lodge for a celebratory scotch and cigar. I hope the law will stand and elephants will not be allowed to be brought here to decorate some rich person’s den. ❤️

“The righteous care for the needs of their animals, but the kindest acts of the wicked are cruel.”
‭‭Proverbs‬ ‭12:10‬ ‭NIV‬‬