Archive » July 2013 » Columns

Have you ever heard of the Albany Pine Bush Preserve? Better yet, have you ever visited it? Walked on the trails? Attended an educational program?

If you have never heard of the Pine Bush, I hope to help you come to know a bit more about it through this column. If you have visited before, I hope to point out something new to you, as I share what’s currently happening in the Albany Pine Bush Preserve.

Spring is here, the days are longer, prairie willow is blooming in the preserve, and the woodcocks are displaying. Though this is the season of new life and new beginnings, I have been thinking a lot about history lately.

This year is the 25th anniversary of the Albany Pine Bush Preserve Commission and history is also the theme of this year’s Lupine Fest. History, like many things, is something that is in hiding almost everywhere once you start looking.

When people come to the Albany Pine Bush Preserve, one of the first things they usually notice is the sand underneath their feet. The story of how this sand got here starts with a large sheet of ice (a glacier) 20,000 years ago.

The glacier was about a mile high and covered almost the entire state of New York. As the earth warmed, the glacier began to melt, forming what is known as Glacial Lake Albany. This lake was about 160 miles long and stretched from present-day Newburg to Glens Falls. Rivers flowed into the lake, bringing sand and other deposits with them and formed deltas at the edge of the lake. 

There are two main theories as to what happened to the lake. One theory is that, eventually, the land rebounded after the pressure of the glacier was gone and the lake drained.

The other is that a natural dam to the south broke and the lake drained out near Long Island Sound. The sand was left behind and the wind blew it into dunes. This sand is the foundation of the Pine Bush and the story of how this sand got here is history.

Today, the Pine Bush Preserve is a chopped-up patchwork of protected land surrounded by roads and development. You can hear the whir of traffic from the New York State Thruway and other roads from almost every trail here.

I often explain to visitors that this was not the first road to go through the Pine Bush. The Pine Bush was historically used as a footpath connecting Fort Orange (once located where Albany is today) to the hunting grounds in present-day Schenectady. This is history in hiding again.

History helps us to tell the story of this place, of how it came to look like it does now. History helps to connect people to this place by exploring human relationships to the natural world in the past and present.

History is definitely a part of the Albany Pine Bush Preserve and a part of all of our programs though sometimes it may be in hiding. This year’s Lupine Fest is a great chance for you to come learn about and celebrate the history of the Pine Bush.

This is a free event on Saturday, May 18, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. There will be hikes, storytelling, presentations on falconry and other historic topics, face-painting, games, crafts, and much more.

If you want more information about the Albany Pine Bush Preserve or the Lupine Fest, feel free to check the website: www.AlbanyPineBush.org, give the commission a call at 456-0655, or stop into the Discovery Center at 195 New Karner Road in Albany.

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This Tuesday, July 16, the Old Men of The Mountain met at Mrs. K's Restaurant in Middleburgh and the day already started out hot.  What can anyone say about a day, like Tuesday, in the Hilltowns?

For most of the OFs, it was another day with routine chores to be done, normal doctor visits, trips to the store, haul the wife around, and, of course, breakfast with the Old Men.

Then the few who watch the news to get the weather see all that is going on in other places on Tuesday and say, “Thank goodness we are on the Hill (or in the valley of Schoharie for the most part); just leave us alone.” 

The OFs will take their aches and pains, and their problems and handle them themselves. These OFs are not whiners and they do not complain, “Why is everybody always picking on me?”

“Take your lumps and man up,” the OFs say. “This makes you a better person all around.”

Oh yes, it was Tuesday, the 16th of July.

Mining memories

The OFs starting talking about memories and how far back they could remember, really, on their own, not by being prompted by some suggesting they did something together, such as, “Hey, do you remember when we did such and such, or this and that?”

The question was just cold-calling memories and how far back could anyone recall. It wasn't that far back, not when the OFs were 2 to 6 years old, but, after 6 years of age, sometimes fuzzy thoughts would come about a specific recollection. 

Then that old adversary — time — entered in, and this might have altered the actual memory of what happened, according to the OFs.

Not many of the OFs could actually dredge up childhood memories. The OFs could remember events, and about the time these events might have occurred, but by now the OF was at least in school.

The memories were general, like no one knew they were poor because the OFs were all poor. The OFs have covered that topic before, but the memories, which were accurate, were inclusive in nature.

As the OFs became teenagers, or close to teenagers, the recollections became more vivid. The OFs do not know how true this is with others but cold-calling memories from really young ages without being coached is not a thing most of them could do.

Speaking of memories, when the OFs were young men, some memories are very vivid, especially for those that were in World War II — those memories will linger.

This was brought up by one OF mentioning that there are only four World War II veterans left in the town of Berne. This OF mentioned that something is being planned by the town of Berne for the vets of this era, but he did not elaborate. Whatever the plan is, we think it should have some music of the Big Band era included, along with a USO-type show, like those put on by the United Service Organizations.

The buzz

On a totally unrelated topic, one of the OFs has had a recent encounter with ground bees.  This OF reported that, fortunately, he was close to water and was able to jump in.

The OF said the bees were all over him but he did not report if he was able to get into the water quick enough so he did not receive too many stings — if any at all. This brought out bee stories again, and it seems many of the OFs have disturbed these little critters from time to time and had their tales of escape.

This raises the question: Would you rather have a tiger on your tail or thousands of bees chasing your butt? The OFs said the tiger, because at least you could shoot it, but with bees. even if you have a double-barrel shotgun, it would be impossible to stand and shoot at a swarm of bees that mad at you.

That would be like kicking the ocean because you are mad at it. One OF said you would be lucky to hit one bee.

Another OG said that, if you didn't have a gun, your goose is cooked no matter what.

Then another OF jumped in and claimed that at least he could wrestle with the tiger and something might happen in his favor, but how the h--- are you going to ward off thousands of ticked-off bees?

Ticked again

’Tis the season and the OFs started talking about ticks again and how the OFs prepare to mow the lawn. Of course, there is always one OF who has the ultimate answer, and his was, “Hey, the ticks are winning.  I just don't mow the lawn anymore. I have sheep and they do it for me.”

“Yeah, right,” was the reply.

Some OFs bundle up from head to toe; others spray themselves with Deet; others (and this was recommended no matter what protection is used) said that they check themselves thoroughly when done, either using mirrors or having the wife look at their backside.

Simpler times

Going back to the memory item, where and when did this all start?  The OFs do not remember ever worrying about things like ticks and bees. The OFs ran around barefoot, put in hay hatless and shirtless, and quite often in shorts.

They would lie in the grass or hide in the brush along hedgerows to shoot woodchucks, and some even had the occasional tussle in the hay. Nobody even heard of Lyme disease and, as far as the OFs know, nobody ever had it.

The OFs are OFs, and as a rule do not like a lot of the changes that are going on, and think many of these changes are not forward steps, but backward steps. They love their kids and grandkids but now think they coddled their kids too much, and that the kids today are overly coddled.

Times they are a-changin’. The OFs’ parents thought we would never amount to much with the ducktail haircuts, Elvis, the jitterbug, rock and roll, etc. The coup de grace was spending too much time on that new-fangled thing — the telephone. Tying up the party lines forever.

So one OF asked, “What's different now?”

“Not much,” another OF answered. “But at least we had manners, even if we had nothing.  Now the kids have, or want, everything, but what they don't have, and don’t even seem to want is manners.”

Those OFs who made it Mrs. K's Restaurant, in Middleburgh on a nothing Tuesday in July, but, hey, put a nick in the post all the OFs at Mrs. K's were: Roger Chapman, Bob Benac, Art Frament, Steve Kelly, Bill Bartholomew, George Washburn, Robie Osterman, John Rossmann, Frank Pauli, Roger Fairchild, Jay Taylor, Dave Williams, Mark Traver, Glenn Patterson, Harold Guest, Ted Willsey, Duane Wagenbaugh, Bob Lassome, Rich Donnelly, Carl Walls, Miner Stevens, Don Woods, Mace Porter, Gary Porter, Lou Schenck, Ken Hughes, Don Moser, Jim Rissacher, and me (and that makes it a very important day indeed.)

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One of my heroes in journalism is Amy Goodman, host of Pacifica Radio's "Democracy Now!" heard locally on WRPI 91.5 FM. I've had the good fortune of hearing Ms. Goodman speak in person several times.

One story she loves to tell is when she got invited to appear on the daytime TV talk show hosted by Sally Jesse Raphael. Instead of thinking about the significant implications of suddenly having access to a huge audience, her only thought was: "What should I wear?"

I bring this up because the other day one of my other heroes in journalism, the Enterprise's superlative and award-winning editor, Melissa Hale-Spencer, contacted me about stopping by for a photo and asking me to come up with a name for my column. How exciting!

Just visiting The Enterprise is such a nice experience. Main Street in Altamont is so beautiful. Then when you get to The Enterprise, you see that lovely porch with the inviting Adirondack chair and you just feel like putting up your feet and settin' a spell.

That welcoming and bucolic imagery changes when you go inside and see a busy office with so many journalism awards on the walls. We really are lucky to have such a fine local paper. Being a part of it personally in some small way is quite an honor as well. That's why I really wanted to get the photo and column title right. Let's start with the photo.

My wardrobe basically consists of two things — dress shirts I wear with ties at work, and T-shirts for everything else. The only constraint I had to follow was to not wear anything black, since the photo background would be black.

You'd think this would be an easy choice, but, since this photo was going on the newly revised Enterprise website, it was kind of a big thing. If you know what I look like, you know I'm not working with much to begin with so anything that would give me an edge was called for.

First, I thought about wearing a T-shirt. I have tons to choose from, mostly motorcycle related. The problem is, if I wore a Norton T-shirt, my BMWs might get offended. If I wore a BSA T-shirts, some might think that stood for Boy Scouts of America when what it really stands for is Birmingham Small Arms. Then I thought about wearing one of my Minnesota Vikings T-shirts but, living in Giants country, I opted against that as well.

Why upset anyone, right?

Since virtually all of my T-shirts have some kind of saying or message on them, I quickly realized they would not work. It's not hard to see why Ms. Goodman was so worried about what to wear.

I finally settled on a dress shirt, but without a tie, to appear less formal and more casual. Of course, then you have to make sure the buttons are opened in such a way that you get just the right amount of chest hair showing.

I had my daughter give me a haircut the day before, and I scheduled my dental cleaning that day, in an attempt to look as sharp as I could. If you check out the photo, you can be sure that's about as good as it gets, believe me.

I'm sure glad I'm not on TV or anything like that. The stress of choosing clothes and dealing with grooming would be too much for me.

There are many reasons why some of us are happier behind the keyboard.

What’s in a name?

The next issue was coming up with a name for my column. For years, it just ran with the title "Commentary," which was a little generic but it is what it is. So now I had to think up some potentially good names for my column. Here's what I came up with:

Observations: I liked this one but I think I saw it used somewhere else, too bad;

Running with Scissors: Good name for a rock band, too, but a little too clichéd;

Crank it Up!: I use this one when I write for motorcycle magazines (it ties in with my nickname "Cranky Frankie"), so I decided against it;

The Oblique Angle: I like this but no one except my math-loving daughter knows what oblique means;

Ordinary Things: Has a nice ring to it, but it's too low energy for me;

The Bard of Banality: Wouldn't it be nice to be the Bard of something;

Skipping Stones: Beautiful imagery, but I rarely get to skip stones and, when I do, I'm not even that good;

Carrying On: I like this one a lot but it's a little too British, right Guvnor?;

Just Looking: That's what journalists do all the time, after all;

Memories: I like this but what would I do when my own memory starts to go?;

Serenity Now: Yes it's a Seinfeld in-joke but it's just so good;

 — Watching and Waiting: Nice but it's too tied in to needing to use the bathroom on a crowded plane or train;

From the Park Bench: Too bad the image of a creepy guy in a trench coat comes to mind;

The Side of the Road: Anyone who's ever had a flat tire wouldn't like this I'm sure;

A Bag of Onions: I really like this one. It's about the time when my in-laws brought us a bag of onions from their garden, and I wound up mistakenly taking the bag to work as my lunch. My whole life is like having a bag of onions when you really need pastrami on rye. I only decided against it because I'd hate to have to keep telling the story over and over again.

So to help think up a name for this column, I decided to analyze how I come up with them anyway. What happens is I'll be running, or in the shower, or in bed half asleep, and just be thinking about something.

It could be anything, like why it's so hard to get that last drop of soda out of the can when it wants to hide behind that little lip; or why you go to bed fine and wake up with a cold; or how come, no matter how much space you have in your house, you tend to fill it up.

So that's when I realized my column name had to be Thinking about Things, because that's exactly what I do. In fact, many times it will appear as if I'm either not interested, sad, bored, or rude, but in reality, I'm just thinking. About things. So now you know.

Of course I'm extremely happy to be a part of the Enterprise team as this grand little paper reaches out to cyber-space. What a ride it's been so far, and what a ride it'll continue to be. I think.

I’ve been noticing lately that certain members of our population have taken to wearing very large sunglasses. Now, I mention this out of real concern for both national security and horrible fashion crimes.

I’m not really sure where the whole giant-sunglasses trend started but I suspect it was in the pages of very thick European fashion magazines. Those are the glossy bricks that feature pictures of models that look more like alien creatures than humans and that’s what really tipped me off. Now, stay with me.

What if a race of highly intelligent aliens was really interested in our planet?  But, due to their appearance, felt they couldn’t really walk among us safely, as we’d all freak out and attack them on sight.

See, they look pretty much like us, except for huge reptilian eyes and a taste for fresh kale. Both are obvious tip-offs that they’re not human. I mean kale? Really?

In order to come here and get our kale, they had to make the stuff seem healthy or popular so eating it wouldn’t make people pay attention. I figure they covered this by quietly sending mind-to-mind messages to health nuts the world over to like kale.

I mean how else would you explain the sudden popularity of a leafy vegetable that resembles green leather and needs to be massaged with oil or cooked to be edible?

But the huge reptilian eyes were a bigger issue.

Then they got hold of a copy of European Vogue, looked at the ad for Dolce and Gabbana sunglasses, and had their eureka moment. They sent further brainwash messages to eyeglass designers to start enlarging sunglasses until they were big enough to basically allow a wearer to rob a bank in a pair and be utterly unrecognizable.

They also mentally suggested using lots of old pictures of Sophia Loren and Jackie Kennedy from the ’50s and ’60s to further bolster the new retro-chic, huge sunglass kick and they were off.

So does that mean that every person you now see wearing huge sunglasses is an alien looking to eat your kale? Very likely.

I mean logically, why would a normal-looking human being want to wear sunglasses so huge, ungainly, and ugly that their own parents wouldn’t recognize them?

I’m not talking about those wrap-around visors some seniors wear over prescription glasses. They’re scary, but they have a specific purpose.

No, we’re talking about “fashion” sunglasses here. These monstrosities, when genuine, cost more than my first car and could block not just UV radiation, but pretty much the entire visible spectrum of light. When I see people driving in these, I seriously wonder if they’re actually asleep, as you’d never be able to tell, so impenetrable are these lenses.

But most of these fashion crimes are made worse by the fact that the glasses in question are actually cheap knock-offs that offer about as much eye protection as a tissue stained with weak tea. If you really want to protect your eyes, as eye doctors now suggest, then huge, ugly cheap fake sunglasses may not be your best bet.

I mean, they’ll hurt your eyes and make it likely you’ll be mistaken for an alien and grabbed by Homeland Security types. And, if they catch you eating kale, then I’d say you’re pretty much alien toast.

If you want to protect your eyes, go to a nice store, buy some real sunglasses that cover your eyes, not up to your hairline, and wear them outside when it’s bright.

Wearing them 24 hours a day, seven days a week just proves you’re an alien life form. Why else would you do such a thing? Fashion by nature is very silly and looking in Vogue proves that by about the fourth page.

Would a normal human being really go to the mall or out to dinner wearing skin-tight, leopard-print leggings; a leather skirt cut three millimeters below your naughty bits; heels high enough to cause nosebleeds; topped off by a $900 cotton T-shirt and $3,000 sunglasses? Oh yeah, and without anything underneath but a thong constructed of dental floss and a single cotton ball? That’s fashion.

So, to the aliens, I say: Take the kale and go in peace but please brainwash the fashionistas back to where a simple pair of Ray-Bans will suffice. If you don’t act soon, the sunglasses will start to look like a full-face motorcycle helmet with a smoked shield by this time next year. And I won’t even get into the issue with the dreaded “helmet hair.”

Editor’s note: Michael Seinberg says his fashion sense (if you can call it that) includes jeans, T-shirts, and sneakers. In other words, he never left the late ’70s.

— Photo by Max Chmura

Golfing for a cause: Following a downpour at the Community Caregivers’ golf outing, held on June 12, sponsors of the event posed with the co-chairs and executive director. From left are: Dave Brobek, president and chief executive officer of Blasch Precision Ceramics; Chris Cassidy, senior vice president of Investments at Wells Fargo Advisors; Committee Co-chair Elaine Roemer; Michael Castellana, president and chief executive officer of the State Employees’ Federal Credit Union; Committee Co-chair Regina DuBois; and Tom Tipple, executive director of Community Caregivers. Other sponsors include Adirondack Environmental Systems Inc., Albany Medical Center, and the Times Union.

It’s amazing how familiar that phrase — and that cheery little “thumbs up” icon — have become. Social media websites like Facebook and LinkedIn are part of our lives. They allow us to connect in ways that weren’t possible even a few years ago.

Social media websites are particularly wonderful for not-for-profit organizations. We are very pleased to announce that Community Caregivers is now on Facebook and LinkedIn. So please, find us online, then “like” us and “follow” us — and let us know what you think.

Like us in person, too

Do you have some free time this summer? Could you spare a few hours a week or month?

We could really use your help. The number of neighbors requesting help is outpacing the number of new volunteers.

So, if you’ve been thinking about volunteering, give us a call. And if you haven’t been thinking about volunteering, maybe it’s time to consider it. There is no substitute for the wonderful feeling you get when you help a neighbor.

Here are some current requests we would like to fill:

— If you enjoy light housekeeping and want to make another person happy and comfortable in his or her living space, we have several clients who are currently in need of someone to help them with light housekeeping tasks on a regular basis.

— Spending a few hours once a week with someone who is homebound can turn a dull day into an extraordinary one. If you have a few hours a week to spare and enjoy good conversation, volunteering to be a friendly visitor is for you. We have several opportunities for both male and female volunteers.

— We are looking for a female volunteer with a flexible schedule to assist a sociable, physically challenged individual who needs someone to keep her company and help her learn to navigate independently in the community.

— We have a client who needs a ride from regular medical procedures in Albany to his home in Guilderland — one or two mornings a week.

— If you have three hours once a week, you could help a recent widow and her adult son complete their errands within a small area in a convenient Guilderland location. (You may get a few errands done yourself!)

— Do you speak Greek? An older gentleman with a hearing impairment whose native language is Greek would like visits from a male volunteer (and perhaps go out for rides or coffee).

In addition, we are always looking for volunteers to provide transportation for our regular clients as needed from week to week.

Alzheimer’s Association and CC pair up

The Alzheimer’s Association and Community Caregivers are presenting a series of caregiver information workshops on Alzheimer’s disease and other dementias. The programs will be held at the Bethlehem Library on Sept. 6 and 20, Oct. 4 and 18, and Nov. 8 and 22. All sessions will take place at 1 p.m.

There is no charge to attend, but you must register. For more information, go online to www.communitycaregivers.org. To register, contact Tonya Garmley at 867-4999, ext. 200 or tonya.garmley@alz.org.

Volunteer orientation schedule

All Community Caregivers volunteers must attend a one-hour orientation session before they can provide service to our clients. If you’re interested in attending, pre-register by calling our office at 456-2898 or by sending an e-mail to info@comunitycaregivers.org with your name, e-mail address, and telephone number.

Sessions are currently scheduled for July 17 at 10 a.m., Aug. 15 at noon (feel free to bring a brown bag lunch), and Aug. 27 at 11 a.m. — all will be held at the Community Caregivers’ office.

If you’d like to schedule a one-on-one session or plan a session to accommodate a particular group or organization, please e-mail info@comunitycaregivers.org or call us at 456-2898.

Editor’s note: Mary Neuman is on the Community Caregivers Publicity Committee.

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It’s amazing how familiar that phrase — and that cheery little “thumbs up” icon — have become. Social media websites like Facebook and LinkedIn are part of our lives. They allow us to connect in ways that weren’t possible even a few years ago.

High-flying cake: Inspired by an Old Men of the Mountain column, the Masons in Berne held a gathering celebrating the C-130, which featured this cake, designed by Dana Sherman’s daughter, Debbie, the bakery manager for Price Chopper. She researched the planes, and Price Chopper made the photos into something edible and delicious, according to the OMOTM scribe, John R. Williams.

On Tuesday, July 2, the Old Men of the Mountain met at the Hilltown Café in Rensselaerville. Up in the Helderbergs, as the OFs imagine around most of the Hilltowns, driving can be a challenge at times.

Tuesday morning, the OFs complained about the drizzle and the fog with one OF missing his turn because he could not see through the patch of fog and he became lost for a spell. Most of the OFs ran into the same situation — fog, drizzle, rain, clear, then repeat, then repeat the repeat. Still in all, many made it to the Hilltown Café and filled it up.

The banter was fast and went from one topic to another, starting with barn cats and farm animals; to how many miles waitresses and waiters put on their shoes, running back and forth to kitchen cabinets and countertops; to airplanes; to the sugar-added coal tar called syrup, and the real stuff from the maple tree; to gardens, hearing aids, snakes and turtles, whales and dolphins; to the design of the newer cars; and getting old. Now all this scribe needs to do is expound on these without getting wordy.

The OFs who had farms had barn cats — lots of barn cats, and no mice, or, if there were any, they didn't last long. Sliding back the stable door in the morning — especially in the fall, winter, and early spring — a farmer saw all the animals would start to stir with the sound.

The cows lying down would start to stand and the cats that would sleep on a particular cow, generally at the back hip or right on top, would jump down, and the others would show up from their own hiding places in the barn, and gather for their morning ration of warm, fresh milk.

One OF mentioned that he couldn’t remember ever feeding the cats anything, just the morning and evening milk. Most of these cats were untouchable; a few were friendly and could be petted.

Sometimes, one OF said, his mom would pick a couple out for pets, and they were house cats but again not fed anything like cat food — they ate what the dogs ate: scraps and mice.

The OFs also discussed the way the cats were taken care of when they became injured, or had distemper, or how most of the animals that became incapacitated were dealt with. It was humane, and done with a considerable amount of sadness, but in many cases prevented the spread of certain diseases. Today every farmer would be arrested.

Reptiles know where they want to go

In the spring and in the fall, the turtles migrated from one place to another. Many of the OFs have watched some of these migrations for years.

A couple of OFs said they have pictures of snapping turtles that must be 14 to 16 inches across but they are not going to monkey with these things to find out if they are 14 and 3/4 or 16 and 1/2. Two of these critters are so old they are green with mold on the top of their shells.

One OF said that there is one that crosses the road going from a winter swamp to a summer pond, and this sucker is huge. The neighbors and this OF have stood on either side of the turtle and stopped traffic until it is able to complete this part of its journey. The turtle ambles halfway across the road and has to stop before continuing on; the road crossing takes at least 15 minutes.

Trying to alter the direction of a box turtle, or any other turtle, is fruitless.  They just turn around and proceed in the direction they chose.

One OF said he saw a turtle head toward a swampy area, and the turtle was out in the blazing sun so the OF picked it up and took it to where he thought it was headed in the swampy area and put it down and left it. He came back, he said, in a couple of hours and there was the same turtle in the blazing sun a few feet from where he picked it up still headed in the direction of the swampy area. Go figure.

The OFs don't know how much of this is just coincidence in each separate encounter with these creatures or if that is true with all of them because one OF said he found the same thing happens with snakes — not just one but quite a few.

This OF said his wife did not like snakes up around the house and he said he did not want to kill them because they were so helpful to the environment, so he would gather them up, put them in his pocket, or in a backpack, and take them about a mile or so away and let them go in a hedgerow. The OF said, no matter how many he hauled away, they still had snakes.

One day, the OF saw a snake head for the stone steps leading to his house, so he grabbed at it and missed. On the second grab, he was quite a ways to the back of the snake and the major portion of the snake was in the hole.

The OF said those suckers can pull, but he pulled harder and the tail broke so now the snake had a Z-shaped tail. The OF took it and let it go where he generally let the others go.

Two days later, what is going down that same hole?  The snake with the broken tail.

“No wonder I couldn't get rid of them,” the OF said. “They just kept coming back.”

Countertop conundrum

The OFs talked about countertops, and the new craze of granite or stone or concrete countertops. All the OFs who were in on the discussion advised against using this type of countertop.

Two of the OFs said, not only did the contractor advise against it when remodeling their kitchen, but so did the supplier.

One OF said, when they were doing their kitchen, they were at the supplier looking at the granite displays they had and the kitchen designer hesitated, and said she would gladly sell the OF the granite because it was a lot more money but she did not think the OF would be happy with it. In this case, the contractor said the same thing.

One OF said they were advised against getting these glass-top stoves, by, again, the contractor and the supplier.

Hmm.  Do they know something the rest of us don't?

One OF said his countertop is tile that he installed himself, with his own design, breaking pieces of tile, and grouting them in. Some of the OFs are more talented than others.

Those OFs who attended the breakfast at the Hilltown Café in Rensselaerville, and always attempt to find their way home, even from Rensselaerville, were: Frank Pauli, Harold Guest, John Rossmann, Robie Osterman, Bill Krause, Bob Benac, Art Frament, Jay Taylor, Herb Swabota, Steve McDermott, Roger Fairchild, Dave Williams, Miner Stevens, Roger Chapman, Lou Schenck, Mace Porter, Gary Porter, Jack Norray, Ken Hughes, Steve Kelly, Roger Shafer, Bill Rice, Henry Whipple, Duane Wagenbaugh, Ted Willsey, Bill Lassome, Rich Donnelly, Mike Willsey, Elwood Vanderbilt, Harold Grippen, Gerry Chartier, and me.

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