Archive » January 2018 » Columns

Darn!  It is still January and on the 16th of the month the Old Men of the Mountain met at the Country Café on Main Street in Schoharie.

Again, the Old Men of the Mountain were there just as the doors opened. The way some of the OMOTM get up in the morning, dressed and ready to work, would make any employer eager to get their hands on some of these OFs.

As mentioned last week, some of the OMOTM were businessmen and some are still in business. One OF who is in this category related this story of a customer who regularly frequented his shop.

It seems this specific gentleman was from Germany, and fought for the Germans in World War II as a spotter for enemy troop movements. He surveyed the situation from church towers and the like — at least he did that until he was captured by the Russians.

Like most prisoners of war (on either side), he was not taken to the Waldorf-Astoria. The German friend would tell the OF some of his war experiences.

One day the OF asked him how he came to eventually settle in the United States, especially in this area. The old German told him that, when he was in the war (including the time spent with the Russians), there were boxes all over the place left by the Allies.

All the boxes had printed on them, “Made in Schenectady, New York.”  These boxes were used for big equipment, even tanks. He told the OF that he made up his mind that, if he ever got out of the war alive, he was going to go to Schenectady, New York because it must be a great place. That is how he arrived in the U.S. and in our area.

It really pays to advertise.

Dangerous work

This scribe has reported on how many of the OFs have worked in the woods especially when they were on the farm. When the OFs were young, wood was their main source of heat.

Many of those OFs who worked on the farm had their out buildings made of wood cut from their own woodlot, taken to the mill, and milled to what the OFs’ parents or the OF themselves needed for construction of a particular building. The OFs knew at the time this was dangerous work. It required muscle and dexterity.

At the breakfast tables, the OFs sometimes tell woodlot stories of injuries, intelligent horses, and deaths that took place in this routine activity of the farmer. Tuesday, the OFs again brought up some logging anecdotes that happened way back when because of a simple little notice in the Albany Times Union that logging is the most dangerous industry in the country. The OFs can attest to that.


The OFs discussed the cold weather again and began comparing the amount of wood burned this year to the last few years; the same with fuel oil and electricity. At least the OFs are savvy enough to know how to protect their pipes from freezing and none of the OFs have complained about that.

Some of the OFs discussed how much more kerosene they have burned this year than normal. The interesting part of this conversation was the OFs who burn kerosene all travel to Cobleskill to purchase the fuel.

These OFs claim that this is the closest place to get good, clean kerosene; most of the other stuff is “junk” (the OFs term) and gums up everything and smokes.

This little tidbit of information came up without coercion — none of the OFs knew that other OFs were getting their kerosene from the same place, and for the same reason. This scribe found that interesting.

Maybe, instead of the OFs all going to Cobleskill separately, they can kerosene pool. One week one would go and purchase kerosene for all of them, and next week it would be someone else who would make the trip. That would work unless going for kerosene is an excuse to get out and do something else.

Orwellian reality

Technology! Another subject! Technology is all around us and the OMOTM keep bringing it up.

“All around us” is a good euphemism for the OMOTM — the OMOTM are out of the loop. Technology is developing at such a pace that the OFs think that many in the techno-crowd themselves have a hard time keeping up.

The OFs talked about TVs that roll up, and people having chips put in their children so they can be found should it become necessary. One OF mentioned the book that came out when the OFs were in school, and it talked about “Big Brother” controlling people.

Well, y’all, it is here, according to the OFs. One OF said, “Let them rattle their sabers with talk about ballistic missiles. That’s not where the next war is going to be.”

This OF thinks the next war will be over mind control. This OF thinks there won’t be a shot fired; it will all be done with computers and AI (Artificial Intelligence).

One OF thought a good business to get into would be the tailoring business, and one might make lead-lined suits, like the jumpsuits worn on Star Trek. That show may be way ahead of its time. Perhaps that is what the writers were thinking of when they came up with the costumes.

Who knows what unwanted crap comes with an app. Some dangerous privacy spy program might be inserted into an innocuous name of a simple app. The OFs are not smart enough to figure this one out; it is not a bulldozer, tractor, or truck.

The Old Men of the Mountain met at the Country Café in Schoharie and this scribe can vouch for those named who are not AI’s loaded or robots, or clones, or aliens; they were:  just earthlings Roger Chapman, Bill Lichliter, George Washburn, Robie Osterman, John Rossmann, Glenn Patterson, Mark Traver, Richard Frank, Chuck Aelesio, Otis Lawyer, Wayne Gaul, Lou Schenck, Jack Norray, Marty Herzog, Ted Feurer, Rev. Jay Francis, Bob Fink, Bob Benninger, Elwood Vanderbilt, Harold Grippen, Harold Guest, and me.


The Old Men of the Mountain made it to Week Two of the New Year; on Tuesday, Jan. 9, 2018, the Old Men of the Mountain met at Mrs. K’s Restaurant in Middleburgh.

The days are slowly getting longer but it is still dark when many of the OFs gather at the restaurant of the week. The OFs have mentioned this before: The light from the restaurant’s window on the sidewalk and the smell of eggs and bacon cooking early in the morning for some reason is a peaceful sensation.

A natural beginning topic for just about any group that meets on a regular basis is the weather. It is no different with the OFs. The OFs did much comparing at Tuesday morning’s breakfast and, although the weather guys are talking about setting records this month, the OFs remember winters that have been much worse, at least to date.

One OF remembered throwing water into the air and having it freeze before it hit the ground. Others remember cutting ice on the pond and having the water start to freeze right behind the OFs as they hauled the blocks of ice off to the sled.

Most all the OFs said they could handle the cold a lot better when they were younger than they can now. A big “Amen” was added to that little pronouncement, though many of the OGs said, if we dressed for the weather, it isn’t that bad.

One OFs said, “We don’t need anybody to teach us history, we remember it.”

And another added, “The worst part of January is February.”

Ghost towns

Because of the New Year, the OFs talked about some of the new state regulations going into effect and the OFs feel that there is going to be such an exodus of businesses from New York (let alone people) that there will be quite a vacuum formed behind them as they leave.

This is too bad because above Route 84 New York is a beautiful state. The Adirondacks, the Finger Lake region, the Catskills, and our own Helderbergs along with many other local areas, are one calendar picture after another.

To see many of the small towns become like ghost towns in these areas is sad. The OFs in their remembrance of history remember these places as they were 25 or 30 years ago.

One OF said the towns should have all progressed to one extent or another, not decayed.  Another OF thought it was not just a New York State problem but a problem for many parts the country, which are in the same situation.

One OF thought the whole thing comes down to dollars and cents, and this OF thought we were giving too much away. The OF continued that, when his first two kids were born in the 1950s, there was no such thing as insurance for having kids.

The insurance companies said that pregnancy was not an illness, or a disease; it was of choice and for that reason was preventable. Pregnancy could be avoided so therefore the insurance companies would not insure a pregnancy. Now look at what it costs to have a kid — the cost went from 0 to out-of-sight; there isn’t even a percentage number for that.

When troopers were like stern fathers

The OFs were reliving history again without having to study it. This time it was on how simple times were, and this was associated, as it often is, with cars.

The OFs on the farm learned to drive at an early age and they drove on equipment where it was necessary to know how to drive, and not just drive. There was no power steering, the machinery had mechanical brakes, which in the winter might freeze. One line might have ice around it, and the other wouldn’t — little things like that.

Then along came a state regulation called — license to drive.

That law did not deter the farm boys. The young farm lad, 13 or 14 years old, could hear the following instructions from Dad: “Take the truck down to the spring in Gallupville and fill some milk cans with water from the spring.”

Off the kids would go. Once they were stopped by a trooper and asked for the license, and the big joke going around now about “What license, we ain’t got no license” was said in earnest.

The OF said the trooper told them, “You kids get that truck home right now.”

There was no threatening language, or even a hint of getting a ticket. “Just like their own father being a little stern,” the OF said.

Things are different today.

What is young?

That followed along with what many talk about today. If you were disciplined at school, the OF didn’t expect sympathy at home; more likely the OF was disciplined at home worse than school.

One OF added, “That attitude is sure screwed up now. Look at all the problems that society and schools have with conduct today; this may be part of the reason why, the tail is wagging the dog.”

“This argument has been going on for a long time,” an OF suggested, “and will probably continue until all of us OFs are gone.”

“That won’t be too long,” an OF said, then another OF, looking around the group, chimed in, “It may be longer than you think because we have some young guys in this group now who are young by our standards anyway. To me, 60 is pretty young.”

"Young to me,” another added, “is if you can shower, shave, and get dressed without groaning and complaining. That is young enough”.

The OFs think they are all young, and young enough to make it to Mrs. K’s Restaurant in Middleburgh were: Harold Guest, Roger Chapman, Robie Osterman, George Washburn, John Rossmann, Bill Lichliter, Chuck Aelesio, Richard Frank, Roger Shafer, Glenn Patterson, Mark Traver, Otis Lawyer, Jim Rissacher, Marty Herzog, Lou Schenck, Jack Norray, Gerry Irwin, Mike Willsey, Warren Willsey, Russ Pokorny, Bob Fink, Bob Benninger, Elwood Vanderbilt, and me.


I came across three things recently that made me question whether I’m living in the same universe as everyone else. Maybe you can make sense of them. My brain still hurts from trying to figure them out.

The first one was a video I saw. On the left side of the screen was a picture of a mature woman, like someone’s grandma. She was attractive in a matronly way, like someone you’d see in church or in the library.

Then on the right side of the screen was a picture of another woman. This one is made up to the hilt, with shaded long hair and a shiny complexion, the very definition of glitz and glamor. You could imagine seeing her on “Dancing with the Stars” or in a nightclub at 2 a.m., partying hard.

Well, guess what? The grandmother and the dancer are the same woman.

When you play the video, time-lapse photography starts, and slowly the grandmother turns into the dancer through the magic of makeup. I’m using the word magic here for a reason; the transformation was that amazing.

Now I’ll admit I know very little about makeup. I grew up with two brothers. My mother as far as I could tell didn’t use much makeup. Neither does my lovely wife. But if makeup can do a transformation like this, it truly is amazing.

Here’s the thing: About halfway through the video, all the deep wrinkles on the woman’s face just go away. It’s like time travel, like she suddenly got 30 years younger. My wife tells me this part was done with “foundation.” If you’re like me and know nothing about that, let me put it into terms you might understand.

Say you’re doing bodywork on a car. You bang out the dent or weld it up and now you have a solid but rough surface to work with. You then get out the Bondo and the sanding sealer and, after careful application and a lot of sanding, you have a silky smooth surface ready for paint.

That’s what this woman’s foundation thing reminded me of. The wrinkles, or dents if you will, just go away, and all of a sudden everything is smooth with no blemishes. I’ll never again be able to go into the bodywork section of an auto parts store without thinking of this woman’s face.

While it’s great that makeup can make you look decades younger, I have to question whether it’s kind of false advertising in a way. I mean, if you met the woman on the right side of the video — the glamorous dancer — you’d be thinking she’s one kind of person.

Then, if you saw her without the makeup, you’d think she was collecting Social Security. My wife tells me there are women who never let their husbands see them without their makeup on.

Imagine that. It’s like being a superhero: Do you wear your costume and display your magical powers or not? What a way to live.

I know, it’s different for women. They always want to look nice. The guys I know look the same whether they’re fishing, riding a motorcycle, or attending a wedding. Only the clothes change (and for some of my friends the clothes don’t even change that much). Hey, no matter who you are, it’s what’s on the inside that counts anyway.

Then next thing I saw that made me scratch my head was a TV show about recreational vehicles, or RVs. I’ve owned a couple of these over the years, and I may be interested in one again if extended travel becomes one of my retirement priorities.

The show focused on a family with two high school-age daughters. The parents wanted to buy an RV so they could have some quality time with the girls before they went off to college. Sounds totally reasonable. Then the salesman asks the father what his budget is for a new RV and, without blinking an eye, he says, “Around $250,000.” Yikes!

Remember, this is not a case where a family is selling their home and using the proceeds to buy an RV to live in. This is a totally discretionary purchase to do something fun with the kids, like taking them to the beach or to an amusement park. I don’t know about you, but I doubt I’ll ever have a quarter of a million dollars for a totally discretionary purchase.

Do people really live like this, with that much available money to play around with? I see a lot of RVs on the road, and the RV stores around here are acres large and packed to the gills with fancy rigs.

Maybe everyone has a great stock broker or a rich uncle, but that show still left me shocked. I know money is not worth what it used to be worth, but that is still a lot of cash for something that can leak oil or get a flat tire and may have a clogged toilet at any time. Been there, done that.

The third crazy thing I saw recently was a TV commercial. It shows a young woman meeting with her investment adviser.

He asks her how long she plans to work, and she responds with a big smile, “Around 70.”

Wow. I know I’m a little long in the tooth at this point, but it wasn’t that long ago that working to age 70 was only done if you had absolutely no other options to pay the bills.

Here’s the kicker: The investment adviser asks the young woman what she plans to do when she finally retires, and she says, “I’d like to run with the bulls.”

So, let’s see if we have this right: She’s going to work to age 70, and then fly to Pamplona, Spain and enter the semi-controlled madness called “running with the bulls,” where wild animals and throngs of out-of-control people run for their lives down narrow, crowded streets like drugged rats in an endless maze, screaming, ranting and raving while trying not to get gored, run over, or crushed.

This is what she is looking forward to do when she retires. At 70. Right.

Who is writing these commercials? Are they kidding or what? Someone should test the water over there. I knew there would be problems when they cut back on mental-health funding.

So there you have it: Women taking decades off their appearance, people spending 250 large on a discretionary purchase, and people working to age 70 before they go running with the bulls. All I can say is: Thank God for single-malt scotch.


January feels like a long month. And, whether or not we have broken official cold records this month in Albany County, it sure feels like we have! Despite a brief reprieve from the bone-chilling, below-zero readings, there is still a lot of winter ahead. It’s particularly imperative that older adults take precautions to stay safe in the cold weather.

Why the extra precautions? Older adults can lose body heat faster than younger adults. Age-related changes can make it harder for older adults to be aware of getting cold. This can lead to a serious problem — hypothermia — even before the older person realizes it.

Hypothermia occurs when one’s body temperature gets very low. For an older person, a body temperature colder than 95 degrees Fahrenheit can cause many health problems, among them heart attack, kidney problems, or liver damage.

It’s not only being outside that can cause problems; living in cold house also can lead to hypothermia.

You can take steps to lower your chance of getting hypothermia. For example, try to stay away from cold places and pay attention to how cold it is where you are.  

The National Institute on Aging offers these additional sensible guidelines.

Keep warm inside

Living in a cold house, apartment, or other building can cause hypothermia. In fact, hypothermia can occur in a group facility — if the rooms are not kept warm enough. If someone you know lives in a group setting, pay attention to the temperature and whether your friend or loved one is dressed warmly enough.

People who are sick may have special problems keeping warm. Therefore, do not set the thermostat too low and dress warmly. Even if the temperature is set between 60 and 65 degrees Fahrenheit, your home or apartment may not be warm enough to keep you safe.

This is a special problem if you live alone since there is no one else to feel the chilliness of the house or notice if you are having symptoms of hypothermia. Keep warm indoors using these tips:

— Set your heat at 68 degrees Fahrenheit or higher. To save on heating bills, close off rooms you are not using. Close the vents and shut the doors in these rooms. Keep the basement door closed. Place a rolled towel in front of all doors to keep out drafts;

— Make sure your house isn’t losing heat through windows. Keep your blinds and curtains closed. If you have gaps around the windows, try using weather stripping or caulk to keep the cold air out;

— Dress warmly on cold days even if you are staying in the house. Throw a blanket over your legs. Wear both socks and shoes;

— When you go to sleep, wear long underwear under your pajamas, and use extra covers. Wear a cap or hat to keep body heat in;

— Make sure you eat enough food to keep up your energy;

— Drink alcohol sparingly, if at all. Alcoholic drinks can lead to loss of body heat;

— Think whether you know an older adult who is living alone and be a good neighbor by checking on that individual during cold stretches or snowstorms;

— If a power outage leaves you without heat, contact a relative, friend, or emergency personnel; do not try to wait it out this time of year; and

— You may be tempted to warm your room with a space heater. But, some space heaters are fire hazards and others can cause carbon-monoxide poisoning. The Consumer Product Safety Commission has information on the use of space heaters. Read the following for more information: “Reducing Fire Hazards for Portable Electric Heaters.” You can find it online at

Bundle up on windy, cold days

A heavy wind can quickly lower your body temperature. Check the weather forecast for windy and cold days. On those days, try to stay inside or in a warm place. If you have to go out, wear warm clothes, and don’t stay out for any length of time.

Here are other tips:

— Dress for the weather if you have to go out on chilly, cold, or damp days;

— Wear loose layers of clothing. The air between the layers helps to keep you warm;

— Put on a hat and scarf. You lose a lot of body heat when your head and neck are uncovered; and

— Wear a waterproof coat or jacket if it’s snowy.

Illness, medicines, and cold weather

Some illnesses may make it harder for your body to stay warm. Diabetes, thyroid problems, Parkinson’s disease, memory loss, and arthritis are problems that can make it harder for older adults to stay warm. Talk with your doctor about your health problems and how to prevent hypothermia.

Medications and inactivity also can affect body heat. Here are some topics to talk about with your doctor to stay safe in cold weather:

— Ask your doctor about signs of hypothermia;

— Talk to your doctor about any health problems and medications that can make hypothermia a special problem for you. Your doctor can help you find ways to prevent hypothermia; and

— Ask about safe ways to stay active even when it’s cold outside.

Warning signs

Sometimes it is hard to tell if a person has hypothermia. Look for clues. Is the house very cold? Is the person not dressed for cold weather? Is the person speaking more slowly than normal and having trouble keeping his or her balance?

Early signs of hypothermia include cold feet and hands, puffy or swollen face, pale skin and shivering. Also, the person may have slower than normal speech or slurring and act sleepy, angry, or confused.

Later signs of hypothermia include slow and clumsy movement, stiffness, slow heartbeat, shallow breathing, and losing consciousness.

Call 9-1-1 right away if you think someone has warning signs of hypothermia. After you call 9-1-1, move the person to a warmer place and wrap him or her in blankets or coats — whatever is handy, until help arrives.

Heating bills

If you are having a hard time paying your heating bills, there are some resources that might help. Contact the National Energy Assistance Referral service at 1-866-674-6327 (toll-free; TTY, 1-866-367-6228) or email to get information about the Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program.

In Albany County, call New York Connects at 518-447-7177 for low-income energy assistance information.


Community Caregivers Inc. is a not for profit organization that provides non-medical services including transportation and caregiver support at no charge to residents of Guilderland, Bethlehem, Altamont, New  Scotland, Berne, Knox, and the city of Albany through a strong volunteer pool of dedicated individuals with a desire to assist their neighbors.

Our funding is derived in part from the Albany County Department for Aging, the New York State Office for the Aging, and the United States Administration on Aging. To find out more about our services, as well as volunteer opportunities, please visit or call us at (518) 456-2898.

Editor’s note: Linda Miller is the Outreach and Education coordinator for Community Caregivers.


The first Old Men of the Mountain’s breakfast of the New Year was held at the Middleburgh Diner in Middleburgh on Jan. 2, 2018. Now all the OMOTM have to remember is to date everything 2018, or ’18.

This will be tough because many of the OFs have trouble remembering if it’s right leg in the pants first or the left leg. This may sound weird but this particular practice not only the OFs have, but most people — if they unconsciously slip out of their routine — become confused or irritated when doing many simple tasks like getting dressed.

To get the day started on the right foot, the best thing to do, at least according to the OFs, is take the pants off and start with the foot that is normally used when getting dressed. It is the same with many functions most do out of habit, like what side of the face to start when shaving; do we tighten the belt or pull the zipper first? One OF thought, for us OFs it is for the most part very important — just pull the zipper! This is true.

We all should realize now how a major portion of the country is going through quite a cold snap, and the OFs don’t think it is over yet. One OF said he knew a winter like this was coming because we had such a beautiful fall.

The OFs started talking about frozen pipes and the cold going so deep it is driving the frost deep in the ground where there is no snow cover. On the Hill and in our general area, an OF pointed out that, with the dribble of snow we have, he feels it does not mean much, as far as keeping the frost at bay, so the OFs should be careful with their water pipes.

One OF mentioned the people south of the Mason-Dixon Line must be having a lot of fun with their pipes. He bets many of these trailer parks have their water lines right under their trailers and unprotected.

“Even here,” one OF added, “most OFs are OK if the power stays on.”

Another OF said he has a whole-house generator but if the power is off for an extended period he worries about fuel because he uses propane and it is not easy to judge how much propane he will need. It is not like running to the gas station and getting a few extra cans of gas.

This brought up a conversation on the outside wood-burning furnaces and the power required to run the circulators because, if the power is out, the circulators are out. One OF who has one of these furnaces also has a portable generator to keep the regulators running. For the most part, the OFs are a resourceful lot.

The OFs continued chatting about the weather and how much extra fuel they are consuming to keep the castle warm. “The last two years have spoiled us,” one OF said. “Last year, we were riding our bikes and worrying about dandelions sprouting up in the lawn in December.” Another OF said he noticed in this cold weather how the miles per gallon on his vehicles has dropped.

The OFs have short memories because they have been through weather like this before.

Global warming

The subject of global warming came up and, as with most topics like this, there are OFs on both sides of the issue. The OFs on the warming side have a tough road to hoe when we have six or seven days below zero, the wind blowing a gale up your pant leg, and the OFs’ cheeks glowing red in just a couple minutes of being outdoors.

The OFs who have ponds that are close to the road are worried about how much salt has been spread so far this year and how much has gotten into their ponds. One OF said he may have to change his fish to saltwater fish.

Another OF said, unless these ponds are like a bowl of water and just sit in a hole in the ground, there should not be a problem. Most ponds have an inlet or maybe are springfed, but they do need an outlet so that salt will purge itself out of the pond. But this OF did admit that there is so much salt on the highway it is like driving on a dirt road.

One OF said he would rather have it that way than sliding into the ditch. Then the other argument started about which is best — driving on cold, hard snow, or wet, slippery, slushy snow.

Subsequently there were the OFs who preferred just using the old-fashioned sand and keeping the salt off the road. These OFs maintain that the roads and vehicles would last much longer than with all the chemicals that are dumped on the highway.

One OF said, “We don’t hear the environmentalists complaining about that one.”

Another OF asked, “Have we ever noticed how the cold weather follows along with a full moon? The moon is so bright at night that the moon shadow on the white snow is beautiful, or would be beautiful, if it wasn’t so d--- cold.”

Winter swim

An inquiry was contemplated. Did any of the OFs have any inclination to run and jump into Lake George in a bathing suit like that group of nuts we saw on TV?

“Yeah, right,” an OF offered, “as soon as my big toe would hit that water, I would have had a heart attack.”

A second OF yelled back, “Or maybe it would kick your ole ticker in high gear and get it running again.”

Harassment charges

Then an OF suggested he wouldn’t want to get that OF’s ticker running again. It was reasoned there wouldn’t be a girl safe on the planet with that OF’s blood pump in high gear.

Another OF said, “I noticed all these harassment suits are against guys. What about the guys? If the same thing happened to them and they brought charges to the distaff side, they would be laughed out of court, especially if they were OFs.”

This scribe’s wife comment on these OFs’ comments was: “Dream on, guys!

Those Old Men of the Mountain who made it to the Middleburgh Diner in Middleburgh with none ready to complain about harassment were: Roger Chapman, Harold Guest, George Washburn, John Rossmann, Bill Lichliter, Robie Osterman, Jack Norray, Gerry Irwin, Lou Schenck, Jim Rissacher, Mike Willsey (our oldest member who is still getting to the breakfast like the postman), Marty Herzog, Elwood Vanderbilt, Harold Grippen, and me.


The last of the Old Men of the Mountain’s breakfasts for the year 2017 was held on Tuesday, Dec. 26, at Kim’s West Wind Diner in Preston Hollow on a real winter morning! Some of the OFs left before 6 a.m. in wind-driven snow, with temperatures in the low teens.

Kim was there, ready to go, as the OFs showed up. This scribe hopes she lives close by.

As life goes on, day by day, minute by minute, not only the OFs but no one else ever knows what to expect and what might happen in the next breath. The phrase “Johnny on the spot” is so true.

With today’s technology, it is possible to record history as it happens regardless of where anyone is at the time. This includes the OFs. Now there are moments in time caught forever on disc, or film, or on the phone.

One OF recounted a story that happened to him and his wife at Niagara Falls. The OF was going to meet his brother at the falls and he was there with plenty of time to kill.

He and his wife were in their hotel room when they heard sirens. The couple looked out of their hotel window and saw fire trucks and an ambulance stop in front of the hotel and park at the edge of the falls.

The OF said to his wife, “We have time so let’s go down and see what is going on.”

When they arrived at the scene, they saw a man (who they think was attempting to commit suicide) had jumped in the river to go over the falls.

This guy apparently had second thoughts and he had grabbed onto a branch of a tree as he was about to go over the falls. The OF said he watched the whole proceeding until the end and recorded it all on his camera.  

The amazing part was in the beginning of the rescue. The powers that be had actually stopped the falls on the American side and, while that was going, on a fire company shot two lines across to where the man was dangling.

Then a couple of firefighters used these lines to climb out to where the man was. All the while this process was going on, a large helicopter with double blade towers approached and by this time one of the firefighters had reached out and grabbed the guy.

At the same time, a basket from the helicopter was on the scene where they were. The firefighter pushed the guy into the basket and fastened him in and the chopper crew hauled him up.

The chopper then brought the guy to an ambulance by the fire trucks and the emergency medical technicians placed him in the ambulance and drove him away to the hospital.

This OF had been an EMT for years and he had a chance to speak to the firefighter who caught the guy and put him in the basket. The OF asked him how he did that so fast and without resistance.

The firefighter told him it was timing. When this firefighter saw the guy who was dangling on the tree branch look up at the chopper (which was lowering the basket), the guy’s attention was totally fixed on that procedure, so when the basket arrived the firefighter just pushed him into it and that was that.

When it was all over, a special team simply returned the water to the falls. If anyone showed up 10 minutes later, they never would have known anything had gone on; there was no fire truck, and no ambulance, just people standing at the railing watching the water go over the falls.

Some of the OFs commented on how well these rescue people must be trained, and how much this rescue must have cost. Helicopters do not come cheap.

Stopping Niagara Falls from flowing — that can’t be nickel-and-dime stuff. Then you have those two guys going out on lines over what is now about a two-hundred-foot cliff — you wouldn’t catch this OF doing that even when he was young and stupid.

“Johnny on the spot” with camera at the ready — so easily done today.

Lost and found

As the OFs are old, and getting older by the day, Tuesday morning’s breakfast brought out how many of the OFs set things down and two minutes later can’t find them. The OFs were telling how all of them have this malady but the best one was how one OF said he couldn’t find his hearing aids this holiday season.

The OF said he thought he knew where they were and everyone in the family was looking for them. Over and over in the same room, moving things, even looking on the floor (because there were quite a few wrappings all around) and the OF thought they might have been thrown out when the kids started picking up.

After at least an hour of everyone looking and getting ready to go through the trash, one of his kids said, “Dad, they are right in your ears!”

That is like looking for your glasses and they are on you head. In both cases, panic sets in pretty early when items like that are lost.

One OF said, “I think I keep losing my wife but, darn it, I turn around and there she is.”

Much more was discussed at this breakfast and this scribe could fill up a page of the paper; however, we will save those for another time when the OFs become so redundant that it is hard to come up with something new.

Those OFs who are the toughest and who made it through driving snow, questionable roads, and the dark morning with bright shining stars were: Roger Chapman, John Rossmann, Bill Lichliter, Harold Guest, Robie Osterman, Lou Schenck, Jack Norray, Gerry Irwin, Rev. Jay Francis, Elwood Vanderbilt, Rich Vanderbilt, Mike Willsey, Gerry Chartier and guest Winnie Chartier, and Amy Willsey, Harold Grippen and me.