OFs discuss pressures on farmers, sensible eating, and walkers as weapons

— Photo by Marty Herzog 

Last breakfast: The Old Men of the Mountain ate at the Knox Market & Cafe for the last time on Christmas Eve. The café is closing in Knox and reopening in Clarksville, John R. Williams reports.

Last Tuesday’s breakfast was on Christmas Eve 2019, and it was the last breakfast at the Knox Market & Café because they are closing and moving to Clarksville.

This was the major discussion among the Old Men of the Mountain this morning. It took awhile to sort out all the ins and outs to arrive at the whys and wherefores as to why.

It was almost an immediate decision of the OMOTM to follow Mike to Clarksville. Mike assured the OFs that, at the new location, we would all fit because the place is larger.  The OFs follow the food, and not the quarters.

It is interesting to note the OFs are not diner connoisseurs. The OFs just have a couple of criteria, i.e., the food has to be good, reasonable, and plenty of it. We also have a second requirement — the coffee also has to be good.

The OFs must admit that in the Knox location the space was limited and 30 guys wrangling their way into the café made it a little chummy.


One of the creative OFs who had his yard decorated in a unique style (each decorated area tells a story) found that someone took photos and placed them on Facebook.

Some of the other OFs said, “What do you expect when your artwork is displayed in such a fashion? Surely people are going to be intrigued and take pictures if they can.”

The OF who displayed his art in such a background is not upset — just surprised. Many of the OFs are not up on the technology that most phones have now. The phones take better pictures than many cameras; the one taking the picture can post it on the net immediately, and then the whole world can view what the camera operator has just captured in real time.

To many OFs, this technology is mind-boggling.

Sticky wicket

On a note not quite so cheery, the OFs at one table discussed the recent news reports involving the suicides of farmers. The OFs could relate to that because some of the OFs could remember how regulations began to cause so much undo pressure on farmers.

Many small family farms gave up their cows when bulk tanks were a requirement. The small farmer could not afford these tanks and their installation. Then one rule after another came about by do-gooders (according to some of the former farmers), causing them to go under because they could not afford these new rulings.

Apparently, it has gotten worse instead of better. One OF believed that producing farms will soon become fallow land like hundreds of acres in the Hilltowns. Farmers will sell their land as building lots, piece by piece, until the productive land will all be paved over.

One other OF put it this way: A box of cereal will cost ten bucks; then only the rich can eat. The poor people won’t be able to afford to eat. It is a sticky wicket.


Talking about food and eating, the OFs began talking about what they eat, and how much they now eat. Some just eat what they want and nothing happens, while other OFs strictly watch their diets and others just so-so.

Some OFs said they watch their sugar intake because they have a tendency to be diabetic. As they talked about what they could and couldn’t eat, it made sense for most of the OFs to be on the same kind of diet.

One OF said he does not like to call it a diet but a sensible plan for eating. A few others said they watch their carbs, like breads, bagels, and noodle food. One OF said he watches everything he eats — he watches it go in his mouth and not slide off the fork.

Old soldiers

A couple of the OFs use walkers, and some others really should use walkers because they would be more comfortable. The OFs started a conversation on the design and use of walkers.

One OF complained they are a menace in the mall and the grocery store. The OF said that, when some little old lady wants to push her way through to condiments, those darn walkers are designed to clip us about five inches up in the back of the leg.

“That hurts,” the OF said. “And the little old lady doesn’t care. If we don’t get out of her way, she can whip her cane off the handlebar in an instant and give us a whack across the shoulders.”

“Like I said,” another OF chimed in, “we fight wars with the wrong group of people in the Army. It shouldn’t be kids who are in the Army. It should be cranky OFs like us, and little old ladies in their walkers. We have lived our lives, and we don’t give a hoot, just don’t get in our way. After we have thumped your butt, we won’t even cheer, even though you held us up from our early dinner special.”

All the OFs who were able to come and who managed to fit into the Knox Market & Café for its last day of operation were: Miner Stevens, Harold Guest, Wally Guest, Robie Osterman, John Rossmann, George Washburn, Jake Lederman, Roger Shafer, Roger Chapman, Bill Lichliter, Lou Schenck, Gerry Irwin, Jack Norray, Herb Bahrmann, (guest Greg Holmes), Russ Pokorny, Glenn Patterson, Joe Rack, Otis Lawyer, Mark Traver, Gerry Chartier, Elwood Vanderbilt, Fred Crounse, Rich Donnelly, Jim Rissacher, Marty Herzog, Rev. Jay Francis, Rick LaGrange, Jamey Darrah, Harold Grippen, and me.