Falling has gone from being fun to being feared

This scribe will be glad when this month is over; as I type this, it is 10 below zero. This scribe used to like cold weather and snow. No more.

On Jan. 18, the Old Men of the Mountain met at Mrs. K’s restaurant in Middleburgh, sans the scribe, and a few others. This means resorting to notes taken at previous gatherings but not used for one reason or another.

Some of the time, discussions may cause something in the scribe’s judgment that is really not meant for a family paper. Then again, the scribe thinks it is only people like the OMOTM that still read books and newspapers.

The rest use an electronic device of one kind or another, so why not use some of these questionable topics? The old folks won’t care because they know what has been going on, and the younger ones won’t read it anyway.

In reading backwards, I found a note scribbled on the pad that read “peep show.” Now seems to be a good time to explain this particular note.

Some of the OFs have boats, and one OF decided to take some of the other OFs for a ride down the Hudson River on his boat. It was a nice day and a good day for a boat ride.

Off they went and, as they were cruising the waterway, the OFs happened to pass a larger pleasure craft, akin to a yacht, slowly plying its way upriver. All the OFs in their boat, including the driver, felt their mouths fall open because both of the occupants of the upriver boat were naked, soaking up the sun along with a leisurely cruise up the river.

The whole event might have taken 30 seconds but, when reporting on the OFs’ trips at the next breakfast, that is all they talked about. Not the scenery, or the ride, or the lunch, or anything like that. No, the talk was only about the two naked people on the yacht, on the river, on a beautiful sunny day.

A whole day trip, and the OFs talked about only 30 seconds of it. Hey, why not? One thing that no one would want to see is five OFs cruising down the river in a smaller (but very nice) boat naked. Would that spoil your day or what?


The Tim Conway shuffle

One discussion the OFs have is about falling. When they were young the OFs remember actually falling on purpose.

Sometimes it was just not on purpose but was part of the fun in learning to ski with spring-type bindings that went around the OF’s barn boots and skiing down the slope on Cole Hill. This scribe and the OFs remember having skis that were two miles long and brown — everyone had long brown skis at this particular slope.

Also, at that time, what was on your head was what the OF wore to school, or wherever. Knit caps, mad bomber hats, sometimes just ear muffs. No one had a helmet; they weren’t even invented yet.

Quite often, in the beginning, the young OFs started out on skis, but wound up tumbling the rest of the way down the hill.

Today, falling is one of our biggest fears. The scribe mentioned that one OF took a trip head-first down his back stairs after slipping on black ice. This OF is in pretty good condition because the OF is very active.

The senior citizens have programs on how OFs should train themselves to walk, and be aware of tripping hazards so the OFs don’t fall. And the big “but” here is: Not many seniors pay close enough attention to these programs.

One OF mentioned how just a walk in the woods for any OF can be hazardous with all the roots, rocks, holes, and humps you find on these hikes. Any path can be treacherous.

Another OF said, “Hey, have you ever taken a walk on a sidewalk, with the cracks, and tree roots lifting up the concrete? It is just as tricky as a path in the woods.”

With the seniors doing the Tim Conway shuffle, it is a miracle that more of the OFs don’t find themselves face down on the ground. One good thing is that the fear of falling is in the back of the mind of many OFs.

This conversation on falling was in the notebook a couple of months before the OF took the header down the back stairs. Black ice is a misnomer of sorts; it is more like invisible ice.


New York glue

Also, a little while ago the OFs were talking about “why are we here.” This talk was not in the philosophical sense as to why we are here, but why are we, the OFs, here in New York?

We have high taxes, screwed-up politics, and really cold weather. The answer was as varied as those talking.

Family, friends, seasons, work, and the beauty of New York were some of the items put up for discussion. Many of the OFs who travel said that, even with cloudy days, they are always glad to get back to New York.

But this scribe also assumes those who are born and reared elsewhere can also say, “Gee, it is great to get back to North Dakota.”

But where else can you go boating down the river and see naked people boating up the river? Gotta be New York.

Those OFs who made it to Mrs. K’s in Middleburgh again, regardless of the weather, were: Lou Schenck, Jack Norray, Bill Lichliter, Roger Shafer, Rev. Jay Francis, Elwood Vanderbilt, Bob Donnelly, Dave Hodgetts, Joe Rack, Paul Nelson, Rick LaGrange, Ed Geoff, John Dabrvalskes, and not me.