Pinch hitter reports on why the old-fashioned way of doing business is valued

Think of me as a pinch hitter, or designated interim column writer while our first-string scribe, John R. Williams, is sidelined briefly.

As happens so often, as many of you know from your own experience, if you go too often to a meeting or function, of any sort, at some point someone is going to say something like, “I nominate him or her to do that.”

Well, here I am, the “Him,” because there is no “Her” in the OMOTM ranks. Do you have any idea what it feels like to be an 81-year-old rookie? I really thought I left this kind of stress behind me when I retired.

This Tuesday morning, Jan. 23, found the OMOTM gathering at the Chuck Wagon Diner in Duanesburg and talking about the early origins of the OMOTM, which was started by three men in the kitchen of a home of an OF.

I am sure the Scribe can fill in all the gaps in my knowledge of the subject.

I do remember reading in an early column, written by the Scribe, about the OMOTM in The Altamont Enterprise, that the wife of the OF whose house the first few breakfasts took place in soon tired of this arrangement, doing all the cooking, preparing, cleaning up, etc., with the predictable result of the OFs soon adjourning to a nearby diner to enjoy their breakfast.

Thus, a tradition was born and a marriage was saved, to go on and last for many more years. Maybe this is why the OMOTM travel to a different eating establishment each week so as not to wear out our welcome at any one of them too quickly.


Snow job

Recent discussions touched on the services we all sometimes take for granted. Such as snow removal.

Whether it is our own driveways with our own snow blowers, or the streets and roads in front of our homes and neighborhoods sometimes being cleared before we are even enjoying our first cup of coffee, or an entire football stadium and parking lots being cleared of over three feet of snow in less than 24 hours. All this so we can watch the football game in person or just on TV.

This was an amazing accomplishment that was done two weeks in a row! We take that as normal, if you live in Buffalo.

Sometimes, however, our equipment breaks down and we need special parts to repair it, which led to a discussion of where to buy the parts and why we do business with particular businesses.

One OF told the story of the fine service he received from an auto-supply company in England. He was able to call the company (an 800 number, so no charge), they had the parts, and he received his order in one business day. Granted, there was a weekend involved. Just a company doing business the right way.

That led to other stories of local companies doing business the old-fashioned right way. Often a handshake will do, if that. Just doing business, not trying to retire on each job. From repairing a snowblower to getting parts for a car to a pump for a well that is 300 feet down.

That part of the discussion led to “douser” stories, at which point someone cautioned us to be “careful about believing all that we might hear at an OMOTM breakfast.”


Constructive worry

All talk was not about such serious topics however. At one table, a discussion ensued concerning an OF who had recently taken a high paying job ($250,000) with a large corporation as a vice president in charge of being a Creative and Constructive Worrier. This is a very important and prestigious position in this corporation, as is evidenced by the substantial salary.

Someone at the table asked the lucky new V.P. how he was going to be paid all this money, and he replied that he didn’t know and that he was “very worried about that.” Obviously, he is already on the job, and doing great at it. He is a natural.


Best DMV

About that time, as the breakfast was winding down, an OF said he had to get going as he wanted to get to the local Department of Motor Vehicles office right as it opened, which promptly started a discussion as to the relative merits of the various DMV offices around the area.

The local DMV office in Schoharie was acknowledged as being at the top of that list. The same long-standing values of doing business was applied to those businesses that provide their service with good, friendly, knowledgeable people who just do their job the old-fashioned way with no hassles.

It is not at all surprising that the OFs feel this way about where, and why, they do their business. This applies to where we gather to have our weekly breakfast, as well. It ain't easy to satisfy 20 to 30 grumpy OMOTM who want their coffee now and their breakfast food cooked just a certain way. It is who we are, always has been.

The OFs, serious or not-so-serious, who were present this morning included: Bill Lichliter, George Washburn, Glen Patterson, Mark Traver, Joe Rack, Jake Herzog, Roger Schafer, Harold Guest, Wally Guest, Jack Norray, Lou Schenck, Dick Dexter, Herb Bahrman, Gerry Cross, Paul Bahrman, Ted Ferurer, Jake Lederman, Rev. Jay Francis, Warren Willsey, Russ Pokorny, John Dabb, Paul Guiton, Doug Marshall, Frank Fuss, Michael Kruzinski, and me.