Advice on how to stay young, and how to make warts disappear

Tuesday, Feb. 20, will be remembered for how warm it was for this time of winter. The Old Men of the Mountain mentioned temperatures in the forties at 6 a.m. with a warm breeze, fog, and smell of spring in the air.

Fog encased the Chuck Wagon Diner in Princetown as the OMOTM arrived for breakfast and being OM they knew this weather was not going to last and they were sorry to see the fog, because fog in February means a wet, cold May. That is an old farmer’s weather guide.

One OF said that doesn’t mean a whole lot because there always is fog in February. Now all the OFs are going home to mark their calendars for the month of May and see what happens.

One OF, who still farms, was bringing a round bale of hay on the forks of his tractor down a road north of Berne when an elderly couple in a van pulled up alongside and asked him to stop.

The OF stopped and the driver in the car said, “Sir, I am not lost but I just can’t remember where I am.”

That took the OF back a bit and he stuttered out “Berne, New York.”

The driver said, “Thanks” — and took off.

“Hmmm, what a strange way to put that,” the OF said.  

Warts vanish

Another topic that the OFs talked about was a strange comment made on how some of the OFs work on repairing equipment or building this or that. One OF made a new tailgate ramp for another OF’s trailer that he uses to pick up equipment.

The OF was telling almost all the steps and care he went through to construct the ramp. As he told about welding it together, he said he was starting to get a couple of warts on his left hand and he stuck out his hand for those at the table to see there were no warts on it.

This OF said, “Welding gets rid of warts.”

That was it, just the five-word sentence, and then the OFs started talking about something else. Another Hmmm.

Slowing down

The OFs began a conversation that is dear to all of their hearts.

This topic was how old an OF was when he noticed he had really slowed down. The age was not the same for all the OFs, but the age span would be somewhere between 68 and 84.

This scribe thinks the 80-year guys are stretching it a bit but, then again, some of the old goats do seem to be on always the go — whether the OG is doing anything or not is another question.

All the OGs say that it now takes four days to do what they used to do in one — a common senior lament.

This next exchange was more specific. Some of the comings and goings brought up were work and chores. The other was fun stuff like hunting, fishing, boating and hiking, taking long drives, going to the picture show, square dancing, woodworking, painting, and activities like that.

One OF summed up this discussion with a little narrative.

He said he used to get his bow ready for bow season (deer hunting) a couple of weeks ahead of the season’s opening. The OF said he would be out of the house at the crack of dawn and not come back until late in the evening.

Now, he says, he goes out around 10 in the morning and is back around two in the afternoon — and that is if he goes out at all. We all slow down but we found out some slow down later than others.

What was the key that kept the late ones being active later in life? This scribe has brought this up before on how active the OMOTM group is compared to many others.

But, as we found out at Tuesday’s breakfast, the OFs can’t keep up a super-active pace forever.

One OF told about his uncle who walked everywhere — even when he had a car. By walking, the OF meant from Berne to Altamont, or Berne to Albany, or Berne to Schoharie.

That was really walking, but all that recommended exercise did not help him reach the age of most of the OMOTMs. Unexpectedly, he died of a heart attack at age 77.

Another OF added that, for himself, he did pretty much what he wanted to do. He ate what he wanted, but did give up smoking, and that decision gave him something like a permanent shot of adrenalin.

The OF continued, saying that he never exercised a day in his life, although he worked hard all the time, and he was outdoors most of the year — summer and winter. This OF says he doesn’t understand all the hype about exercise and diet.

This OF’s motto is, “Stay away from processed foods.” If you want a piece of pie with ice cream, eat it.  If you want steak and eggs eat them. If you want spaghetti and a side of French fries, eat that too.

Nevertheless, you have to move and get fresh air, ignore the diet hype and skip the stress it brings, and then (according to this OF) 80 will be just a number.

Warm weather, salted roads

The OFs discussed the upcoming few days of predicted warm weather and were quick to add that winter isn’t over yet. The OFs said they would hate to see it get warm for an extended period of time, that is, eight to 10 days.

This, the OFs say, would fake out the trees and shrubs and they would start budding. The OFs said that much warmth so early would be disastrous.

Then the OGs talked about how much salt was spread on the roads and how all the dampness caused by cold ground and warm air, plus any rain or drizzle, turns the highways into a saline solution that raises havoc on vehicles. One OF thought there is collusion between the highway department and body shops.

Those OFs who made it to the Chuck Wagon Diner in Princetown through the salted rivers call roadways were: Bill Lichliter, Roger Chapman, George Washburn, Robie Osterman, Rev. Jay Francis, Chuck Aelesio, Richard Frank, John Rossmann, Harold Guest, Marty Herzog, Jake Lederman, Ted Feurer, Glenn Patterson, Mark Traver, Otis Lawyer, Lou Schenck, Jack Norray, Herb Bahrmann, Mace Porter, Bob Benninger, Bob Fink, Elwood Vanderbilt, Richard Vanderbilt, Harold Grippen, and me.