The mystery of the missing Malaysian plane tantalizes

Tuesday, March 18, the Old Men of the Mountain met at the Home Front Café in Altamont. Our luck is holding out; although it was cold, there was no freezing rain, blinding snowstorm, fog, drizzle, or blizzard winds to keep the Old Men of the Mountain from making it to the Home Front from over the mountain, and then down off the mountain to a hearty breakfast.

Of course, the OFs talked about the missing Malaysian plane, and the OFs are like a microcosm of the general population who has more questions and no answers. One question (though not answered) was, with a planeload of mostly Chinese passengers, there must have been at least 200 cell phones on board. Did they all go dead at the same time? Maybe they were not supposed to use them on the plane.

That rule was relaxed in this country and the OFs did not know about other countries.  However, the OFs thought this was a good question.

Some OFs still think the whole plane was sucked up by a UFO.  That would explain all forms of communication being cut off at the same time.

Collectors or hoarders?

Some of the OFs talked about collecting old stuff — big stuff like cars, tractors, graders, and items like that.  The OFs were definitely not talking about salt and peppershakers.

This is a continual conversation with some of the OFs.  They know what OF has what, they know what an OF is looking for, they know what an OF needs to complete a repair and what another OF has that will do the job.

To other OFs, this is nothing but junk, and, to these OFs, the OFs that collect old hat pins are collecting nothing but junk. Beauty is in the eye of the beholder, or, as one OF put it, one OF’s junk is another OF’s treasure. (Boy, has that phrase been used to death.)

That is why there is such a proliferation of antique shops, flea markets, and swap meets.

One OF has a motto, “Don’t throw anything away – someday it may become valuable.” It sounds like the OFs are beginning to condone hoarding.

Engine aficionados

This same group of OFs began talking about starting old engines and how OSHA (Occupational Safety and Health Administration) would not approve of the design of the old farm equipment, or the fabricating machines in the old fab shops.

“The construction machines and methods that this country was built on,” one OF said, “would scare the heck out of OSHA and most people required to work with them today. Back then, what the heck,” the OF said, “We just did it, and, if we got hurt, nobody sued anybody.”

One OF wondered when they stopped calling electric motors and piston-driven machines engines.  An electric motor was a motor, and a steam engine, or gas engine, or diesel engine, were engines.

Now a motorboat is powered by an outboard motor. To this OF, it is not a motor; it is an engine. But calling it an engine boat just doesn’t sound right. The OF was just wondering.

Play ball

Baseball season starts in a little while, and, if spring doesn’t hurry up and get here, they will be shoveling snow off the fields at many of the ballparks to play the games.

The catcher better have warmers and extra padding in that glove. Catching a 90-mile-an-hour fastball when the temperature is 30 degrees is really going to smart

One OF said it doesn’t have to be a baseball; anytime his hands are cold and they are inadvertently whacked, they hurt.

Play ball, put on a hoodie, and let’s go.

Over the river and through the woods to the Home Front the OFs go, the horse knows the way to carry the sleigh, and all the OFs loaded in the sleigh were: Roger Chapman, Dick Ogsbury, Karl Remmers, Andy Tinning, Miner Stevens, Harold Guest, John Rossmann, Frank Pauli, Robie Osterman, George Washburn, Otis Lawyer, Glenn Patterson, Chuck Aleseio, Jim Heiser, Kenny Parks, Lou Schenck, Ken Hughes, Mace Porter, Gary Porter, Jack Norray, Bill Krause, Ted Willsey, Jim Rissacher, Henry Whipple, Mike Willsey, Gerry Chartier, Elwood Vanderbilt, Gill Zable, Harold Grippen, and me. 

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