A mysterious new member and the saga of the Final Paragraph

SCHOHARIE — On the first chilly day of spring, March 19, the OMOTM gathered together at the Your Way Café in Schoharie at the appointed hour for another hot breakfast. There was probably something in the spring air that caused many of the OFs to be talking about our newest member. Prior to this breakfast, no one knew anything about this guy, except me.

A look back at the history of this column is in order before explaining (or exposing ) this mysterious new member. As regular readers know, there is a certain order to each column, not the least of which is the Final Paragraph, which lists the OFs who were present at that particular breakfast.

This is part of the ironclad order of writing the OMOTM column. It has been in place since our First-String Scribe, John Williams, started writing the OMOTM column two million years ago.

When The Scribe started his current trials and tribulations with the aftermath of his experience with COVID and its additional issues, he missed a few breakfasts, so an attendance list was passed around for the OFs to sign in.

Then someone would send it along to The Scribe so he would have it for the Final Paragraph. Other OFs would send along notes of the breakfast to help The Scribe with the writing of the main column even though he wasn’t present.

Historically, The Scribe, while at breakfast, would write the attendance list himself, because, after two million years, he knows everybody! With the current pinch hitter? Not so much. He still absolutely relies on the list.

OK. Everybody with me so far? Here comes the problem, which caused the emails and subsequent conversations. The column was down to the Final Paragraph and all that was left to do was to enter the names from the attendance list and the OMOTM column would be complete.

I had entered the first name of an OF and looked at my list to be sure I spelled the last name correctly. It was, indeed, correctly spelled, except, by mistake, I had entered the last name of the next OF on the list. Of course I did not realize this and the Final Paragraph was cast.

I had written the first name of one OF, coupled with the last name of another OF. Well, let me tell you, the OMOTM let me know about it. Who knew there were so many proofreaders in the ranks of the OMOTM?

Several emails resulted, wanting to know who this guy was. So I told them. Not wanting to admit I may have made a mistake, I responded to each email and told them we had a new member.

I also went on the offensive by asking them why it was they didn't know about this new member. That didn’t fly. At all. Not even close.

So at Tuesday morning's breakfast, I had to try and explain why the new member was not there this week. I did try, but they weren’t buying what I was selling. Alas, I clearly am not as accomplished at spinning a tall tale as my fellow OFs.

So here I am, begging forgiveness for my lack of professionalism in writing the Final Paragraph regarding the attendance list. The pinch hitter has struck out. He is now back on the bench, possibly forever banned from writing the Final Paragraph again.

One OF suggested he get a “teacher's aid” to help with that paragraph. He does think it would be easier however, that the “new member” be summarily drummed out of the OMOTM and the two OFs be given full credit for being present for breakfast, not the half credit I gave them.

We could just put this behind us and concentrate on our bacon and eggs. Or we could vote on it along with the teacher's aid idea, except for two things: one, I am afraid of the result, and two, the members of the OMOTM never vote on anything! Except in a vague way about where to have breakfast. (We don't really “vote” on that either. We just get grumpy and don’t show up.)

Stay tuned and check back next week to find out what happens to me in the continuing saga of the “The Final Paragraph.”


Chill bikers

There were some serious conversations however, such as about heaters on motorcycles when it is cold and some ideas about why they don’t work well. Wind chill comes to mind. Maybe an enclosed heated side car might work for the passenger.

I was waiting for someone to ask about the general lack of windshield wipers on motorcycles; the question was never asked.


Hearing-aid demo

In addition, we had a live demonstration of the latest concept in hearing aids. It looked a lot like an old pair of earmuffs but with large, 3-inch diameter, seashells facing forward in place of the muffs.

I have a picture of this latest hearing aid but I felt that since I was on rather shaky ground already (see above), and the fact that The Altamont Enterprise is a serious newspaper, I decided not to let them anywhere near that photo.

Now, if the paper had a comic section — nah. Since 1884 there has never been a comic section; now is not the time to start.


Last ’graph

And now — wait for it — THE FINAL PARAGRAPH!

Those OFs (and only those OFs who all know each other) who enjoyed breakfast and the spring air with something in it were: Harold Guest, Wally Guest, Frank Fuss, Ed Goff, Joe Rack, Mark Traver, Glenn Patterson, Russ Pokorny, Warren Willsey, Roger Shafer, Pastor Jay T. Francis, William Lichliter, George Washburn, Jake Herzog, Bob Donnelly, Lou Schenck, Jack Norray, Gerry Cross, Herb Bahrmann, Paul Guiton, and me.