Filtering through so much rubbish makes truth hard to find

The Old Men of the Mountain met at the Middleburgh Diner in Middleburgh on Tuesday, March 28. The ride to the diner from and over the mountain was another drive through a Christmas card.

Before the column starts, this scribe caught the opening of a radio show that came on with a guy announcing he had the truth, and then he began to babble on. Many say they have the truth but truth is in the mind of the orator, not necessarily in the mind of the listener.

Like Pontius Pilate said, “What is truth?” So many claim they have the truth that there is now so much rubbish to filter through that the truth cannot be found. And that’s the truth.

The Old Men of the Mountain have a few OFs who have traveled all over this sphere — Mexico, South America, Europe, Asia, Russia, Turkey, and some are even adventurous enough to travel to South Berne. At Tuesday morning’s breakfast, one OF was telling about some of the places he has been to; one country especially interesting was Russia.

The OF said that, in the job he had, he was required to travel all over. In the beginning, it was exciting but that did not last long. The OF said 12-hour plane rides over nothing but water for most of the flight gets to be a pain in the butt after awhile.

In the city of Tambov, Russia, which is about 260 miles southeast of Moscow, the OF found it was very unusual because, even though not a major city of that country, it is pretty good-sized with about 300,000 people. That makes it a little over three times the size of Albany which is (as of 2021) about 99,000.

The OF in a city of that size (about 300,000) found there were only two restaurants, and no hotels. It sure was not a tourist destination spot as one OF put it.


Science and education

Continuing with points the OF brought up about science and education, some of the other OFs understood the problems. Once they left school and joined the workforce what the OFs thought of school sure changed, and the OFs wished they had studied harder, or would have chosen a few different courses.

One OF said that taking the easy courses just to get a degree is quite often not the way to go. Sometimes it is the harder courses that have the information the OF needed and would use.

Another OF commented that, unless you are going to play basketball or something like that as a profession, then courses in fingerpainting, and basket-weaving would be OK. Another OF chirped in for those guys and gals a course in public speaking and diction should be mandatory.

The OFs started talking about how, in the sciences, German is an important language to know and read because so much scientific information is written in German. Of course now it may not be as important because we have computers that will translate German for us, or from any other language for that matter.



As is often the case, cars, trucks, tractors, old engines, etc., are part of the conversation. Tuesday morning though, it was on cars, especially today’s cars, versus cars many of the OFs grew up with.

The OFs thought the cars of the twenties through the fifties had character and class that made each make and model different from the other. The OFs thought even some of those in the sixties and seventies would pass this test. The conversation was all on coachwork and how the vehicle looked. 

Today, the OFs say, with these wind-tunnel designs, the cars all look alike no matter how much the cost or who makes them. There, to the OFs, is no pizzazz to the coachwork.

The OFs thought again that these vehicles cost a ton of money and look like a bunch of sheets hung on the line to dry and just as boring. Mechanically — that is a different story.


Coffee connoisseurs

Another common product most everyone uses, in this case partakes of, is coffee. Some of the OFs are just plain ole coffee drinkers; others are quasi connoisseurs of the black liquid.

Like any group, the OFs have their black, cream no sugar, cream and sugar, just a splash of sugar in regular, and then there is the same set of additives in the decaffeinated group. One OF wanted his coffee super hot and when it came the OF would put a couple of ice cubes in it. (duh!)

This scribe cannot say all OFs have coffee with their breakfast, some have just water, and some will have orange juice, but some OFs are useless until the first cup of coffee.

One restaurant that is able to string tables together places two or more carafes of coffee on the table — one or more regular, and generally one decaf. At the table this past Tuesday morning, a couple of the OFs commented on how long those carafes were able to keep the coffee not just warm, but hot.

The other restaurants have waiters, or waitresses going around refilling the coffee cups, or topping them off if the OF chatted too long and the coffee cooled down. One OF said he thinks that our blood should be black not red because of how much coffee we drink.

Those Old Men of the Mountain could take winters like Tuesday morning with two or three inches of snow covering everything, the roads bare and safe, the temperature in the thirties, no wind, and the light whiff of smoke coming from the woodburning stoves, which would make winters like a Currier and Ives print. The OMOTM who traveled through this scene to the Middleburgh Diner were: Frank Fuss, Doug Marshall, Bill Lichliter, Roland Tozer, Wally Guest, Harold Guest, Robie Osterman, Russ Pokorny, Ed Goff, Jake Herzog, Lou Schenck, Jack Norray, Dick Dexter, Herb Bahrmann, John Muller, and me.