The topic of the day eclipsed springtime chatter

— Photo by Cynthia St. Jean

The Diamond Ring Effect: R. Douglas Marshall’s daughter took this photograph on April 8 at Sugarloaf Mountain in Maine’s Carrabassett Valley.

MIDDLEBURGH — We met the day after the April 8 eclipse. This clearly was the topic of the day at the Middleburgh Diner, with pictures being passed around from just about every OF present.

I showed off the iconic picture of a total eclipse that my daughter took from the Sugarloaf Ski Resort in Maine. She said it was a totally cloudless day with a blue sky, perfect for watching and taking pictures of the eclipse.

I will quote from her email to me that kind of sums up the whole experience. “When the totality was about to hit, there were shimmers on the snow, waves of light,” she wrote. “It was really cold when the sun was hidden, and a very surreal twilight time, with a 360 degree sunset on the horizon. Just the most amazing thing.”

One of the funniest comments of the morning came early on before many of the OFs had arrived and it was made by one OF expressing his concern for all the farmers having to run around putting the special eclipse glasses on all their cows!

Later I heard someone say, “The cows don’t care.”

Someone else didn’t think the sheep cared either. Very serious discussions these OMOTM engage in at times.

We all had the similar experience of good viewing early with very few clouds, and then, just as the big moment was arriving, so did the clouds! We here in the mountains, up and away from the Hudson and Mohawk river valleys, had some really good and clear views of the 97-percent total eclipse.

Kind of appropriate in a way, the clouds came just at the peak of the eclipse, thus making it seem darker than it might otherwise have been. Then the clouds sort of broke up and came and went while we enjoyed the moon exiting stage left.

We did get to see the eclipse at around 95 to 96 percent; I don’t suppose we could have really seen the difference between 95 percent and 97 percent anyhow.

Since we were pretty much all stay-at-home OFs, we did indulge in some head shaking when talking about the people who traveled hundreds of miles or more, getting married, or even getting in an airplane to get above the clouds, all to get a good view.

Then, after all that, there was the heavy traffic to deal with going home. Witness what my daughter and her husband did, driving from Manchester, New Hampshire to Sugarloaf Mountain in Maine; they just stayed a few nights in their Solis Pocket van in the Sugarloaf parking lot until traffic had passed. But that really is a great picture!


From handlebars to fishing poles

The conversations did turn back to the regular topics of springtime with which the OMOTM are much more comfortable, such as motorcycles and fishing boats and bird feeders.

As an example, one OF said he either has ordered or is thinking about ordering new handlebars for his cycle. The new handlebars would be somewhat taller and closer together than the regular stock ones that are on the bike now.

This prompted the question by a non-biker about how this would help or hinder the bike’s handling on corners.

I didn’t hear the answer because another OF was talking about putting grape jelly out with the bird feeders specifically for Baltimore orioles. He says they love it and he buys many jars of grape jelly each year.

So, by the time I got through listening to the grape jelly / Baltimore oriole discussion, the motorcycle-raised-handlebar question was answered and had moved on to fishing boats. Not just any old bass fishing boats mind you, but serious boats equipped with down riggers, trolling motors, full canvas so as to go fishing in inclement weather with a little heater for when it got cold and with at least a 150 horsepower engine.

This craft is probably somewhat bigger than the average bass boat or regular (whatever that would be) fishing boat found on Thompsons or Warners Lake. I have no idea how the conversation went from handlebars to fishing poles so fast.


Interpreting noise levels

Last week, an OF made two interesting comments, or at least they were interesting to me. The first comment was about how comparatively quiet it was at that particular moment.

“Must be everyone is eating,” he said.

The second comment was, of course, a little while later. He observed that it was pretty noisy, “Must be all done eating; it’s getting noisy in here. Must be about time I went home.”

I put that to the test this week; sure enough, the OMOTM breakfast can be divided into three segments: noisy, not nearly so noisy, and noisy. Just goes to show, there is always something to learn at an OMOTM Tuesday morning breakfast. You just gotta listen.

Don’t forget, here comes the Final Paragraph for this week and the Scribe and the Pinch Hitter have something planned for next week’s Final Paragraph. Here is a hint or two or three or four: It is painless, could be fun, might be hard, definitely different! Oh, one more hint, it can't be done at one breakfast, at least two, maybe three before it is over.

Those OFs who contribute so much of their wealth of mostly useless information who enjoyed their breakfast at the Middleburgh Diner were Harold Guest, Wally Guest, Miner Stevens, Ed Goff, Paul Whitbeck, Marty Herzog, Russ Pokorny, Jake Herzog, George Washburn, Wm Lichliter, Gerry Cross, Jack Norray, Herb Bahrmann, and me.