OFs grumble as they wait for spring

Spring is slow coming, which is not new, but we get one nice day and then four or five days of cold and winds. This Tuesday, when the Old Men of the Mountain met, it was April 16 and they all were in heavy jackets.

One OMOTM had his long johns on just in case (right after breakfast) he was required to be outside. This is not dressing for spring.

One OF reported one-and-a-half inches of pea-sized hail at his place; this scribe had a friend say they also had hail, and one OF reported snowflakes in a brief rain shower. This is not rare but it is not conducive to spring-like thoughts.

So the Old Men of the Mountain sat in the Country Café on Main St. in Schoharie and grumbled.

One thing they grumbled about, or rather more or less commented on, was what Schoharie (County and Village) could be, at least in the OMOTM’s opinion. When the new county office building design was selected years ago, whoever was in charge should be dragged through town with a flag stating, “I made a mistake.”

The OFs think the powers that be (or should that read the powers that were?) in Schoharie should have hired an architect who specialized in historical design. This person should have designed the exterior of the new courthouse to match the old court house.

Then, taking the park out from in front of the buildings — in the OFs’ opinion — is an abomination. Add to that the Parrott House, which could be repaired if the county would quit squabbling about it.

Just ask the OFs’ position on many things and there will be many opinions and answers that will be on the mark. This comes from combined years of what works and what doesn’t stored in the heads of the OFs.

Dollars to doughnuts

Another OMOTM who is still working in small-engine repair and is busy all the time, probably would get more done if his OF buddies would not go to his shop and just hang around, eating doughnuts and getting in the way.

This is going to be the OMOTM’s “rush season” with people wanting their summer machines ready to go, and their winter machines winterized before sticking them in the back of the garage.

This OMOTM says another spring problem is the guys who do not winterize their summer equipment getting all out of joint when the apparatus doesn’t start in the spring. When they do bring their mowers, lawn tractors, or rototillers to him they expect a miracle from him by his just saying “Abracadabra” over the machine and it starts.

“Doesn’t work that way,” the OMOTM said. The OFs better bring him another doughnut.

Greeting cards

This is an unusual topic for the OFs and that is Hallmark and greeting cards.

The OFs said that their place to buy cards is the Dollar Store. They said these cards convey what they want to say and don’t cost five or 10 dollars.

One OF said, “Why pay that much for a card that, once it is read, it’s just going to be chucked anyway”?

One OF said his family doesn’t chuck their cards.

A second OF exclaimed, “You keep all your cards?”

The first OF said, “Of course not, only those from our kids and some special people.”

Another OF said his wife uses cards over again when doing crafty things; she also uses them for name tags on packages, and Christmas presents.

Still another OF piped up that he makes his own cards on the computer, or sends one of the electronic ones. This saves paper and postage, plus this OF is one of those who thinks the mailed ones also just get tossed anyway.

But one OF stuck up for Hallmark; he thought that, more often than not, Hallmark will have the right sentiment for the occasion and will say what he and wife thinks is suitable because they never can put their own thoughts into the proper words.

The OMOTM are a sentimental group at heart. Who would have guessed?

Blood pressure

The OFs fell into a common discussion that is almost a weekly conversation — medical conditions.

There are recurring conversations that can be counted on at each breakfast. Cars (old cars and trucks), tractors, farm machinery, aches and pains and the medications that go with these ailments, gardens, and the weather are mentioned at nearly every breakfast.

Tuesday morning, it was blood pressure, and what is good or bad, plus how weird the blood pressure is of some of the OFs. This was brought about by one OF who did not make the cut at the physical for his volunteer fire company because his blood pressure was too high on four attempts to see if they could get one that would let him pass.

The OF is 83 years old, so in essence the OF is at the edge anyway. However, at 83, look at all the years of experience the OF could pass along to the young firefighters coming up.

There should be a space in many organizations where people beyond being physically able to handle the job could tutor the newcomers in many phases of their new endeavor and not be mustered out.

The OFs with their blood pressure being all over the lot among them can’t be too bad because this discussion is among guys aged 90 to 80 who are still active. These OFs should be giving lessons on managing your BP, moreover what the proper BP level is.


The Old Men of the Mountain want to send their condolences and prayers to the family of Frank Pauli who passed away last week. Frank was a long-time OMOTM who became ill, and went to live with relatives out of state.

The OFs who made it to the Country Café in Schoharie and are still amazed how one waitress and a cook can handle 23 guys plus the other walk-ins were: Miner Stevens, Roger Chapman, Bill Lichliter, George Washburn, Dave Williams, Wally Guest, Harold Guest, Chuck Aelesio, Richard Frank, Glenn Patterson, Mark Traver, Joe Rack, Otis Lawyer, Jack Norray, Mace Porter, Marty Herzog, Ted Feurer, Mike Willsey, Gerry Chartier, Elwood Vanderbilt, Harold Grippen, and me.