Message was on the mark: Volunteers are needed

DUANESBURG — It seems like each Tuesday’s weather is nicer than the last one. May 7 was no exception as we gathered at the Chuck Wagon Diner in Duanesburg.

With more OFs returning from the southern climates our numbers continue to increase. Last week’s column regarding the need for volunteers for our volunteer firehouses and rescue squads resulted in several OFs approaching me with positive thoughts and their own memories of their time being part of a volunteer firehouse or rescue squad.

I learned of one OF in particular who just celebrated 70 years of membership in the Huntersland Volunteer Fire Department! He did acknowledge that he no longer runs into burning buildings carrying the fire hose like he did when he joined as an 18-year-old in 1954.

He told me of how they acquired an old school bus, cut the top off, got rid of the seats, and modified the interior so they could carry the equipment and the substantial pump they needed to pump water from a pond to fight the fires. They would drive their early version of today’s pumper truck to the pond or lake or river and pump the needed water.

One more example of yesterday’s and today’s volunteers; they have always done whatever it takes to get the job done.

One more thing about volunteer fire companies, when I mentioned the nine volunteer fire companies in last week's column, I am sure that there are many, many men and women volunteers who just looked at each other and either said out loud or at least thought, “This writer doesn’t have the faintest idea of how many volunteer fire companies there are up here in the Hilltowns!”

You are right. I don’t. I have done some additional research, and I won’t even bother to try to quantify the number. Let’s just say the low number nine I threw out there last week is beyond laughable. However, I believe the message for the need for volunteers was on the mark.



Last week, the subject of 100-percent pure maple syrup vs. commercial maple syrup was part of the breakfast conversation at one of the tables. This week, one OF had a waffle and commented he didn’t bring his own 100-percent pure maple syrup like the OF from last week.

This started a general conversation about how the whole industry of making maple syrup works in the first place. The large number of trees involved (more than nine; I’m not making that mistake again!) and the short time span to actually harvest the sap. How the lines from all those trees are all connected together and the lines are maintained, ending up at the sugar shack.

How many gallons of sap are required to make a quart of syrup (a lot), and the constant even temperatures that are maintained in the cooking process, where the source of heat is provided by wood-burning “furnaces.”

In early spring, while all of this is going on, there is usually a weekend or two where the public is invited to come and witness this operation right at the source. There are tours at some of these operations where they will take you out to the trees to see how they are tapped and show you the lines the sap flows through to get to the sugar shack.

I made this trip; it was a great afternoon, and yes, you can generally purchase some 100-percent pure maple syrup on the spot. Afterwards, the next time you have some pancakes for breakfast and use your own real maple syrup that you watched being made, you will find it tastes so much better than what you used before, that you too will want to BYOS (Bring Your Own Syrup!).

Recognizing Ron

The Chuck Wagon Diner is the home of Ron, the fabulous, famous, and favorite coffee man of the OMOTM. One of the OFs had decided to recognize Ron with a nice plaque showing all of the OMOTM’s appreciation. This was previously presented to a much-embarrassed Ron

On Tuesday, the owner, Chris, made sure that we all took note that the plaque was now hanging on the wall in the room where the OMOTM meet for breakfast. It looks good hanging there.


Side hustle

One last note left over from last week. At another table we took notice of a unique side hustle taking place.

You know those small little creamers on the tables that are there for those of us to use in their coffee? It was observed that one OF asked another OF for just one of those creamers.

The other OF promptly gave him one, and then said that would be 50 cents! The cream was free, but there was a delivery fee of 50 cents!

After a bit, the first OF needed another creamer, and this time the delivery fee was 75 cents! Well, the first OF had had enough and demanded to know what was going on.

The second OF calmly explained that this was how he made enough money to pay for his breakfast! That all he needed was a few more little creamer sales and he would have enough!

The first OF asked if he could have the second OF put it on his tab, the second OF said sure! Everybody was happy.

Those OMOTM who enjoyed breakfast this week were Harold Guest, Wally Guest, Miner Stevens, Wayne Gaul, Ted Feurer, Jake Lederman, George Washburn, Wm Lichliter, Pete Whitbeck, Frank Fuss, Paul Whitbeck, Jake Herzog, Jake Herzog, Paul Guiton, Paul Guiton (I had to put Jake and Paul down twice because I failed to list them last week when they were present), Marty Herzog, Michael Kruzinski, Roger Shafer, Russ Porkorny, Roland Tozer, Frank Dees, Gerry Chartier, Joe Rack, Ken Parkes, Duncan Bellinger, Mark Traver, Jack Norray, Lou Schenck, Gerry Cross, Dick Dexter, Bob Donnelly, Dave Hodgetts, Elwood Vanderbilt, John Dab, Pastor Jay Francis, and me.