Windy weather, loon landing, and the value of a day’s work

Tuesday May 16 The Old Men of the Mountain traveled to the Chuck Wagon on Route 20 in Princetown. This was an unusual event because the OMOTM were very curious as to what that “glow” was in the sky. Early in the morning it lit up the “back room” of the diner so the blinds had to be closed. This was not common so the OFs had to re-introduce themselves to the sun.

The first topic of most mornings is the weather; this morning it was the wind. The winds did blow and the OFs were asking each other if they had to chase anything down and bring it home. The OFs did not remember any of the forecasters saying it was going to blow like this so the OFs should batten down the hatches.

A common discussion as always is farming and this time it was combining then and now. This was brought about by the animals that were taken from the small farm in the Hilltowns. The OFs said unless they were missing something those horses looked fine to them, and so did the goats. A horse, when it sheds in the spring is normally a ratty looking animal, and a muddy barnyard is normal. A pig is in pig heaven when the pig is wallowing in mud. Maybe there is something more going on here that the OFs missed. The place could have been kept up a little better. The OFs only know what they read in the papers.

Crazy as a...

Loons!  The OFs began talking about loons, one saying that he was watching them dive underwater and had no idea where they would come up.  Another OF said that loons have trouble walking on land because of the position of their legs and feet. The OF said the legs of a loon are placed way in the back of the bird. This, the rest of the OFs did not know. The OF said they appear to raise themselves up a little and then push themselves along the ground, then collapse on the ground after going about a foot to a foot-and-a-half, then they start the whole process over.

The OFs said there are laws protecting loons and their nests. The wake of a boat can flood a loon’s nest and it is then destroyed. This OF continued, “The nest is built at the water’s edge and not only a boat can wreck a nest, but a strong storm can wash one away, or a drought can lower the level of the lake and loons can’t make it to the nest.”   It is tough to be a Loon.

One OF said he was on a lake in New Hampshire standing on a dock and loons were swimming in clear water only a few feet from the dock. The OF said he could see the loons under the water and he said they are fast swimmers and dart all over the place after small fish. The OF thought they could stay under for about two minutes and would come up nowhere near where they went down. This OF said it was a rare sight and many do not get a chance to see it.


Does hard work help you live longer, or does hard work bring on an early demise?  The OFs were wrestling with this dilemma to see why most of the OMOTM are OMOTM. The OFs could not come up with a real conclusion. Many of the OFs worked hard when they were younger. The definition of hard work the OFs were talking about was physically hard work, i.e., lifting bales, hauling rocks to a rocking boat, lifting milk cans, swinging pick axes, using shovels — that type of work — and doing it day in and day out. Then there is hard work like driving a bus, the actual physical work is not much, but the mental, nervous energy is hard work. So who is going to make it to 80 and still be mobile and alert? The OFs considered work as work is a crap shoot. No one really knows.

This conversation sent this scribe to the net to do some research. The OFs considered lifestyle. A bad lifestyle and hard work (the OFs think) makes viewing grass from the brown side come pretty early, and the same goes for the mental hard work with the bad lifestyle. The OFs were beginning to think it is lifestyle and not what type of work the OF did for a living.

What this scribe found out is that going by the numbers, the numbers show playing by the book is the way to go. That is if you are a gambling man. The averages work better for those trying to live a healthy lifestyle than those who don’t. It isn’t that hard to do it right, only it is expensive. To live healthy costs money and many underprivileged persons don’t have the means to get on that bandwagon.

One OF mentioned a relative who smoked, drank, and caroused, beyond the dirty old man age and still lived into his 80s, while another relative had a lifestyle basically clean as a whistle and passed away in his mid 60s. A second OF added, “When your number is up, it is up, no matter what.” In this OF’s opinion lifestyle had nothing to do with it. Another discussion that can go on and on.

The Old Men of the Mountain who made it to the Chuck Wagon Diner in Princetown and ate what they wanted because, doggone it, many of the OFs are in their 80s and they didn’t get here by making too many bad choices, were: Roger Chapman, Roger Shafer, Robie Osterman, Bill Lichliter, Chuck Aelesio, Ray Frank, John Rossmann, Harold Guest, (and it was Guest last week instead of Grippen), Wayne Gaul, Ted Feurer, Bob Benninger, Bob Fink, Art Frament, Warren Willsey, Russ Pokorny, Gerry Irwin, Mace Porter, Lou Schenck, Glenn Patterson, Otis Lawyer, Mark Traver, Mike Willsey Gerry Chartier, Ted Willsey, Bob Lassome, Jess Vadney, Elwood Vanderbilt, Harold Grippen, and me.