Conversation flows like lava, from Hawaii to Alaska

On a rare pleasant day for the Old Men of the Mountain, the Old Men of the Mountain met at the Your Way Café in Schoharie on Tuesday, May 29, to discuss whatever happened the week before. Not much for some — yet lots for others.

One OF went with another older person to visit a younger person. The younger person who was visited brought up an unusual topic during the conversation, i.e., “Why don’t weeds grow on ant hills — only grass?” This actually required no answer and the two visiting had no reply because neither had a clue.

The one OF asked this same question at this morning’s breakfast and had the same response from the OFs that he had visiting the younger person. The question remains, “Why does only grass grow on ant hills and not weeds?”

This scribe went home and checked out the ant-hill question. This scribe mows about three acres and has lots of ant hills. Checking the ant hills, this scribe found that the foregoing statement was nearly correct.

In seven out of 10 ant hills, seven had only grass growing on them and three ant hills (and this was quite a colony so it may be considered just one) had a vine-like weed covering most of the ant colony, and a small section had nothing growing on it yet.

Cutlery question

Another OF had an observation that was in the form of a question and the OF asked this question at the breakfast. Question: “Does flatware seem to be getting thinner and smaller?”

This question did have a reply and the OFs seemed to agree with the OF now that they thought about it at the breakfast. One OF said he has had a fork bend trying to cut into the hard crust on the bottom of a piece of pie.

Another OF said he didn’t think it was the cutlery but the OF’s sense of touch has lessened and he was trying to cut through the plate.

“Well, it should have cut the plate anyhow,” the OF replied. “It was a paper plate.”

Yet another OF said, “Maybe, but it all depended on how much that OF wanted to spend on his flatware.” This OF said, “There is a happy medium.”

This OF also grumbled about some flatware that is big and clunky so that it is hard to use. This OF complained that the heavy fancy cutlery, especially spoons, does not scoop up the good stuff in a bowl of soup, and generally there is no depth to the spoon. When the OF arrives at the supposed bottom of the bowl with the big spoon, there is still so much soup left that the OF has to pick up the bowl and sip the rest out.

Hot topic

The OFs discussed the eruption of Mt. Kilauea in Hawaii. They discussed the fantastic photos of the lava pouring out of the cracks in the Earth.

What brought this up was the turnaround of people wanting to go to the island. The OFs mentioned that the tourists visiting Hawaii have dropped by 50 percent.

One OF said unless anyone is going to the area around where the volcano is mad because they have stopped offering up goodies to the volcano gods and the volcano is letting the inhabitants know who is boss. The rest of the island is pretty big and, if it weren’t for the news, most of the island people would not even know what was going on.

The OFs went from Hawaii to Alaska and that was because the discussion on the eruption led to talk of the geothermal electric plant that is in the way of the lava flow. One OF mentioned the geothermal power plants in Alaska and how efficient they are and they use no fuel whatsoever.

Another OF mentioned that, until the eruption, geothermal as source of power for running power plants was really not known by the general populace. This OF said it has been mostly solar, wind, and occasionally the tides that we hear about.

Trials of travel

This scribe reports on this occasionally and it is because, as stated before, the OFs are OFs; therefore, aging is a topic of discussion often. This time, it was what the OFs used to do physically and what the OFs are limited to now — not all but many of us.

One limitation is getting up and down; the other is: When did they start putting things up so high?  The OFs have trouble reaching things.

When did getting in and out of a vehicle become a project? When did getting out of a chair require pushing on the arms? When did sitting down mean looking for a hard chair instead of one of those chairs you sink into? When did just taking off on a two-day trip change from throwing your ditty bag and some clean underwear into the vehicle and taking off?

Now it is plan the pills, plan the route for rest areas with bathrooms, and where will the OF be in a couple hours of travel, is there a McDonald’s close by? This goes on until eventually the OFs says: The heck with it; let’s just stay home; tain’t worth the hassle.

Some of the OFs agreed with a lot of this, especially the McDonald’s being so strategically spaced. One OF said that, when on trips, they have purchased a lot of coffee at McDonald’s, even while they have full thermoses in the car.  

Those Old Men of the Mountain who found traveling was not much of a chore when making their way to the Your Way Café in Schoharie were: Miner Stevens, Roger Chapman, George Washburn, Robie Osterman, Harold Guest, John Rossmann, Bill Lichliter, Chuck Aelesio, Ray Frank, Dave Williams, Bill Bartholomew, Otis Lawyer, Mark Traver, Glenn Patterson, Pete Whitbeck, Joe Rack, Mace Porter, Lou Schenck, Jack Norray, Herb Bahrmann, Ted Feurer, Wayne Gaul, Gerry Irwin, Bob Benninger, Bob Fink, Mike Willsey, Gerry Chartier, Duncan Bellinger, Elwood Vanderbilt, Harold Grippen, and me.