Remembering a fallen face, and regretting the day it crumbled

A bit of history — now gone, but not forgotten.

This Tuesday, June 19, the Old Men of the Mountain met at the Home Front Café in Altamont. Redundancy is a habit of the OFs, along with most people who are over 60, and so is this little weekly message.

Therefore, to be redundant, this scribe is always amazed how one waitress can handle all the OFs, and the regular patrons, all alone (duh, if there is only one, she have to be alone). Tuesday morning, there were 29 OFs plus 16 regular patrons and one waitress. The young lady never lost her composure. What goes on in the kitchen, the OFs have no idea.

One OF brought in a note someone gave him in an envelope with a 3-cent stamp on it. This stamp was issued by the United Post Office, June 21, 1955, and commemorated the Old Man of the Mountain rock formation in Franconia, New Hampshire. This rock formation tumbled to the bottom of the mountain on Saturday, May 3, 2003. That must have made quite a noise, and sadly, it is no more.

The OF who brought in the stamp is the same OF who, when the Old Man in the Mountain quarter was made to represent the state of New Hampshire, purchased a slew of them. He then proceeded to solder clasp pins to the back of the quarters and handed these quarters out to the OMOTM when he finished them. Many of the OFs then pinned the quarters on their OMOTM hats and wear them to this day.

This scribe, after looking at this 3-cent stamp and the envelope, wanted to make a record of these items for the OMOTM’s folder. That is when today’s technology entered into the conversation.

Technology nowadays, which is so commonplace to many, yet is only fascinating to others (particularly this scribe) along with really older folks. Because the envelope had so much character with the stamp attached, this scribe asked the OF if he could take it home and scan it into his computer.

Sitting at the table were three other OMOTM and they all had these super-duper phones. One OMOTM said he wanted to take a picture of the stamp, and he did. When they heard what this scribe wanted to do, the same OMOTM said he would take pictures of the stamp and envelope and send these pictures to the scribe’s computer.

He took the pictures, asked for this scribe’s email address, typed the first three letters into his phone, and up popped this scribe’s email address. The OMOTM hit “send” and, in seconds, the phone recorded “sent.”

This scribe trusted the electronic transfer so much he gave the envelope back to the OF who brought it in.  The whole transaction took just seconds. Amazing.

When this scribe returned home, he went immediately to his computer to check it out. There it was, in all its glory — tattered envelope, Old Man of the Mountain, 3-cent, green stamp, glory.

Some of the OMOTM know Franconia and the face of the mountain well because they have been there. When that face in the mountain was protruding out of the mountainside, quite a tourist community developed around the area.

There were puzzles, paintings, photographs, and all kinds of touristy items for sale. Pick up a mug with the image on it, turn it over, and it says “Made in China.” There is a stream that runs below the mountain and one OF said he brought his pole and actually caught fish in that stream.

No one has mentioned going back to Franconia since the figure has collapsed to the base of the mountain and become just a pile of rubble.

Hot times

As most OFs could attest, June 18 was a tad on the warm side; actually, it was really hot. The OFs talked about how they managed to stay cool. Basically it was by doing nothing, except one OF mentioned he mowed his lawn.

This conversation occurred only at one corner of the table. Some of the other OFs may have been busy doing something but what it was, was unknown. The smartest thing for those of the senior set is to take it easy when it is hot and humid.

Collision course

One never knows what is going to jump out in front of your vehicle when cruising down the highway. One OF reported that the grill on his truck is all smashed.

The OF claimed to have hit a coyote while driving on Carman Road just by Hannaford on Route 20.This is the first report of an OMOTM having his vehicle and coyote come in contact with one another and not on a country road to do it.

The animals are moving to suburbia. Generally, the OFs hit rabbits, squirrels, chipmunks, deer, the occasional woodchuck, and sometimes a bird, which does not manage to make it to the slip stream and gets whopped, but this is our first coyote. Oh!

It was remembered that, a while back, two OFs clipped a peacock in flight. The two OFs thought it was an airplane coming down the road and they ducked under the dash. They stopped and the peacock was at the side of the road. Just as they approached it, this bird got up, shook out its feathers, and gave the OFs a dirty look and took off.

Those Old Men of the Mountain who greeted the workers at the Home Front Café in Altamont with a cheery “Good Morning and where is the coffee?” were: Miner Stevens, Roger Chapman, George Washburn, Robie Osterman, Bill Lichliter, Harold Guest, Wally Guest, Pete Whitbeck, Bill Bartholomew, Dave Williams, Art Frament, Bob Benac, Henry Whipple, Russ Pokorny, Warren Willsey, Mace Porter, Jack Norray, Gerry Irwin, Mike Willsey, Gerry Chartier, Karl Remmers, John DeMis, Ted Willsey, Herb Sawotka, Joe Ketzer, Elwood Vanderbilt, Harold Grippen, and me.