Two heads — with four eyes and four ears — are better than one

Well, we tumbled outta bed and stumbled to the Your Way Café in Schoharie to get a cup of ambition along with a bunch of other Old Men of the Mountain on June 22. Ole Dolly wasn’t there to sing to us, just a group of OMOTMs gathering to discuss their aches and pains as a greeting.

However, misery enjoys company, and for some reason the talk seems to lessen the aches and pains. Nothing like sharing misery, 9 to 5. Great movie, by the way.

Young people at some time have to admit that they will grow old. Right now, as that happens, many parts of the body have a tendency to let us down as we become OFs.

The OFs discussed at breakfast how it now takes two people to make one. Just going for a ride, it is a good idea to have two people in the front seat, not as radical as Hyacinth Bucket (pronounced Bouquet, from the British sitcom, “Keeping Up Appearances”) but similar. We need someone to advise when traffic is ready on the right, even though both the driver and the passenger looked that way.

Someone to spot deer, or pedestrians, always helps too. Even at a party, four sets of eyes are better than two.

Going to the doctor is another good example of two going in for one ailment. This time it is for the ears.

The OFs talked about how much help it is to have that extra pair of ears when the doctor is talking. The doctors at times will explain how to take certain meds. Quite often, to the OF with the affliction, it sounds like so much gobbledygook.

Even though the patient hears the words, the words don’t seem to make sense. The person going in with the OF hears the same words and part of the conversation sounds the same to her, but in a different way, so when the couple get home the two of them can make sense about the outcome of the visit.

“Still,” one OF said, “they might call the pharmacist and the little girl at the pharmacy makes more sense about what the meds do, and how to take them, than the physician.”

Names! The OFs commented on what appears to be a common occurrence as the OF gets older and older. The OF bumps into old people the OF used to know 40 or 50 years ago but circumstances caused these friends to leave the area.

For some reason, they have returned and for the life of the OF he knows the face and can’t remember the name. This will especially happen at reunions, weddings, or funerals; that is when it is best to have the better half close at hand.

Quite often though, that does not help because both minds might draw a blank. The worst part is when the party you are trying to identify has called you by name from behind your back.

One OF suggested that he thinks that, at some reunions, the ones who pull this stunt have taken the yearbook and studied it so that they would be able to recall everyone’s name.

It is fun to watch OFs in a gathering like this breakfast with the OMOTM and one OF is trying to remember a name from some chance meeting or tad of gossip and is unable to put a name with a face that they all know. The wrinkled brow and smell of acrid smoke as OFs’ brains try to work to come up with someone we should all know.

The OFs have been told over and over not to worry about this lack of memory because it is quite common. The reasoning is: As we get older, our brains store up a lot more information, so it takes longer to retrieve it because it has more to sort through.

One OF said that is not the case with him. This OF claims his brain is, and he always had, what is now called a “trash” section. And, if he thinks something is a bunch of bologna, it goes into the trash section and every now and then he dumps it.

Another OF doesn’t have that trash section, but he always has been told he uses “selective hearing.” He said, “My wife tells me I have that turned on every time she speaks.”

All this talk never solved the problem of the guy’s name we were previously mentioning, or who he was married to.

As Will Rogers once said, “When you are dissatisfied and want to go back to your youth, think of algebra.”


Knock on wood

Like most conversations among the OFs at this time of year, we hear dialogue like: “How is your garden coming, is it all in, or are you taking any trips this year?” This is typical banter heard at any gathering, like the Legion, or church, or the local book club.

At the OMOTM breakfasts, there is one topic that crops up this time of year that may be a little different. We say things like, “Have you got all your wood cut or in for next year?”

And in Tuesday morning’s conversation on having wood in, for some reason, the north side of the hill came up. One OF came up with a piece of useless information that pertained to nothing at all.

That was, “Did you guys know wood for wooden ladders is harvested only on the north side of the hill”?

Whatever that had to do with anything made no sense at all to the conversation.

Those Old Men of the Mountain (who could remember each other) met at the Your Way Café in Schoharie and they were, as the scribe can remember: Glenn Patterson, Mark Traver, Joe Rack, Wally Guest, Harold Guest, Pete Whitbeck, Bill Lichliter, Robie Osterman, George Washburn, Duncan Bellinger, Gerry Chartier, Otis Lawyer, Russ Pokorny, Jake Herzog, Elwood Vanderbilt, Bob Donnelly, Dave Hodgetts, Jack Norray, Lou Schenck, Herb Bahrmann, Rich LaGrange, and me.