Independent men celebrate Independence Day, each in his own way

Thank goodness for the Declaration of Independence; because of this document, a group of Old Men of the Mountain (at an area smaller than a pin prick on this whirling blue sphere) was able to gather at the Your Way Café in Schoharie on July 4, 2017 and have a peaceful breakfast.

The OMOTM started this holiday by having breakfast together, then each, as they left the Your Way Café, headed out to celebrate in his own fashion.

One OF was going to install a new LED light fixture in the kitchen. Big whoop. Another was going to mow the lawn if he could figure out what was the matter with the mower. Another big whoop.

Still another had a boat that runs only when it was at the dock. The OF said that, once it gets out on the lake, it quits. The OF would get it back to shore, restart it, and the dumb thing would start right up and run fine; however, get it out on the water and it would die.

The problem is that the OF isn’t using the right cuss words when he gets the engine started at the shore. The OF doesn’t know that engines have minds of their own and it is necessary to speak to them correctly and sometimes forcibly. Engines (like wives and teenagers) need a good scolding every now and then to keep them in line.

The Enterprise is on vacation as always for Fourth of July Week, printing its Keepsake Graduation Edition on July 6. Because of this the paper is put to bed early so this article needs to be kept short (and short it will be) because not much different was discussed by the OFs anyway.

Those OFs who met at the Your Way Café in Schoharie and continued their conversations of nothingness were: Roger Chapman, John Rossmann, Harold Guest, George Washburn,. Robie Osterman, Bill Lichliter, Chuck Aelesio, Miner Stevens, Otis Lawyer, Pete Whitbeck, Richard Frank, his son Richard Frank, Jr. visiting from North Carolina, Glenn Patterson, Mark Traver, Dave Williams, Wayne Gaul, Lou Schenck, Mace Porter, Jack Norray, Gerry Chartier, Herb Sawotka, Ted Willsey, Bob Lassome, Ray Kennedy, Duane Wagonbaugh, Mike Willsey, Warren Willsey, Joe Ketzer, Harold Grippen, and me.


On June 27, the Old Men of the Mountain met at the Country Café on Main Street in Schoharie.

Some of the OFs wonder how one cook, one dishwasher, and one waitress can take care of over 30 guys in no time at all and the wife goes nuts when there will be 10 for dinner at Thanksgiving. It has to be a girl thing.

The restaurant doesn’t care if all the silverware matches, or if the flowers are just right. The house is clean and smells like perfume. The restaurants must have a motto: Take it or leave it — we are doing the best we can.

The best of times

This is often said in many senior circles and on June 27 it was a topic of the OMOTM, and of course we are seniors, but not elderly. The OFs resent the term “elderly,” but don’t mind being called OFs.

The topic of discussion has the heading the OMOTM believe they have lived in the best of times, even though, when most of the OFs were young, they were poor, but so was most everyone else. Being poor was normal and no one noticed they were poor.

We did not have the medicine of today, or the ability to view everything going on all over the world in real time. The times of the OFs’ youth just seemed more relaxed.

It was not all peaches and roses — we had the Depression, World War II, segregation, and cigarettes. Yet it just seems like people were more congenial.

Familiar brands disappear

Sears has already left the Rotterdam mall and is now pulling out of Colonie Center. The OFs discussed how many of us own Kenmore products and they are good products. Sears’ tools are in most all the OFs’ garages.

The OFs wonder, without Sears in Colonie Center, where are they going to kill time while the wife shops.  One OF mentioned first Montgomery Wards went and now Sears; all that is left of our time is Macy’s.

It seems many of the names the OFs are and were familiar with are going by the wayside. Hudson, Packard, Whippet, Nash, Oldsmobile, Pontiac, Plymouth, Mercury, Farmall, Sanka, Lincoln Logs, Lionel Trains, Woolworth, and TWA are gone, although a few have been replaced with names the OFs can’t even pronounce.

One OF maintains much of the new stuff by the strange-name companies is only crap, made to last just so long and then fall apart.

Online is intangible

The new phenomenon of ordering items and paying bills “online” puzzles the OFs.

The OMOTM were brought up by getting out and doing things, building things, and talking face to face when purchasing an item. Looking at the item from all sides, checking if it appears to be constructed well, and asking a salesperson questions if unsure about the purchase.

Paying for something in cash, getting a receipt, is all tangible — this “online” business is scary at best. (This scribe thinks 100 years from now that the new now will be the antiques then, and this time will be remembered as the best of times.)

Firehouse palaces

When entering the village of Schoharie from the Fox Creek side, you see the new firehouse from Route 30. The OFs are wondering why so many firehouses are so elaborate.

It seems to many OFs that a well-built Butler or Morgan building would be more than adequate. The OFs also think that these buildings are easily expandable if the need arises

No matter how you cut the mustard, one OF said, “It is our tax dollars being spent. They could cut the cost of the building and put the money into updated equipment that would do some good when the fire company arrived at the fire.”

To which another OF added, “The fire truck doesn’t care how fancy the building is.”

It seems to the OFs it is a case of one-upmanship: My fire house is better than yours, na-na-na.

Ship collision spurs cynicism

The OFs spent time rehashing the collision of the destroyer and tanker on June 19 off the coast of Japan. The OFs feel someone on the destroyer was asleep at the wheel and someone on the tanker should have moved instead of flashing lights and blowing whistles and apparently playing bully with its size, and “I have the right of way.”

The inquiry on this accident should be interesting. One OF mentioned, with all the fancy navigation equipment that is supposed to be on both ships, there should be some concrete evidence of what happened.

“Unless,” one OF said, “some of it has not been altered by now.”

This shows how skeptical the OFs are on both sides of the argument.

When viewing the size of some of today’s ships and how fast they can travel through the water, it boggles the OFs’ pea-pickin’-brains. Like planes, many ships now are driven by computers from port to port.

The OFs are wondering how someone on each ship could not see the other and notice their course was to come darn close to one another or even collide. (Which we now know they did.) Like at our breakfast on June 20, the Navy guys in the OMOTM are still scratching their heads.

The OFs who think their being on the short end of the ruler, and living through the best of times is not that bad, were: Miner Stevens, John Rossmann, Bill Lichliter, Roger Chapman, Glenn Patterson, Roger Shafer, Chuck Aelesio, Robie Osterman, George Washburn, Harold Guest, Richard Frank, Dave Williams, Bill Bartholomew, Pete Whitbeck, Marty Herzog, Jim Heiser, Kenny Parks, Otis Lawyer, Art Frament, Lou Schenck, Mace Porter, Wayne Gaul, Ted Feurer, Jack Norray, Ray Kennedy, Bob Benninger, Bob Fink, Jake Lederman, Warren Willsey, Mike Willsey, and me.