Falcons are dwindling while deer are everywhere

Thank goodness the Old Men of the Mountain had some really nice weather when they went to Pop’s Place in Preston Hollow on July 9. The ride over the mountain in the early morning crisp air, with low humidity, made for a pleasant, unhurried drive.

The OFs who drove over the mountain to Pop’s Place were treated to spectacular views. The fields and houses and barns on the Catskills off in the distance were visible, and appeared like they were just around the next turn.

OFs in each carload had their own stories to tell. One OF mentioned that coming down from the high spot on Route 360 there is a place that is kestrel heaven. 

A little research revealed that the kestrel is our smallest and most common falcon. The male American falcon is very colorful and one of the most beautiful hawks in North America. Generally, the OFs are able to see six to eight of those birds in that area. They have been dwindling in number.

The OF who was relating this observation said that on his trip over the mountain Tuesday morning he was able to spot only one. The OF inquired as a comment, not a question, “Where have all these birds gone?”

OFs in another car reported having an interesting deer encounter (just about in the same spot). The OFs told of having two deer run in front of the car. These deer were spotted by the driver in plenty of time to slow down and let them do their thing.

However, when they got closer, they saw two fawns, which appeared to be twins, running along with the two adults. The fawns became startled and started running down the middle of the road in oncoming traffic just ahead of the OF’s car.

This went on for at least a quarter of a mile or more. Finally, the two fawns decided to cut across the road in front of the car and then disappeared into the woods.

The OFs said those two fawns were no bigger than a good-sized cocker spaniel. One OF thought that momma deer would have a fun time rounding up those two.

Rainy Virginia

One OF’s father has recently passed away in Virginia and the OF had to go to Virginia right after July 4th to take care of business down there.

The OF gave us a weather report of what it was like in Virginia. It was not pretty. The OF said that rain came down in buckets, creeks over-flowed — everything was a mess.

1932 hot rod is hot stuff

Then along came show and tell.

One OF showed up driving his newly, or semi-newly, 1932 Ford Street hot rod with only 600 miles on it. This little beauty has over $100,000 of work in it and is some vehicle. Fire-engine red with a black convertible top, and no windows, this is a fair weather vehicle for sure.

All the shiny parts are stainless steel, not chrome. Its rumble seat  brought back memories of rides in the rumble seats of the Model A’s in the OFs’ day. The vehicle had dignified hand striping, with a cowl stripe that went all the way from cowling to the back.

Vehicles like this don’t cost a buck-eighty. The 175 horsepower engine had a nice rumble to it, not one of those raucous loud noises so whoever is around can’t speak to someone else because of the din.

Some of the OFs said they would be so nervous driving a car like this it would be parked in the living room just so they could look at it and not drive it.

Pondering eternity

The OFs talk at times about death and dying and, at the ages of some of the OFs, this situation could be close at hand. The OFs are at the short end of the ruler.

The OFs don’t dwell on it, although the subject does come up from time to time. Tuesday morning, the subject was: It is a good thing we are old when we die!

Some pass on in their sleep (the OFs think that is a nice way to go). Others have hurt for so long they can’t wait to leave. One OF thought the newer medicines, and technology in the medical field gives many OFs a better quality of life until they are called up yonder.

How do we meet those who have gone on before the OFs wondered? What age are they? Are they the same as they were when they passed on, or are they young and vital?

Do they remember only the good stuff, and none of the bad? How far back do we go with friends and relatives?

One OF suggested we have eternity to figure it out so what’s the rush. Then another OF asked what do we do for eternity? An OF said maybe we come back as somebody else on another planet, and maybe we have already been on the other planet and Earth is just one stop for us in eternity.

No one knows.

The next question that came up was what about those who are born and live for only a few weeks or months: What is it like for them? How about my dog, do I get to see her again? If we are talking eternity here, we know it can’t be linear, or a circle, or a sphere, or a box because they all have edges, and with edges we can’t have eternity.

It has to be something else. Boy, this is getting weird.

The OMOTM who crossed the mountain or traveled the flats to Pop’s Place in Preston Hollow and had plenty to eat were: Bill Lichliter, Roger Chapman, Robie Osterman, George Washburn, Harold Guest, Wally Guest, Bob Benac, Art Frament, Rich Donnelly, David Williams, Bill Bartholomew, Ken Parks, Mark Traver, Joe Rack, Jack Norray, Lou Schenck, Elwood Vanderbilt, Rich Vanderbilt, Allen DeFazzo, Gerry Chartier, Mike Willsey, Warren Willsey, Harold Grippen, and me.