Recalling those who breakfasted a quarter-century ago

Once upon a time, a long time ago, the Old Men of the Mountain appeared in a mysterious communiqué that arrived at the Middleburgh Diner. This letter was current but the year mentioned was not.

The year was 1998, and as the letter requested it was passed to the current names listed in the CC at the bottom of the letter. So this July 11, 2023 quickly was transported back in time.

This scribe proceeded, just out of curiosity, to see who would have been in attendance at the breakfast in 1998. A phone call was made to the editor of The Enterprise, requesting if she had any records of the OMOTM at that time. She did, and the editor graciously forwarded to this scribe the names of those in attendance.

This scribe found 16 Old Men of the Mountain at breakfast at that time. Of those 16, only two are still currently regular attendees, and two are still taking nourishment but are in their nineties. One does not hear very well and has trouble getting ready until later in the day; the other is 97 and has basically the same problems.

This makes four who are still taking up space on this planet, and the other 12 have passed and are having breakfast every Tuesday with all the other OFs on some cloud in the sky.


Rare beauty

The OMOTM quite often report on the weather in our area — sometimes good and other times not so good. This can be true of most any part of this sphere that anyone happens to be in at any particular time.

After all the miserable weather the area has been having, the morning of Tuesday, July 11, was an exception. The air was crisp and clear and, looking across the hills, it seemed as if one could see forever.

Around 6 or so in the morning, some fog popped up here and there, and the sun lit up the hills. Some OFs stopped and pulled to the side of the road to take it all in on their way to the Middleburgh Diner.


Drones evolve

In conjunction with the beauty of the day, the discussion of drones came up and how many people that have these new toys can take unusual pictures from perspectives they never could before. Some of the OFs have these machines and noted the early ones were driven by radio-controlled airplane engines, which are pretty touchy to start and run.

Now most of the drones are battery operated; the controls are the same but all that is necessary to get the drone started is to flick a switch and the operator with his machine is underway. 

A couple of OFs discussed how there is quite a learning curve on flying a drone, similar to a radio-controlled airplane. Once they are in the air and a distance from the operator, it is tough to know which way the drone is going. Is it away from the operator or towards the operator?

The other similarity is, once the drone passes the centerline of the operator, many of the controls reverse. Right now becomes left, and left is right.

At this time, the drone is quite a tool for the search-and-rescue teams dealing with all the flooding going on now, or when people are lost in the woods. But as one OF thought, once AI gets cranked up, and these things become more sophisticated, society is getting set up for George Orwell’s Big Brother warning in the book “1984” big time.


Precious stuff

The OFs, as they age and now have time and money, have a tendency to accrue stuff — just stuff. What happens to this stuff when the OFs get to the point they are no longer able to enjoy the stuff or get out and about like they used to?

All this stuff does is collect dust, rot, or rust away. Because of the letter mentioned at the start of this column, the OFs talked about passing all this junk, stuff, antiques, etc., on. However, the odd thing is, nobody wants it; it is only interesting to the OF.

Who do you give it to most of the time? Your kids, nah. They don’t want it; they already have their own stuff so they don’t want yours.

Quite often, when the OFs eventually get to be OFs, their kids are beginning to approach their own OF age. The OF’s trinkets are theirs — not the kids’.

However, this does not hold true especially if the trinkets and stuff are true antiques. Now may be the time for an auction, or sale but this is tough. One OF said he has become really attached to a lot of his stuff and would rather die while it was still in the barn.

The Old Men of the Mountain that attended the breakfast in 1998 were: Steve Kelly, Ivan Baker, Walt Coulter, Frank Ostrander, Herbie Wolford, Myron Filkins, Carl Slater, Keith Saddlemire, Gerd Remmers, Harold Murphy, George Washburn, and Warren Willsey who was brought as a guest because he was just a young-un at that time, and me (and those who were very active but have had to retire: Robie Osterman, 91, and Mike Willsey, 97). 

Now those who were at the Middleburgh Diner in Middleburgh 25 years later were: Wally Guest, Ed Goff, Miner Stevens, Russ Pokorny, Harold Guest, Frank Fuss, Bill Lichliter, George Washburn again, Pete Whitbeck, Otis Lawyer, Gerry Chartier, Jake Herzog, Rev. Jay Francis, Lou Schenck, Jack Norray, Dick Herzog, Herb Bahrmann, and me again.