OFs eschew stereotypes: Being from the hills doesn’t mean they’re hicks

A few days of summer so far, and on Tuesday, July 21, the Old Men of the Mountain met at the Home Front Café in Altamont.

Tuesday morning, the OFs had the honor to break in a new waitress (new at least to the OMOTM) under fire. When the early birds arrived, the waitress was pretty as a picture; however, midway through taking care of all these OFs, her hair was soon disheveled and the poor girl looked harried.

She probably was thinking, “What have I gotten myself into?” Though harried, she kept her composure throughout. Good job. After the OFs clear out, it is time for the mirror and a re-do.

The OMOTM are not hicks

The Helderberg Hilltowns are not the biggest towns in the world but that does not mean the city people can come up and stomp all over us, and it is not all city people, but enough to generate a stereotype.

Conversely, there are enough of the people from the hills that don’t understand the rules of the cities and earn the stereotype of “hicks from the hills.” The city folk are stereotyped as the “bullies and know-it-alls from the city.”

When, in fact, neither stereotype is true. We are defending the OMOTM from falling into the stereotypical category of being from the hills. Many OFs are from the hills, but the OFs are definitely not hicks.

Constant care required

An OF inquired of the OFs from the Berne area about the bridge repair in that village. They all agreed it was necessary and has to be done, along with repairing the road through the village.

The OFs were of the opinion that the bridge should be done by late August, and the road is to be repaired to the county line. The OFs who are familiar with construction said, while under construction, there are inconveniences, but people have to work around this while the construction is going on.

If there weren’t any maintenance on our highways and byways, they would become so dangerous that no one would use that particular stretch of road that is falling apart, and, if they did, they would be taking their life in their own hands. The same thing holds true with buildings as small as a tent and up to the size of the largest skyscraper — all of them require constant care.

The OFs from the Berne area said that the state has gone one step beyond because on the signs stating that the bridge is out and detours are in place, there is a notice that the “Berne Store Is Open.”  It is rare for the state to do something like this to facilitate one business.

The Berne OFs said the state sends travelers on basically state roads so their directions are sometimes quite convoluted.  Case in point is heading east on Route 443. The state, the OFs think, is required to use state highways.

In this case the state takes the traveler on Route 1 (Switzkill Road) to Cole Hill Road and back down to Route 443. This is a hike. The “locals” find Irish Hill to Cole Hill, to Route 443 much shorter.

Getting to events going on in Berne is not that much of a hassle using the local connections. If coming into town, particularly east on Route 443, just keep going until you get to where the event is; for instance, if it is at the school or even a garage sale.

Coming from the  west on Route 443, it is necessary to head north on Route 156 at the bridge to Rock Road and loop around to Route 443 and go east back into town.  This is about a four-mile trip from the bridge, and a three-mile trip cutting over Rock Road if approaching Berne going south on Route 156 from Knox.

There!  The OFs hope this helps.

Inventions to come

The OFs were wishing someone would develop a grass for lawns that grows to the height of about 3 inches and no taller. It also would have to be inexpensive, impervious to weeds, and survive during hot, dry spells.

Those who think everything that can be invented has been invented are off the mark. The OFs believe that the kids today have a whole field of inventions to come up with that the OFs haven’t even thought about, and the grass is one of them, only the OFs have thought of that one. 

The OFs included in this part of the conversation the trip to Pluto, and what other plans are in the works. One OF mentioned that the trip to Pluto was done with technology that is nine years old.

Look how far we have come in those nine years. What a time to be six years old — space travel is within their grasp. Beam me up, Scotty!

Those OFs who made it to the breakfast at the Home Front and some brought their space suits, were: Roger Chapman, Robie Osterman, George Washburn, Miner Stevens, Bill Lichlater, Dave Williams, Bill Bartholomew, John Rossmann, Frank Pauli, Harold Grippen, Glenn Patterson, Mark Traver, Jim Heiser, Chuck Aleseio, Otis Lawyer, Jay Taylor, Roger Fairchild, Bob Benac (with his brother, Joe Ketzeko), Lou Schenck, Jack Norray, Roger Shafer (with his son Michael, and grandkids),  Gerry Irwin, Mace Porter, Bob Lassome, Ted Willsey, Henry Whipple, Bill Rice, Elwood Vanderbilt, Harold Grippen, Joe Loubier, and me.