'Small World' makes you want to get off

Well, it is the end of July and the beginning of August and the Old Men of the Mountain met on Tuesday, Aug. 1, at the Chuck Wagon Diner in Princetown. As most patrons of the Chuck Wagon know, this is an original dining-car diner that was originally located in Champaign, Illinois. Eventually it was moved to its current location in Princetown, New York by the Ketchums.

It is necessary to know this for the following part of the story. One of the OFs went to college with a bunch of other now OFs and a few who now reside in Florida. This OF received a phone call from one of these college buddies this Monday evening.

The college buddy was inquiring if the OMOTM wanted to come to Florida and take care of his place in Sarasota for a while. In the process of the conversation, the OMOTM told his buddy where he was going the next day and told him it was the Chuck Wagon.

The buddy then related to the OF that, when they were younger, they lived in Illinois, and that his niece worked at the Chuck Wagon when it was in Champaign, Illinois. 

If you have ever been to Disney World in Florida, you know that one of the most obnoxious theme rides is the one with the song, “It’s a Small World After All,” which is sung over, and over, and over, and over, to the point where anyone going through wants to get out of the boat and find another world, any world, because really this is a small world after all.


More than a phone

Then the OFs started talking about their phones. Some have phones that do everything while others have phones that just flip open and are phones.

To call the current phone a phone is OK, but it is a lot more than a phone. Some of the OFs rarely make calls on their phone.

The phone is now a tool, and is used like a tool. It is a still and video camera, a flashlight, a Kindle, a file cabinet, a calendar, a calculator, a text messenger machine, and maybe much more. Somewhere along the line, it may get used as a phone. 

One OF reported that he uses his phone when he can’t see behind whatever. The OF said in getting information for replacing a special white-wall tire the information was on the backside of the tire.

The OF said all he did was take his phone, hold it in back of the tire and take a picture and then read all the information like a book. No taking the wheel off or anything like that, it's just so simple to use the phone.

Another OF mentioned working in the sump of an elevator, which had a broken part that needed to be replaced. Not only was he using the messaging part of the phone to the parts people to order the part, but they wanted the make and model and the year the elevator was installed.

This information was on a plate in the dark, and in back of many moving parts that operated the elevator. All the OF did is the same as the tire OF did — he stuck his phone through all these wires to take a picture of the plate, forward it to the parts company along with the order for the parts, and was all done. No papers, no going to the office, nothing like that, all done from the pit, and on the spot.

All some people do is use phones to play games either individually, or with someone else, or even multiple players. According to the OFs, it seems there should be some other name for this device than phone.


Hay ruined in rain

At one time, most of the OFs were farmers; however, not so much anymore. One major reason is that the government forced the small farmer out of business and in the Hilltowns many of the small farms gave up farming at the same time.

This is visible now with all the fallow and brush land that is developing because this land is not being worked. However, there are still a few OFs who till the land.

This July, or even this whole haying season, has been a tough one. Dry in the beginning, and the hay was thin, so there were much fewer bales per acre than usual.

Now it has been so dang wet to cut hay, and get it dry and in, before it is rained on, that this is tough to do. Many fields have been cut and the farmer has thought he could make it and didn’t. Now he has many acres mowed and the hay is useless; in some cases, it won’t even make good mulch, or bedding. 

Now the farmer is left with a dilemma. Does he use all that fuel, devote all that time, put the wear and tear on the equipment to bale that stuff and get it off the field?

No one ever said farming was easy. However, once it gets in your blood, generally the farmer is more than willing to do all this so the rest of us can eat. 

The Old Men of the Mountain who are glad the Ketchums dragged that diner all the way from midwest and planted it in Princetown so they can chow down at the Chuck Wagon are happy. So this Tuesday morning the group of OFs that made it to the Wagon were: Miner Stevens and his grandson Brad McLaughlin, Frank Fuss, Robie Osterman, George Washburn, Bill Lichliter, Pete Whitbeck, Harold Guest, Wally Guest, Jake Herzog, Frank Dees, Russ Pokorny, Marty Herzog, Mark Traver, Joe Rack, Otis Lawyer, John Dab, Paul Guiton, Lou Schenck, Elwood Vanderbilt, Bob Donnelly, Rich Vanderbilt, Dave Hodgetts, Jeremiah Donnelly, Jack Norray, Dick Dexter, Herb Bahrmann, and me.