Nothing much bothered Herbie Wolford

— Photo from John R. Williams

Herbie Wolford, right, shares a smile with John Williams.

The Old Men of the Mountain are going back in time with stories from their youth. Some will include one of the OMOTM’s founding members. Unfortunately, the founding member has passed away but we can use his name, and his name is necessary for these stories.

Herbie Wolford was a man that enjoyed life and was not easily rattled. Herbie would go to the — at that time — “landfill” which was really the “dump” and recycling was not even thought of yet, so everything went.

This was all to the chagrin of Barbara (Herbie’s wife) because quite often Herbie brought more home from this “dump” than what he brought there to dispose of. He justified this by remarking, “All of these things could be used some day.” Since Herbie passed, it seems that much of what was brought home to be used someday, well, the someday still isn’t here.

Herbie had many belts hanging in his milk house; some were new, and some not so new. Herbie’s philosophy was someday he would become a certain size and then they all would fit. This was odd thinking because the young OFs at that time who knew Herbie never saw him wear a belt. He always held his pants up with a piece of rope.

One day, following this same philosophy, Herbie brought home one brand new shoe, and Barbara said Herbie told her that it fit perfectly and one day there might be another shoe for the other foot left at the dump.

Herbie not only had a good-sized productive farm but he also cut and sold hay, especially for the horse farms downstate. He trucked this hay down on a K9 International. In the farm next to Herbie’s, just past Line Road in Schoharie County, lived three young boys. (One of these “boys” is now a member of the OMOTM). At this time the now-OMOTM member was about 15 years old, he was helping Herbie load the K9 in the field with baled hay ready to head downstate.

The load was not tied down and Herbie told the now-member of the OMOTM and another lad that they would tie it down when they loaded up on Line Road. He also told the neighbor lad to take the truck out of the field and out on the road.

Even at age 15, the neighbor kid sort of questioned this maneuver because the field road to get the truck out had quite a tip to it as it approached Line Road, but Herbie insisted so the neighbor kid went to the truck and headed out of the field.

When the lad started up this field road the truck started to tip, and slowly, slowly, the truck tipped over on its side spilling the whole hay load back onto the field. When the neighbor kid crawled out of the rider’s side door, Herbie and the other hired hand were laughing their heads off.

As was reported earlier, nothing much bothered Herbie, even after it took tons of work to get the truck back on its wheels, load the hay onto wagons, and haul them to the truck and reload it while it now sat on the road. According to the 15-year-old, this is the way it should have been done in the first place. All this didn’t bother Herbie in the least.

Quite often Herbie would have the neighbor kid ride with him while he took the hay downstate. As qualified sources reported, the kid did not ride, he drove while Herbie slept. The neighbor kid did not have a license — he wasn’t even old enough to apply for one.

One day, Herbie and others were working on a barn he was building. They were working on the rafters when Herbie accidentally drove a nail through his shoe, just nicking his toe. Herbie slid his foot out of the shoe, and drove a couple more nails through the shoe nailing it into the rafter.

He finished the rest of the day with a shoe on one foot and a sock on the other. Herbie told those working with him that he guessed he would have to go to the dump and find another shoe.

Those are just a few of the stories gleaned from one of the three founding members of the Old Men of the Mountain and, as far as the OMOTM know, that shoe is still part of the barn.

In these stressful times, it helps us to have had friends and remember the good times. Friends are like bras — close to your heart and there for support.