Does a deer have four stomachs like a cow?

John R. Williams imagines this could be “the OFs in front of the Altamont Station waiting to load up for their trip to the Your Way Café in Schoharie.”

On Tuesday, Sept. 13, the Old Men of the Mountain met at the Your Way Café in the outskirts of beautiful downtown Schoharie not far from the “Old Stone Fort.” The fort was originally a Dutch Reformed Church but, during the Revolution, it was blockaded and used as a fort. It was briefly attacked.

Sometime after the Revolution, the blockade was removed and it became a Dutch Reformed Church again. However, many of you readers already know this and probably a lot more.

On the way to the breakfast, early in the morning, it was foggy, with rain. Neither circumstance was too hard, or too thick, in the way of being early fall, end of summer, early a.m. nostalgic.

Some of the OFs come off the mountain either by Canaday Hill, or wind up on Route 443. Those using 443, just before it connects with Route 30, would come across what appeared to be either a town truck, or county truck with flashing lights in the west-bound lane.

As the cars drove around the truck, the riders would see a good-sized buck deer in the road still alive, but severely wounded, and a car in a driveway with some damage.

Reporting this little common incident had the OFs start talking about deer. This has been a subject the group has talked about many times; however, on this occasion, the discussion turned to: “Do deer have four stomachs like a cow?”

One OF thought they did, most didn’t know, even though they have killed deer and skinned them out. They had never stopped to count the guts.

One OF said he knew that deer do chew their cuds like a cow. That was a good clue. This scribe looked it up. Deer do have a four-chambered stomach and digest their food much like a cow.

Now you must remember that this is a group known as The Old Men of the Mountain.

Being that, one OF asked the question “What is the difference between a cow chewing its cud and a girl chewing gum?”

None of the OGs answered and one finally said, “What is the difference?”

And the OF who had posed the question replied, “It’s the thoughtful look on the face of the cow.”


Bridges with character

The OMOTM have a new member with a well-known county name. Some of the OFs began bringing up people with the same name and who they were and what they did. Then other common county names popped up.

Then names somehow led to a short conversation on bridges and one of these bridges was at the North end of the Old Stone Fort where the bridge crossed Fox Creek on Route 30. It seemed at that time bridges, especially small ones, had character, and even some of the larger ones displayed this characteristic.

Today there are some large beautiful bridges but they lack character.

When the OFs were young, even a culvert had character and each one seemed different. Today, so many bridges seem to be just extensions of the roadway and oftentimes the drivers don’t even know they are on a bridge.

On the Taconic, one OF said, the bridges were works of art, but most of those were built by the Civilian Conservation Corps in the thirties.

Today, it was suggested, most are in a hurry to get to where they are going so that it just doesn’t pay to put the time and effort into this type of construction. Just build it rugged with straight lines, right angles, and call it good enough for government work and go on to the next.

Another OF said beautifying the roadways may slow people down; then again, it may slow some down but not others, and the gawkers will get plowed in the back by the “we are in a hurry guys.”

“What we need,” one OF interjected, “along with the passing lane is a slow-speed lane so some can enjoy the ride.”

“Well,” another OF added, “the roads will have to be nearly 72 feet wide, one lane for the walkers, another for the bicycles, another for the gawkers, one for two people in a car, one for egress or ingress, one for passing, and one for high speed, and don’t forget one for trucks. Why not just take the road less traveled?”

That is a rather common statement, and the ruts of that road are worn by the wheels of the drivers over 70, but they do meet some intelligent young folks along the way.


Trains of old

One breakfast group table discussed trains of old, particularly the engine on display in Pennsylvania. This was the Big Boy, which was the largest steam engine ever built and they built 25 of them.

One OF brought in pictures of the engine that is there in Pennsylvania. The Big Boy is on display in other museums in other states and the OFs think if anyone is interested in machinery this one chunk of machinery is to be checked out.

Many think the articulated bus, or farm and construction equipment being articulated is neat. Well, for neat, the Big Boy was also articulated so it could make some of the turns.

Many don’t realize that this massive piece was built right here in the American Locomotive Company in Schenectady. Remember Schenectady? The city that lights and hauls the world.

    Those Old Men of the Mountain who made it to the Your Way Café in their little railroad hand-cars with rubber wheels were: Roger Shafer, Glenn Patterson, Joe Rack, Mark Traver, Wally Guest, Harold Guest, Doug Marshall, Miner Stevens, George VanWie, Jake Lederman, Ted Feurer, Wayne Gaul, Rick LaGrange, Frank Dees, Russ Pokorny, Bill Lichliter, Robie Osterman, George Washburn, Pete Whitbeck, Jake Herzog, Marty Herzog, Gerry Chartier, Paul Whitbeck, Paul Muller, Bob Donnelly, Elwood Vanderbilt, Dave Hodgetts, Lou Schenck, Duncan Bellinger, Herb Bahrmann, Rev. Jay Francis, Frank Weber, and me.