Mrs. K presents Elwood with an edible work of art

— Photo from John R. Williams

Elwood Vanderbilt, who is now 95 years old, celebrated his birthday with the other Old Men of the Mountain last Tuesday at Mrs. K’s restaurant in Middleburgh.

The day is the same, but the day itself is never the same, so this Tuesday, Sept. 20, the Old Men of the Mountain were at Mrs. K’s restaurant in Middleburgh. The prettiest part of the year is coming up with the trees changing and all the fall flowers showing off.

The colors of spring are fine but not equal to the colors of fall. One set of colors lets the OFs know that the blast of winter is on its way; the other set lets the OFs know it is over.

The Old Men of the Mountain met in Middleburgh to celebrate an OF whose birthday was on the 21st but was reaching the milestone of 95 years old. The OMOTM does have its share of nonagenarians.

Elwood Vanderbilt will be 95 but is not our oldest member right now. The OMOTM’s oldest member is Mike Willsey at 97. The term OFs fits the group well.

Mrs. K had a cake for Elwood on this occasion and this cake was beautiful. Some of these cakes are works of art and it is a shame to cut into them and eat them.

The odd part is: We all know where these sweet repasts wind up. That makes it more of a shame.

To be 95 or 97 and still lucid is great. Elwood does manage with a walker but, as mentioned many times, there are OFs who rattle their canes and park their walkers as they come to breakfast. One of these nice, crisp fall days the OMOTM should have an OF walker race.


Single OFs share cooking tips

The OMOTM have another sub-group, and they are OFs without a partner. This led to the question: How do those living alone (either in their own home or in an apartment) handle their meals?

This came up as a topic at the breakfast table. It was strange, with no communication or get-together; it was found that many do the same thing.

One OF has sectioned plates and does all his cooking on one day. The OF then portions these sections off in a rotation so he isn’t eating the same thing day after day.

The OF says the rotation is kept interesting that way. Then the OF places the sections of food in the freezer and thaws them and eats them without having to cook every day.

Another OF cooks all his food on one day but prepares lots of the same thing then has it every day until it is gone. Then he starts another but different batch and does the same thing. Not quite as adventurous as others but achieves the same thing.

Others were taking hints because they eat out most of the time and were beginning to find it’s too expensive now to do that. The OF were beginning to really mutter about the cost of common commodities yet their income has not gone up any.

Remember when our mothers and maybe even the OFs’ wives saved cooking grease and reused this grease especially if it had a lot of bacon grease in it?

Well, some of the OFs do not mind cooking and, judging by what they have, they are doing a good job of it. These OF are still saving the grease (especially bacon) and claim they really use it.

Sounds good to a lot of other OFs, even those who are not allowed to have it because their cardiologists say it is a no-no. An often repeated comment is: Why are so many no-nos so good?

So, whatever the OFs are cooking, when they are preparing their meals they should keep it up, because the group is a real rowdy bunch of OFs and that takes energy, and food equates to energy, and as one OF said, “What is this calorie thing anyway?”

Continuing on with cooking — many of the OFs order eggs at breakfast and one OF inquired offhandedly, “I wonder,” the OF said, “How many chickens are there in the world?”

The OF added that he bet there would be a ton of zeros after the number.

That is a thought, but the OFs weren’t going to lose any sleep over it, until one other OF said he wondered how many gallons of fuel were in all the gas tanks, ships, planes, trains, homes, and industry fuel tanks.

Talk about zeros behind a number — chew on that one for a while. That brought up a remark from someone else mentioning, “Well, as long as we are chewing, how many sticks of gum are being chewed on right now?”

This conversation could go on for quite a while.

Those who traveled to Mrs. K’s in Middleburgh to celebrate one of the OFs who has made 95 and some of these are 90-plus were: Robbie Osterman, Rick LaGrange, Doug Marshall, Ted Feurer, Marty Herzog, Jake Lederman, Joe Rack, Glenn Patterson, Mark Traver, Ken Parks, Wally Guest, Harold Guest, Roger Shafer, Frank Dees, Paul Whitbeck, Pete Whitbeck, Gerry Chartier, Jake Herzog, Duncan Bellinger with his guests from Germany - Reiner Ahren, & Fredrich Ahren, Paul Muller, Russ Pokorny, Warren Willsey, Lou Schenck, Jack Norray, Herb Bahrmann, Bob Donnelly with guest Terry Ayres & Jeremiah Hending, Dave Hodgetts, Allen DeFazzo, John Dap, Frank Weber, Elwood Vanderbilt of course, and me.