OFs have a history of being prepared for storms

The phone calls today brought information that some of the Old Men of the Mountain are gathering in small groups of three to five people. There appears to be three groups of these OMOTM getting together.

However, they are not combined as a unit. One group of three gathers every now and then; this is a group of guys that have a common interest. Another group apparently meets on Friday, and another holds to Tuesdays.

The communality of the groups looks to be like interests and the desire for socialization. This is a strong feeling for all the OFs, including those who are still hunkered down.


Coping with storm aftermath

There were other conversations (and the conversations were few) concerning the problem the OFs thought affected just about everybody in the surrounding area. That was the storm that visited our region on Wednesday, Oct. 7. Some of the OFs reported being without power for four days, and for others the power was off for about one-and-a-half days.

Much of this dialogue was how prepared they were for such a situation. With the OMOTM, again, it was a few who were quite well prepared with whole-house generators, stored water, and quick meals in the freezer.

One did not have a whole-house generator but he had a generator that would run most of what he needed. This OF would run the refrigerator and freezer for a while, then he would run the furnace. He could not run the pump in the well, but they had stored water for washing, and using the toilet. The OF said they had bottled water for cooking and drinking when needed.

Another OF said that he thinks everyone should have a list made for medicines, hygiene, clothes, and food for at least a couple of weeks. Make a place to keep this list, and a system for use, then replace used items to keep it well stocked, but not stale.

It was surprising for this scribe to see in these few calls how many of the OFs have something like this going already. This scribe guesses it is because they have been through it before. Especially on the mountain when those living here had to experience the winter of 1957.

That was some experience in 1957. The farmers could not ship their milk because the roads were impassable. Buildings were collapsing because of the weight of the snow.

Farmers were getting food and hay for the livestock dropped by airplanes. Farmers with animals were digging tunnels to the barn to get to the cows that had to be milked.

This scribe has pictures of snow so high that his brother stepped from the snow to the roof of the barn. The plows in many places could not push the snow; huge truck-driven snow blowers were brought in to clear the roads.

In places on the roads, the snow was so deep that volunteers stood on top of the snow and shoveled it into the snow blowers. In places also the snow covered the power lines, and all this was reported in three sections of the towns of Wright, Knox, and Berne, let alone what other towns the local residents could not experience.

One OF who worked at the cement plant in Howe Cave related how the cement plant had to shut down, and sent out all its heavy equipment with operators and helpers (who lived right around the plant) to help clear the roads. So that snowstorm would include the towns of Cobleskill and Schoharie also and maybe others.

It was the type of event which many people count other events by — like World War II, the birth of a baby, or a wedding, or funeral.


Changing weather?

The OFs mentioned that we don’t have winters like that anymore. Winters when the OFs were younger seemed to be different.

They seemed shorter, with lots more snow, and easier. Now the winters seem to have less snow, longer, are more bitter, and no fun at all. To which this scribe replied maybe it is because our old bones and thin blood, with a low rate of metabolism, makes it seem like that. The OF didn’t think so.

The OFs say the weather is changing. One OF asked the question, “Have we ever had a storm like the one which came through on Wednesday?”

The scribe had to reply not that he could remember. The scribe and his wife, and a house guest watched it come from the west, over the trees in back of their home and slam into the house as they watched out the kitchen window.

It bordered on scary as it approached and hit. A few minutes later, the lights flickered and went out. That was it for about three days. Fortunately, the generator kicked in.

Now will this be the time event that is used to measure other events by? Nah, this is just a blow compared to 1957.

A little groaner from the internet will close this column’s final thoughts on power outages and weather: When I was younger, I was scared of the dark. Now, when I get my electric bill, I am afraid of the light.