Universal lament: Stretching dollars and pinching pennies doesn’t make ends meet

The Old Men of the Mountain shook themselves out of bed on Oct. 14, and scurried off to the Duanesburg Diner in Duanesburg for the OMOTM breakfast.

One OF told of overhearing two ladies coming out of Tractor Supply in Cobleskill, complaining about prices and how they hit the nail on the head when one said, “Money does not go as far as it used to.”

The OF mentioned this at the breakfast and there was complete agreement. One OF said that taking care of the household expenses comes first. Look at the places that are going out of business: casinos, restaurants, car dealerships, and more.

“Things we can do without,” one OF said.

Traveling has been cut way back because of the price of gas. Now it is necessary to go to the bank to get money to pay for a couple of cups of coffee.

Take sugar, for example.  The manufacturers didn’t change the price but the sack now weighs only four pounds when it used to weigh five.

“A lot of items are like that,” an OF said. “We just have to check the weight, or the volume and see how many products supply less for the same money — and some even charge more. The price of a movie now is ridiculous.”

The OFs guess this is everybody’s lament.

Many talents

The group of guys who make up the OMOTM have many talents that this scribe has brought up a few times before; this is true with many groups that get together under this name or that.

Schoharie has an annual historical revolutionary re-enactors’ event at the Old Stone Fort in October. This year’s event was special because of the 125th anniversary of the Schoharie Historical Society.

In TV ads for this event, one of the OFs who plays guitar and sings with a group was shown in his Colonial garb, strumming his guitar. Of course, as this scribe pointed out, it was from a previous event because this one had not happened yet.

Nostalgia for the old days

Talking about Colonial times seemed to make the OFs a bit nostalgic and they turned the conversation back to when many of them were farming.  During those years, WGY had an early-morning radio show that was on in every barn.

Charles John Stevenson was the Chanticleer; Earl Pudney was on air with him. The Chanticleer gave the farm reports for the day, including the cattle auction (which included more than cattle) from Central Bridge.

This let farmers know what hogs and cows were selling for on a weekly basis. This radio show started with the National Anthem, and a prayer.

“Try that today,” one OF said.

One of the chores on the farm (at the time the OFs were YFs) that was fun to do was to go and clear the fields of woodchucks. These varmints’ holes and mounds were downright dangerous to farmers.

Mowing with a row crop tractor and having those two wheels drop into a woodchuck hole could cause a broken, or at best, very sore thumb, wrist, hand, or finger from the twist on the steering wheel. Cows would step in these holes and really get hurt, so it was one of the routine chores on the farm at that time to get rid of them.

Today woodchucks are a rare sight. Either the farmers cleaned them out, or they are living under sheds or barns.  Occasionally, a woodchuck can be spotted waddling along the side of the road.  They are not gone; it seems they have adapted and found a safer place to live so the farmer boys don’t use them to learn how to shoot.

Ghost stories

It is approaching Halloween and the OFs began to relate a few ghost stories.

Do the OFs believe in ghosts?

That brought on a few shrugs. Shrugs like, “Yeah, I do,” or, “No, I don’t.”

These shrugs indicated both.

The OFs had to admit there are some strange things that do go on that are hard to explain. Just like aliens.  Most of the OFs do think there are other universes, and some think there may be too many to count.

Changes afoot

It was noted that there are now changes in Berne with the new sewer system up and running.

The corner where Route 443 meets Route 156 is much wider, and the building that stood there by the creek is gone.

The OFs brought up the changes that will be in the village of Schoharie when the new apartment complex is completed. The OFs understand (and this may just be something the OFs heard) that there is going to be a drainage system under the apartments that will go to the creek to drain the complex in case of high water.

The OFs wonder how this will work if the creek overflows and there is water in the streets of Schoharie. The pipes will be under water. Without a series of check valves to stop the water from flowing from the creek to the apartments, how is the water going to drain out? The OFs were just wondering.

With true dedication, the OFs who made it through the fog to the Duanesburg Diner in Duanesburg, were Steve Kelly, Miner Stevens, Roger Shafer, Robie Osterman, Dick Ogsbury, Karl Remmers, George Washburn, Roger Chapman, Harold Guest, John Rossmann, Bill Krause, Lou Schenck, Mace Porter, Jack Norray, Duane Wagonbaugh, Joe Loubier, Andy Tinning, Elwood Vanderbilt, Gill Zabel, Harold Grippen, and me.