Young lad inspires talk of what the future will hold

What would we do without Caesar? Because of him, we have the calendar, and with the calendar we have Tuesday, and on Tuesdays the Old Men of the Mountain gather at restaurants here and there. This past Tuesday, Nov. 5, the Old Men of the Mountain met at the Middleburgh Diner in Middleburgh. And on this Tuesday the OFs mentioned how beautiful the sky was on the ride to the restaurant.

The OFs had a young guest at the breakfast on Tuesday morning so to include him in some of the conversations the OFs began talking about old games the OFs played outdoors when they were young. The OFs hit on two that the young lad knew, one was hide and seek, and the other was tag, but on some of the others, he had no clue; leap frog was one.

This scribe must mention the youngster was 10, and he did have a cell phone, so he was way ahead of some of the OFs on that one.

Some of the OFs did not want to be his age and go through all they had gone through to get to the age they are now. While others wanted to be that age just to see what was coming in the future and how different those OFs thought life would be 60 to 70 years from now.

Others thought we would be going to other planets and be trying to figure out how to colonize them. Two diametrically opposed thoughts on the same subject: Are humans going to blow the planet to smithereens or are the humans all going to come together on one goal, space — the final frontier?

This young lad may be on the front line to find out, and the technology in that phone may just be the beginning.

Old timers’ old time pieces

Then the OFs time-traveled back to wrist watches they wore in the ’30s, ’40s or ’50s. A couple OFs still have some of their old watches with names like Mickey Mouse and Roy Rogers.

Others said they had a watch picturing the Lone Ranger on his horse, Silver, and another said he remembered his sister had a watch with Cinderella on it. All of them had to be wound up to run but, as far as the OFs could remember, they all kept good time.

Back then, none remembered flipping them over to see who made them, but all of them were darn sure they were made in the USA.

Laundry challenges

For some reason, the OFs started talking about hot-water tanks and washers and dryers. Some of the OFs mentioned when they were younger (here we go again, traveling to the past), the OFs and their better halves did not mind stairs and quite often the laundry was placed in the cellar.

Whoop — that is a mistake. As we age, the OFs can attest to stairs being a problem.

The OFs spoke about bringing the washer and dryer upstairs and, to one OF, that was a real hassle. The OF said that, with living in a ranch house with everything on one floor, these kinds of problems don’t come up.

Another OF said he doesn’t have this problem. He wears the same thing for days and, when he is down to one pair of shorts, he said he throws everything in a couple of laundry bags and heads to the Laundromat. No problem.

This OF says it is cheaper than owning those two machines, paying for the electricity to run them, including the water, because on a well, the pump has to run also. All the OF said he needs is four bucks and he has it covered.

One OF challenged the other OF by asking what about the gas there and back, plus wear and tear on the car. The OFs just dropped it there.


In the remembering game and talking about laundry and the price of material, and appliances today compared to “back when” the OFs started talking about the economy.

It seems many of the OFs have not really kept up with the price of anything today. Young people today make as much in a month as the OFs did in a year and that is when the OFs retired. (That comment may be stretching it a bit.)

Minimum wage in 1998 was $4.25 an hour and in 2019 it is $11.80 an hour. However, the average hourly wage in 1998 was $9.53, and in 2019 it is $27.00 an hour. These figures are not totally correct but darn close.

One OF said they paid $7,500 dollars for their first home in 1953 and it was a nice place. His last pickup truck was about $48,000, nearly six times more than his first home.

To the OFs, there are no more five-dollar jeans, 19-cent gallons of gas, or 20-cent cups of coffee, or nickel candy bars. Those days are gone, because the one-dollar an hour days are gone too.

Heartbeats, heart throbs

Many of the OFs are on heart meds. So this is how a discussion Tuesday morning began with discussing meds but morphed into heartbeats.

Many of the OFs spend so much time in their doctors’ offices they could be given associated degrees in medicine. It was found that the heartbeats of the OFs can range from 45 beats to 110 beats per minute.

The OFs all claim for them this is normal. Should an attractive lady come into the restaurants when we are having our breakfasts, these heartbeat stats are, of course, flexible.

Well, all the normal heart-beating OFs who made it to the Middleburgh Diner in Middleburgh were: Roger Chapman, Bill Lichliter, Robie Osterman, Marty Herzog, Harold Guest, John Rossmann, Wally Guest, Roger Shafer, Otis Lawyer, Rich LaGrange, Jim Heiser, Joe Rack, Glenn Patterson, Mark Traver, Jack Norray, Mace Porter, Mike Willsey, Russ Pokorny, Warren Willsey, Elwood Vanderbilt (guest JJ, who also cashed the OFs out), Harold Grippen. and me.