Profs convene to lecture on chickens, marketing, mills, and reunions

The first Tuesday in November is a very important day no matter what the year. Number One (and the most important) is that the Old Men of the Mountain meet to eat, and, Number Two, it is Election Day.

This Election Day the OMOTM met at the Country Café in Schoharie, and the Knox Reformed Church held its 100th continuous Election Day chicken supper. Someday someone should compute how many chickens met their demise to serve all those people for 100 years, and how many chickens had to lay how many eggs for the OMOTM to have at their breakfast for at least 22 years.

My goodness! The plight of a chicken is amazing. Just think how many chickens are needed every day since nearly all the people in the world use them in one form or another.

The OFs began talking about their purchasing power as they become older, and how the marketing people seem to think that, once anyone is over 25 years old, they don’t spend any money.

The OFs have news for them. There is a lot of money in the pockets of the OFs. However, over the years, the OFs are smarter about the way they spend it and how they spend it. The OFs (for the most part) buy what they like and to heck with labels.

The OFs know through experience what is junk and what will last, but they do have preferences. The OFs (again for the most part) have a few pairs of shoes — not a closet full — a couple of good dress shirts, a few ties, and maybe a suit.

The youngsters fall for all that marketing and pay astronomical prices for a pair of jeans, when all they are paying for is the name. The denim, buttons, zippers, and threads all come from the few suppliers that manufacture these items.

The same people in China or Indonesia sew the fancy name on those that are purchased at the high-end stores, and then sew the standard names on the same ones for Wal-Mart, Kohls, or Target. The same goes for sneakers.

The OFs purchase much smarter so the marketing people skip the old folks and go right to the airheads who will buy anything that is highly advertised and endorsed by some celebrity. The OFs have spoken.

Labors of love

Old mills that are still running were another topic the OFs jumped into. The OFs were impressed with how 200 years ago people managed to construct these mills with the tools and materials they had back then.

There are some old mills running that are within driving distance of the Capital District. These mills are located in Delaware County, Schoharie County, and there is even one mill in Rensselaerville in Albany County.  The Rensselaerville mill could be running but it is in need of a “penstock.” (The penstock is a sluice or pipe that carries water to the wheel from wherever the water source is.)

The mill in Rensselaerville is located right in the village. To reconstruct this waterway, the Rensselaerville mill has to garner around $50,000 to complete the final phase to make the mill completely functional

The work on the mill and the expense for this comes from donations, with the work being done by volunteers. It is good that there are OFs around who take an interest in keeping history alive and who work on projects like these old mills.

They also work on old trains — maintaining the tracks, and rolling stock. Labors of love.

High school reunions

The OFs covered some high school graduations and, going back to when the OFs graduated, it is a real step back in time. To some, it is the late forties, and early fifties.

The record books for those who have passed away are becoming larger than those in attendance. It is interesting to the OFs that most of the memories are of the good times; it seems many of the bad things that happened are tough to recall and they are few in number.

At these reunions, age and distance makes it hard for some to attend. As the OFs talked, one OF divulged that he went quite a distance to renew acquaintances from his high school days.

It is also interesting to find that, in most of the reunions, many of the students did not travel far from home, but now there are those that are all over the globe. The OFs did not get into the magnet that keeps most close to home, and even draws those that reside hither and yon back to these reunions just to check in and see if that part of their life was real.

The big contest is to see how many the OFs can recognize and recall their names without name tags.

Following this theme, and maybe a pickup from the talk of reunions, was a dialogue about traveling to other countries and spending enough time there to find how different their cultures are. As one OF put it, many things some of these countries do and practice are unsanitary, unhealthy, and unsafe. This was not in any way spoken about disrespectfully — just questioned.

Smart people

This led to a question that this scribe wrote in his little note book and, upon reading the note “smart people,” this scribe thinks he should get a larger notebook. The gist of the conversation was that the OFs think that smart people are not necessarily the most educated by schooling, or the best dressed, or the ones in bib overalls, or the ones with tons of money, or the ones just getting by.

The OFs think smart people are just smart people because they are smart people.

Those Old Men of the Mountain who are all smart people because they met at the Country Café in Schoharie were: Professor John Rossmann, Professor George Washburn, Professor Roger Chapman, Professor Bill Lichliter, Professor Robie Osterman, Professor Harold Guest, Professor Chuck Aelesio, Professor Richard Frank, Professor Glenn Patterson, Professor Mark Traver, Professor Jim Heiser, Professor Roger Shafer, Professor Mace Porter, Professor Jack Norray, Professor Gerry Irwin, Professor Marty Herzog, Professor Jim Rissacher, Professor Bob Fink, Professor Bob Benninger, Professor Mike Willsey, Professor Gerry Chartier, Professor Winnie Chartier, Professor Elwood Vanderbilt, Professor Harold Grippen, and student me.