Friends and groups like churches and clubs are what keep us from being lonely and despondent

The Country Café in Schoharie sits in the middle of the village. This restaurant shows signs of life and is decorated nicely for the season of Thanksgiving. 

This is the restaurant the Old Men of the Mountain funneled to on Tuesday, Nov. 19. This scribe and rider, along with other OFs who travel to the various eating establishments, take note of the weather early in the morning on the way to these places.

The 19th was slippery, with large snowflakes falling and sticking to everything — dangerous but beautiful. The snow was sticking to the road, roofs, and trees, turning everything white. It was like driving through a beautiful winter painting.

The OFs started talking about old friends and acquaintances. Bringing up these names brought little stories of each, and their personalities. One problem with this conversation was that many of these past friends are now dead.

It was mentioned that getting old is OK, but the older we get, the more of our former friends have passed on, and family becomes that much more important.

It was a common thread that groups like the OMOTM, church, veterans’ organizations, senior groups, and even hand and foot clubs are what keep the OFs from becoming loners and despondent as they age and their old friends are gone. Friends are what keep the OFs from becoming cranky OFs.

Old friends, familiar smells

An interesting topic that came out of the old friends-discussion is how some of the old friends’ homes had a special odor. This, however, was not necessarily a bad thing.

One OF mentioned a name and some other OFs knew the same person and, whenever these OFs went to his home, they immediately became hungry. The house always smelled of fresh-baked cookies or pies. The reason for this was because there were always fresh-baked cookies or pies.

This brought up the exchange that every home has its own aroma, and one OF said, “Especially if you have cats.” This OF maintained it is impossible to hide the odor of a cat (to him anyway).

This was added to by someone else, “How about dogs?”

Then another OF chimed in, “How about where there is a smoker in the house?” Almost all agreed that one was the worst. It covers up the smell of cats, dogs, wood smoke, and dead rats.

One OF mentioned that on the farm the farmhouse had its own aroma, and because most of the visitors were farmers themselves it was really not noticed. This OF said that they had to wear coveralls, and they were hung out in a little addition to the milk house. That helped the farmhouse from smelling like the barn.

Many of the farmers put their barn clothes in the woodshed although either way there were different odors to each home. One OF thought it was because there was always cooking going on over the wood stove.

Another OF said that, in some of the farms, the cooking wood stove was going winter and summer. This added its own pleasant smell.

One OF mentioned that he still misses the smell of the barn, the warmth of the kitchen, food in the oven, and homemade bread rising in the warming side of the woodstove.

One OF mentioned that, in the wintertime, there was no need for a humidifier because of clothes drying on racks around the stoves; even that added a pleasant perfume to the air in the home.

An OF pointed out that, along with missing old friends, and family members, he misses that period of time also. Another OF added “You know, I think we lived through the best of times,” and another OF added he thinks the best of times is yet to come, but it sure isn’t right now.

Free advice

There is something else that comes along with old age, and that is old bladders. Old bladders do not hold as much liquid as young bladders so calls to the restroom are more frequent.

To accommodate the OMOTM, some restaurants place all the tables in a long row with an opening in the center. This places half the group with their backs against the wall. A room like this is quite narrow but cozy.

However, if an OF is in the center of the table in the back and the old bladder has had enough, getting out to go to the restroom is a trick. If the OF knows he has a controllable bladder, he should sit with his back against the wall; if not, just like leaving the house to go on a long trip, we tell everyone they should first make a bathroom visit. The OFs should do the same thing. Remember, our medical advice is free.

Flying garbage

A weird topic came up (weirder than bladder control?) and that is garbage trucks picking up the garbage and then not closing the gate and spreading this rubbish back on the road. What an odd topic to rise to the surface, but many OFs shook their head in agreement.

What prompted this discussion this scribe does not know but he, too, sometimes has had papers and some debris coming from a garbage truck land on his property, but this does not happen too often. Then again this scribe does not live in a suburban area where it may be more of a problem.

Those OFs who made it through the snow and fog off the hill to the Country Café in Schoharie and were greeted by a good cup of hot coffee were: Rich LaGrange, Harold Guest, Mark Traver, George Washburn, Bill Lichliter, Roger Shafer, Roger Chapman, Otis Lawyer, Wally Guest, John Rossmann, Glenn Patterson, Joe Rack, Robie Osterman, Lou Schenck, Mace Porter, Jack Norray, Mike Willsey, Rev. Jay Francis, (Winnie Chartier gracious chauffeur), and me.