Old eyes, old backs have new ideas on improving doctors’ visits

Tuesday, Dec. 10, the Old Men of the Mountain met at the Home Front Café in Altamont. This scribe showed up around 7:30 a.m., and there were already a group of OFs at the Home Front.

These OFs must have busy days planned (at least some do) because they left after a normal time for breakfast, while some of the OFs that were the first ones there were still there when this scribe left, and the scribe remains until the late-comers show up.

Those OFs are having a lot more than a leisurely breakfast; they appear to be hanging around until lunch time. This scribe is beginning to wonder if the wives have told them to get the heck out of the house and not come back.

We continued with one of the favorite pastimes of the OFs — going to the doctor.

One OG mentioned that he is having eye problems and the ophthalmologist’s assistant (whatever they are called) was checking the OG’s eyes. The OG said he has a problem with one eye and the problem is, when light hits it, the OG has to blink quite often. So this assistant is pointing a bright light into the bad eye and telling him not to blink.

Duh, that is part of the problem, and the assistant became irritated because the OG was continually blinking.

The OG said, “What did she think?  I was doing it on purpose?  I can understand English, and was trying like heck not to blink.”

Then an additional OG said, “Didn't she put one of those clamps on your eyelid to keep it open because the blinking is involuntary?”

“Nope,” the other OG said.

This is the same thing as going to a doctor with a sore back and the doctor tells you to stand up straight. This is another “Duh.”

“If I could,” the OF said, “I would.  That is why I am here.  I can't stand up straight.”

One OF then opined that there should be some kind of drug that can be administered that would relax the patient so the doctor would be able to push and pull without causing pain that raises the OF’s body off the doctor's table.

“Yeah,” one other OF said of doctors’ tables, “those things should be heated, too. They are so darn cold that, whenever I lie down on one, everything shrivels up to nothing and sometimes I even start to shiver.”

One OF thought the doctors do all this pushing and twisting to see how bad the problem really is, because, if they really wanted us relaxed when we went into the examining room, all they would have to do is give us a joint to smoke in the waiting room before we went in.

Then we would be so relaxed they could twist anything they wanted and we would think it was just a handshake.

“After puffing on one of those,” another OF mused, “when they say, ‘Stand up straight,’ you would snap to attention just like a Marine in basic training.”

Replaced joints don’t dance well

The OFs don't know how many out there are square dancers, but many of the OFs were. The Hay Shakers, The Silver Bullets, The Altamont Station Squares, and The Foot and Fiddle were a few of the clubs that the OFs belonged to.

Before that, when the OFs were YFs and were real stomping square dancers (i.e., eastern style) many OFs/YFs went all around the area to square dances.  Popular places were Pat’s Ranch and The Grange Hall in Gallupville, and there was also a site in Clarksville that held dances.

Many fire halls would hold dances and put on buffets to go along with the dance. Good, clean, wild (sometimes a tad more wild than necessary) fun.

The OFs would gather up their girls and a bunch (bunch is used literally here) of YFs would climb in with anyone who had a car that ran and head off to a dance. Sometimes the guys would head out alone, and hook up with someone there and fill in a square.

Farm boys having fun. When the OFs were YFs the music was live — Perley Brand and Bill Chapman had bands, to name a couple of them.

Today, many of the OFs said they would still square dance only their bodies won't let them.  Too many hips, knees, and shoulders replaced both on the OFs and on the spouses of the OFs.

That really puts a crimp in square dancing when it is impossible for the OFs to raise their arms or stomp their feet. Tough to "duck for the oyster, dive for the clam.” or "swing that girl,” or "form a star,” or "allemande left, back to your partner, right and left grand."

Try doing these when the OFs’ shoulders are fake, hips are fake, and knees are fake, and all these maneuvers are done at a slow jogging pace.

Cooking connoisseurs

This brought up another strange phenomenon — cooking. Many of the OFs are connoisseurs of cooking, someone else’s that is.

Many have trouble boiling water. Most of the time, the OFs find that others’ cooking is pretty darn good. But there are times when an OF will run across some cooking that puckers the mouth, and causes an immediate gag reflex.

One OF related a story of such an occasion. This OF said that he used to love rhubarb, and strawberry-rhubarb pie until one day he bought one from a church sale. (Said church will remain nameless although mentioned in the dissertation by the OF.)

The OF said one bite brought tears to his eyes; it was the most horrid taste he ever had. He thought it might have been him so he gave a bite to his wife, who had the same reaction.

That pie was immediately designated for disposal in the nearest trash bin. The OF mused that he didn't even think the rats would eat it.

The OF also added that, when this particular church has a bake sale, he still won't purchase anything there because he is afraid he would get something baked by the same person.

Another OF related a similar experience at a square dance (strange connection here with the segment a few paragraphs above) and the club had its pie night. At the break, a group that came together took a pie and, as each one in the square took a bite, they walked in unison to the trashcan and scraped the pieces of pie into it. It was another mouth-puckerer. Almost like a get even thing. (Ask me to bake a pie for your stupid dance, will ya; I'll fix ya, and I will leave out the sugar.)  Could be.

Those attending the breakfast at the Home Front Café in Altamont, and not one complaint on the food, or the amount, were: Mark Traver, Glenn Patterson, Jim Heiser, Roger Shafer, Roger Chapman, John Rossmann, Robie Osterman, Harold Guest, Steve Kelly, George Washburn, Frank Pauli, Gary Porter, Mace Porter, Jack Norray, Ken Hughes, Henry Whipple, Bill Rice, Andy Tinning, Bill Krause, Ted Willsey, Jim Rissacher, Elwood Vanderbilt, Harold Grippen, George Christian, and me.