We know the role of Santa Claus all too well

On Dec. 14, the Old Men of the Mountain had their Christmas Party at Mrs. K’s in Middleburgh, and with the spread Patty puts out it is not necessary to order breakfast, but the OMOTM do.

The party includes live music but no Santa Claus. The OMOTM have played that character for so many years they know the role all too well.

This scribe is going to let the readers in on how the scribe obtains the information from which this report emanates. This scribe does not even pretend to collect information like a real reporter. In fact, the notes are rather skimpy, and, if ever found with no explanation, would make no sense at all. And at times some of it makes no sense to this scribe either.

Take, for example, Tuesday, the 14th notes, which are: Flipping eggs, cooking, pricing, how to swear, deliveries, masks, haying & animals, snake, hawks, deer, wallets, dogs, spread, Covid, S.S., musk, woody, planes, cars, and repair.

That’s it, no explanations — just notes. When doing the report, many other conversations come to mind for which notes were not taken but are interjected into the report anyway, along with a big dose of imagination, so here goes the column.


Bucket list

Somehow the question was asked about the “bucket list.” Not many even had a bucket list, but one OF had some things he would like to learn.

One of his fixations was how to flip eggs in a frying pan (or just food) like they do in restaurants or the show-offs on TV do. He would even like to learn how to flip a decent pancake, or even make pancakes like they create in a restaurant like the Country Café.

Those pancakes are as big as hub caps, and hang over the side of the plate. How do they do that? This OF wanted to know, not just know, but know how to flip them himself. The OF maintained his life would be complete if he were able to conquer this feat.

Another OF mentioned a relative of his that was a cook in the military and could crack four eggs at a time and not break a yoke, and when asked how he could do that the reply was, “You learn fast when cooking for 200 hungry guys who have just woken up.”



Oh, between this discussion and the one coming up, the OFs discussed pricing, and this scribe thinks most of us have seen the price of almost everything going up and being blamed on many things such as supply, workers, COVID, and whatever else, but many think there is a tad of gouging going on here because the prices are jumping not by 6 percent but 100 percent and then some.


Cuss words

The next topic was picking up swearing or learning to swear. This OF did not hear bad language at home but came in contact with this type of verbiage out behind the barn.

There is swearing and there is really swearing; the interjection of a cuss word at the appropriate time can be quite effective. To use foul language on a routine basis is just plain dumb.


Baling more than hay

Haying, as most know, is one of the basic jobs in farming, and there are some who still think brown milk comes from brown cows and have no idea how much work is involved in getting food to the table.

Haying today is a little different than haying in the past when the hay was cut, dried, and stored in shocks. The scythe is basically long gone.

When cutting and baling hay today there is one side effect that is hard to avoid. This side effect happens sometimes with animals that nest or give birth in the grass and they are not seen, and wind up going through the baler.

One OF mentioned that, while baling this year, he had baled up three fawns and this was unavoidable, but sad.

Another OF mentioned that many small critters have wound up in bales. Rabbits, mice by the dozen, snakes, young woodchucks, and birds came to mind.

One OF mentioned an experience that happened where the critter might better have gone through the baler than what eventually happened. The OF said that, right in front of the pickup of the baler, there was a snake, and the OF, of course, did not know it was there but a hawk did.

The OF said the hawk swooped right down in front of the baler and grabbed the snake and took it off to a tree in the hedgerow and began to eat it right then and there. Nature in full bloom.

This brought to mind another OF’s story about baling up critters. On this OF’s farm, they had a Case baier where it was necessary for two people to ride on the baler. One poked the wires through the hay and the one on the other side twisted the wire to bind up the bales.

This farmer had a young girl who lived not too far up the road come down to help on occasion. On one particular hot day, she was helping with the baling and was doing the twisting while the OF was pushing the wires through.

Suddenly this young lady started screaming, jumped off the baler and went running to the hedgerow, screaming her head off. The OF’s dad thought she was really hurt, stopped the tractor, and went running after the girl to see what was going on while the OF got off and ran around the back of the baler to go and help.

The OF said he then saw the problem. They had baled up a pretty good-sized snake that was protruding about six inches out of the bale, twisting back and forth, split tongue darting in and out, and right in the young girl’s face.

No wonder there was panic time. A hissing snake two inches from your nose would panic anybody. This is an incident that causes nightmares.  Ah, farming ….

Those Old Men of the Mountain who were sure to make this breakfast at Mrs. K’s restaurant in Middleburgh were: Harold Guest, Glenn Patterson, Joe Rack, Roger Shafer, Rich LaGrange, Wally Guest, Paul Nelson, Mark Traver, Ken Parks, Otis Lawyer, Ted Feurer, Jake Lederman, Jake Herzog, Robie Osterman, George Washburn, Bill Lichliter, Lou Schenk, Jack Norray, Herb Bahrmann, Rev. Jay Francis, Bob Donnelly, Dave Hodgetts, Allen Defazzo, John Dabrvalskes, and me.