Patty carries on her mom’s tradition, hosting a Christmas party for the OFs

On Tuesday, Dec. 19, the Old Men of the Mountain met for their Christmas party (offered by Patty) at Mrs. K’s Restaurant in Middleburgh.

It is a good thing this party was held there because one of the largest groups of Old Goats gathered around the tables at Mrs. K’s. Forty guys walked through the door of the restaurant and enjoyed the music and hors d’oeuvres that were placed up and down the tables.

An OF could make a meal with just the hors d’oeuvres but, being a group of gentlemen, they did not. The music was supplied by two of the OFs and one of Santa’s elves. The OGs were Roger Shafer and Gerry Irwin, and the elf was Debbie Fish who is definitely not an OF, and was not counted. With the restaurant this full, this scribe had to remove his hearing aids so he could hear.

The Old Men of the Mountain would like to thank Patty (following in the footsteps of her mom) who put on this spread for the OGs who appreciate it very much and look forward to it every year.

Some of the OFs reminisced back to the days of when the OFs started gathering together for breakfast and when some of the OFs passed on.

It is obvious that when a group of OFs, or OHs (Old Hens) get together on a routine basis, the change of ranks will be rather quick; it is not like the Boy Scouts or Girl Scouts where relationships can go on for years. If a group starts out with the beginning word “old” sometimes it is necessary to drop the “s” on years.

Dealing with lemons

A throw-away society — that’s us. The OFs discussed Tuesday morning’s topic to some extent as how we, as a nation, throw so much good-to-new “stuff” away. The OFs claimed they do not know about other countries, only what they have observed first hand.

Some of this “throw-away” mentality the OFs even participated in after World War II.  Maybe the habit developed from being in the military, or seeing the military discard perfectly good things.

Some of the OFs remember lend-lease, and some currently have witnessed political incompetence or corruption that lets food rot on docks; the food was never delivered from Good Will or other organizations that sent supplies to “third” world countries in order to help these starving nations.

This is not what the OFs were alluding to in this discussion. What the OFs were mainly talking about was how something brand new gets taken back to the vendor because it does not work right, or it is just not what the customer wanted.

The store generally just hands over a replacement and then (as a rule) tosses away the original item, which had been returned. Many times there is nothing wrong with it; the article just goes in the Dumpster.

The OFs think there could be a staging area where people would be able to go and either make an offer or rescue the discarded item to tinker with and see if they are able to revive it, or use it as it is.

One OF mentioned he can understand why stores do what they do because some devious enterprising individuals could buy something new, screw it up a little, take it back, and have a buddy purchase the one placed in the staging area, make a ridiculous offer on it, then take it home and fix it.  Because he is in cahoots with the guy who returned it, he would know exactly what to do.

One OF said he has toured the Ford Mustang plant in Michigan and said that tour was very interesting. When he arrived at the end of the assembly line and saw a car (which he had followed all along this line) start up and run out of the building to the staging area, it was very impressive. (Side note: The first trip a car takes is “pedal to the metal with screaming tires,” the OF said).

As the tour group watched this, the OF noticed some cars did not start, or they ran really rough when they did start. These cars were hand pushed to an area called the hospital. In this hospital, mechanics worked on them to get the vehicles started or running right.

This tour group was fortunate to observe one car that did not make it. The vehicle would not start at all. The mechanic slammed the hood down, and put a tag on it.

One of the people in the group asked the tour guide, “What happens to that car?”

The guide answered, “The car goes to the dealer and now it is up to him to fuss with it. Every car off the line is sold. We do not stockpile Mustangs.”

The customer who receives this vehicle gets what is commonly known as a “lemon.” Then it becomes what again is typically known as the customer, dealer, and Ford hassle.

The OF added that, in most cases, the dealer’s mechanics, for some reason, iron out the mechanical problem (especially those trained at a Ford facility). The OF said the tour guide said the group didn’t hear it from him, but he thinks “it’s because the dealer spends more time with the problem than we do at the plant.”

Those OFs who made it to the party at Mrs. K’s Restaurant in Middleburgh in fine running automobiles, for the most part, because one showed up in a horse and buggy, were: John Rossmann, Harold Guest, Bill Lichliter, Karl Remmers, Bob Snyder, Robie Osterman, George Washburn, Roger Chapman, George Byrne, Jim Heiser, Richard Frank, Chuck Aelesio, Roger Shafer, Mark Traver, Glenn Patterson, Marty Herzog, Don Wood, Sonny Mercer, Wayne Gaul, Ted Feurer, Russ Pokorny, Warren Willsey, Jake Lederman, Jack Norray, Lou Schenck, Gerry Irwin, Herb Bahrmann, Jim Rissacher, Mike Willsey, Bob Benninger, Bob Fink, Mace Porter, Rev. Jay Francis, Gerry Chartier, Jerry Willsey, Shirley Willsey, Ted Willsey with chauffeur Denise, Elwood Vanderbilt, Harold Grippen, and me.