What would we do without Caesar? Because of him, we have the calendar, and with the calendar we have Tuesday, and on Tuesdays the Old Men of the Mountain gather at restaurants here and there. This past Tuesday, Nov. 5, the Old Men of the Mountain met at the Middleburgh Diner in Middleburgh. And on this Tuesday the OFs mentioned how beautiful the sky was on the ride to the restaurant.

The OFs had a young guest at the breakfast on Tuesday morning so to include him in some of the conversations the OFs began talking about old games the OFs played outdoors when they were young. The OFs hit on two that the young lad knew, one was hide and seek, and the other was tag, but on some of the others, he had no clue; leap frog was one.

This scribe must mention the youngster was 10, and he did have a cell phone, so he was way ahead of some of the OFs on that one.

Some of the OFs did not want to be his age and go through all they had gone through to get to the age they are now. While others wanted to be that age just to see what was coming in the future and how different those OFs thought life would be 60 to 70 years from now.

Others thought we would be going to other planets and be trying to figure out how to colonize them. Two diametrically opposed thoughts on the same subject: Are humans going to blow the planet to smithereens or are the humans all going to come together on one goal, space — the final frontier?

This young lad may be on the front line to find out, and the technology in that phone may just be the beginning.

Old timers’ old time pieces

Then the OFs time-traveled back to wrist watches they wore in the ’30s, ’40s or ’50s. A couple OFs still have some of their old watches with names like Mickey Mouse and Roy Rogers.

Others said they had a watch picturing the Lone Ranger on his horse, Silver, and another said he remembered his sister had a watch with Cinderella on it. All of them had to be wound up to run but, as far as the OFs could remember, they all kept good time.

Back then, none remembered flipping them over to see who made them, but all of them were darn sure they were made in the USA.

Laundry challenges

For some reason, the OFs started talking about hot-water tanks and washers and dryers. Some of the OFs mentioned when they were younger (here we go again, traveling to the past), the OFs and their better halves did not mind stairs and quite often the laundry was placed in the cellar.

Whoop — that is a mistake. As we age, the OFs can attest to stairs being a problem.

The OFs spoke about bringing the washer and dryer upstairs and, to one OF, that was a real hassle. The OF said that, with living in a ranch house with everything on one floor, these kinds of problems don’t come up.

Another OF said he doesn’t have this problem. He wears the same thing for days and, when he is down to one pair of shorts, he said he throws everything in a couple of laundry bags and heads to the Laundromat. No problem.

This OF says it is cheaper than owning those two machines, paying for the electricity to run them, including the water, because on a well, the pump has to run also. All the OF said he needs is four bucks and he has it covered.

One OF challenged the other OF by asking what about the gas there and back, plus wear and tear on the car. The OFs just dropped it there.

Inflation

In the remembering game and talking about laundry and the price of material, and appliances today compared to “back when” the OFs started talking about the economy.

It seems many of the OFs have not really kept up with the price of anything today. Young people today make as much in a month as the OFs did in a year and that is when the OFs retired. (That comment may be stretching it a bit.)

Minimum wage in 1998 was $4.25 an hour and in 2019 it is $11.80 an hour. However, the average hourly wage in 1998 was $9.53, and in 2019 it is $27.00 an hour. These figures are not totally correct but darn close.

One OF said they paid $7,500 dollars for their first home in 1953 and it was a nice place. His last pickup truck was about $48,000, nearly six times more than his first home.

To the OFs, there are no more five-dollar jeans, 19-cent gallons of gas, or 20-cent cups of coffee, or nickel candy bars. Those days are gone, because the one-dollar an hour days are gone too.

Heartbeats, heart throbs

Many of the OFs are on heart meds. So this is how a discussion Tuesday morning began with discussing meds but morphed into heartbeats.

Many of the OFs spend so much time in their doctors’ offices they could be given associated degrees in medicine. It was found that the heartbeats of the OFs can range from 45 beats to 110 beats per minute.

The OFs all claim for them this is normal. Should an attractive lady come into the restaurants when we are having our breakfasts, these heartbeat stats are, of course, flexible.

Well, all the normal heart-beating OFs who made it to the Middleburgh Diner in Middleburgh were: Roger Chapman, Bill Lichliter, Robie Osterman, Marty Herzog, Harold Guest, John Rossmann, Wally Guest, Roger Shafer, Otis Lawyer, Rich LaGrange, Jim Heiser, Joe Rack, Glenn Patterson, Mark Traver, Jack Norray, Mace Porter, Mike Willsey, Russ Pokorny, Warren Willsey, Elwood Vanderbilt (guest JJ, who also cashed the OFs out), Harold Grippen. and me.

Location:

Knowing that the Old Men of the Mountain have a sense of duty, so if on early Tuesday mornings their priorities are in line, appointments for that time should be adjusted to a later date, or time. While scheduling meetings or appointments when asked, “What time is good for you?” the OMOTM should reply, “Any day but Tuesday.”

The Tuesday of Oct. 29, the Old Men of the Mountain met at Pop’s Place in Preston Hollow. Pop’s Place has trucker-size portions.

Some of the OFs can handle this; however, for the real antiques of the group, it may be a little much for their stomachs to adjust to. Once OFs get into their eighties, most eat less.

Where once the OF could eat out and have dessert too, now eating out means the OF looks at senior menus because he is not able to deal with all the food on the regular menu.

At the barbeques of the OFs youth (and by youth I mean any age under 70), the OFs could eat a couple of hamburgers, and three hot dogs, and think nothing of it. Now, at 80, it might be a hot dog, nursed through the whole evening.

The conversations at one end of the table Tuesday morning were, as usual, trucks, cars, motorcycles, bulldozers, and tractors.

However, when talking about cars, the OFs started talking about car hood ornaments and how interesting they were. Not only were cars adorned with these works of art but so were trucks.

The Mack “Bulldog” was a classic and some are in the realm of collectables now. When Alfred Fellows Masury, Mack’s chief engineer, carved the first bulldog hood ornament out of a bar of soap while recuperating from a surgery, Masury applied for, and received, a patent for his design in 1932, and the Bulldog ornament has adorned Mack trucks ever since.

Sadly, Masury was killed in the crash of United States Navy airship Akron in 1933, but his mascot lives on and is marking its 87th year. One OF wondered where the castings were for the “Bulldog” and if they were still around.

Many of these ornaments were finely made. The detail was exceptional.

Packard had a few, the swan with its wings outstretched, and the Greek god Mercury with wings. One of Pontiac’s ornaments was the Indian Chief with the feathers on his headband flowing back in the wind. Jaguar had a leaping Jaguar on top and in back of the grill appearing to leap into space ahead of the car.

Some hood ornaments even had a little light in them. The OFs said, “We don’t see these anymore. They are gone along with small windows in the front that swung out, and soon the spare tire is going to be a thing of the past.”

There are a few vehicles that still carry the tradition of the hood ornament; Rolls-Royce is one of them. The Spirit of Ecstasy is the bonnet (hood) ornament sculpture on Rolls-Royce cars.

It is in the form of a woman leaning forwards with her arms outstretched behind and above her. Billowing cloth runs from her arms to her back, resembling wings. The OFs didn’t know about many of the other classier cars. Some might still have hood ornaments.

One OF said he was told the demise of the spare tire is to cut down on weight. Apparently it used too much gas to haul the spare tire around.

To which another OF replied, “That is a lot of malarkey. The manufacturers are too cheap to put them in, let alone design a place to hold them.”

Early voting

Some of the OFs have taken advantage of early voting; these OFs say there are no crowds. The voter is able to vote when the voter has nothing else going on.

This allows the voter not to worry about Election Day in case an emergency comes up, or the weather turn nasty on Nov. 5. On the 5th, the OF doesn’t have to leave the house to go vote — the OF already has and now his voice has been heard.

One OF wondered how they keep the early votes a secret. If he were running for an office, the OF said he would want to know how he was doing, win or lose. So can’t he go and just look at how the vote is going? Wouldn’t that affect the rest of the voting right up until election and keep many home because they figure Joe Blow was either going to win or lose.

Online worries

The computer age has gone beyond many of the OMOTM, especially where people now order so much “online.” The OFs still don’t trust this.

Some do go online and then tell stories of how screwed up it can get and that makes the other OFs more leery of getting into this “new” technology, especially when ordering parts to fix one thing or another.

It does save a lot of driving around. One OF mentioned, even if the first order is wrong, you are able to send it back and get the right one and it isn’t necessary to leave the house.

One OF mentioned he likes to see what he is buying, touch it, and make sure there are no flaws. This OF says the merchandise may look rugged in a picture but when it finally comes into your possession it might be some cheap thing that he would never even consider owning.

Another OF said he ordered parts via the computer that were supposed to be delivered in two days. Two days came and no parts showed up, so the OF contacted the parts store again and they said they would be delivered in two days.

Two days came and went and no parts. They should have told him two weeks. He finally did receive the parts. So much for that. Maybe next time he would be better off if he told the store he would pay up in two days.

The Old Men of The Mountain who made their way through the fog to Pop’s Place in Preston Hollow without bumping into anything were: John Rossmann, Harold Guest, Bill Lichliter, Marty Herzog, Wally Guest, George Washburn, Robie Osterman, Paul Nelson, Rick LaGrange, Jake Lederman, Ted Feurer, Mace Porter, Gerry Chartier, Mike Willsey, Jack Norray, Elwood Vanderbilt, Harold Grippen, and me.

Location:

Tuesday, Oct. 22, The Old Men of the Mountain met at the Knox Country Café in the town of Knox.

This meeting was minus this scribe (fortunately or unfortunately). However, the scribe’s little book is full of notes that did not make the paper from previous meetings. It is just a matter of going back and catching up.

Some of the notes will never make the paper for one reason or another because they are libelous, raunchy, too political, too religious, and many are suspicious as to the truth.

One thing the Old Men of the Mountain are great at is storytelling and sometimes it is hard to discern which is truth and which is fiction. At the ages the OFs are, most of this is an honest contest between mind and body.

The mind thinks and says one thing, but the body says, “No way, monsieur; don’t even try it.” Once one OF came into a breakfast wearing a T-shirt that read, “If I wake up and nothing hurts I would think I was dead.” To the rest of the OFs this rang true.

TV not a draw

At some of the breakfasts, the OFs talk about the TV shows they watch. Some say the best channel on TV is the Cartoon Channel.

Many say they do not watch much TV, including the local basic channels. The news is hardly watched except for the weather. Some do watch the weather channel.

Sports are the big thing — football and baseball. Then come the DIY-type channels and for a few it is “Pickers,” “Pawn Stars,” and the Discovery Channel.

In essence, this is an eclectic group because this scribe is sure that at tables not heard from there are those who do watch the news, PBS, and some of the other channels that are politically bent one way or another to the particular OF’s way of thinking. I really don’t know if any OFs watch QVC.

When discussing this topic, one OF mentioned that the advertisers know old folks watch certain channels. On these channels, we take notice that most of the ads are geared to OFs like us.

Then one OF added. “Not me! On my channels, the ads are for cereal, candy, toys, and games, both whack-a-mole and video games. I am not going to get all worked up about how the world is going to hell in a handbasket. I’ll watch Bugs Bunny!”

Furniture: The right fit

One time, the OFs started talking about furniture and trying to find a comfortable chair. This may sound simple but, when the OFs were younger, comfortable furniture was not a problem.

These YFs would just fold their legs and flop. And many were so active they never even knew what a chair was; they even ate on the run.

Then, when the day was done, it was time to eat again, do homework, and go to bed. Types of chairs and sitting in a chair never entered their heads.

The most the younger OFs thought about chairs back then were not even chairs. They were tractor seats, car seats, truck seats, and wagon seats. Some of these were not designed for comfort, just there to keep the operator from having to stand up.

Now the OFs who get leg cramps and muscle aches realize types and kinds of chairs are very important. A couple of the OFs said that soft chairs are out and they are more comfortable in hard chairs.

One OF complained that all recliners are out for him because they are not long enough and, when extended, his feet hang over the end about two inches behind the ankle and that shuts off the circulation.

Most of the OFs said they need chairs with arms so they can push themselves up when they want to stand. Then there were the OFs who said they had their own chair at home where they spend a lot of time and were really comfortable.

One OF mentioned that for some reason he even felt “safe” in his chair and could take nice long naps while in that chair. The OF said, if he had trouble sleeping at night, he could get up and get in that chair and fall fast asleep.

One other OF mentioned that where he is the most comfortable is not in a chair but the front seat of the car. The OF said his vehicle’s seat is heated, and has side and back lumbar supports and tips way back. When the “ole lady” is at Kohl’s. he is in the car either reading a book, or taking a nap.

Overheard

According to a few of the OFs who were cozily crammed into the Knox Country Café in Knox to partake of their first breakfast there, one OF reported on what he overheard from a different restaurant he was in recently. 

In the booth next to him in this restaurant, the story he heard suited him to a “T.” This stranger, who was not as old as the OF, was telling the lady and other gentleman with him that he “didn’t drink or smoke anymore, or do that other thing either. I am like a dead man walking.”

The OFs who could match that at the Knox Country Café were:  Roger Chapman, Robie Osterman, Miner Stevens, George Washburn, Glenn Patterson, Mark Traver, Marty Herzog, Harold Guest, Wally Guest, John Rossmann, Mace Porter, Jack Norray, Lou Schenck, Warren Willsey, Russ Pokorny, Gerry Chartier, Elwood Vanderbilt, Bob Donnelly, Joe Rack, Paul Nelson, Rick LaGrange, Harold Grippen, and not me.

Location:

This Tuesday’s breakfast was at a type of the old-fashioned railroad dining-car diners in Princetown, called the Chuck Wagon Diner on Route 20. The Chuck Wagon-style diner first appeared in the early 20th Century along with many of the Old Men of the Mountain who this Tuesday morning had breakfast at the Wagon.

The OMOTM noticed the full moon, and many had a reaction to it by prowling the halls at night. Some were up especially early and out looking at the moon.

As most of us age, like OFs, the tendency is to lose hair. On a full moon, some of the OFs do go out and hope for the werewolf effect to grow hair, but hair on the knuckles is not that attractive.

The OFs roaming the halls are looking for the bathroom, because, as you know, the full moon does have an effect on the tides. Seeing as the bladder is full of water the full moon has an effect on that gland also.

Mice seek Warm homes

Now is the time the pesky little field mice start looking for a place to stay for the winter. These critters start to check in at their apartments in the house, barn, shed, or garage.

The OFs began talking about keeping these critters from moving in. The OFs mentioned how small a hole they can get into.

This changed the conversation to what they can do and what they actually do once they get into other places than the house. Rumor has it that peppermint oil is helpful in keeping them out. Mice don’t like the odor, but humans find it quite acceptable.

The OFs mentioned cars, truck, tractors and other pieces of equipment that are prime targets for these rodents to hole up in. One OF who is repairing a dozer for another OF said he has the engine all done and it runs perfectly.

However, the dozer can’t go anywhere because mice have made a home in the dozer’s clutches. The OF doing the work told the other OF who owns the dozer that it is a ton of work to get these varmints out.

The pathway to the clutch encasement is a maze, and exceptionally small, yet the mice found a way to get into this clutch. One OF mentioned storing a car that is run only in the summertime in a barn; an OF can find mice anywhere, in the exhaust, in the engine, even inside the car.

The question was asked, how can the mice get in where even water can’t?

One OF said that his father — way back when — not only fed milk to the cats but he also had a saucer outside the door to the granary for the snakes. Most OFs said they didn’t know snakes drank milk; this OF said they did.

The OF said that his father kept the snakes happy because they kept all of the mice out of the granary because they would chase them right into their holes. The only problem was occasionally a cat would grab a snake.

Laundry duty

The OFs discussed basically the women’s role in housekeeping. The following sentence will cause some consternation among readers, but in many cases it is the truth.

The quandary is doing the laundry. The OFs have to admit there are a few OFs who do their own laundry but it is only a few.

Then conversation was on how the laundry was dried when the OFs were young. To this day, some of the OFs remember how the sheets felt, and their aroma when they were dried outdoors, even in the winter time.

A few OFs still have the laundry dried outside but most do not. Their clothes are dried in a dryer. J. Ross Moore, an American inventor from North Dakota developed designs for automatic clothes dryers during the early 20th Century. This scribe’s wife thinks Mr. Moore deserved a Nobel Prize for his efforts.

One OF said that he remembers the clothes being dried on racks around the stove in the wintertime. This OF said this served two purposes; not only did it dry the clothes but it added moisture to the air and was the early form of a humidifier.

To take care of the house when the OFs were young was work. The OFs’ moms did the laundry, took it outside, hung it up, and then brought it in and put it away. Some did the laundry in a tub with a plunger-like thing and lye soap.

“A lot of work but we were clean,” one OF said.

Another OF mentioned today all the household gadgetry we have. For instance, there are different kinds of washing machines and dryers, usually side by side. Wash the clothes in one and, when done, stand in one spot and throw them in the dryer. One OF said there is a secret to doing laundry that he could never figure out, and that is what goes with what.

The OF said his wife has clothes all sorted in piles and the OF has no idea what is in each pile, and his wife has a fit if he throws something on the wrong pile. To this OF, laundry day is still work, but he has clean clothes thanks to a lady.

The Old Men of the Mountain who were showered, most shaved, and in clean clothes gathered in clean vehicles, and then drove to the Chuck Wagon Diner in Princetown, were: Miner Stevens, Roger Chapman, Bill Lichliter, John Rossmann, Harold Guest, Wally Guest, Robie Osterman, George Washburn, Rick LaGrange, Glenn Patterson, Pete Whitbeck, Roger Shafer, Duncan Bellinger, Chuck Aelesio, Richard Frank, Joe Rack, Warren Willsey, Russ Pokorny, Wayne Gaul, Ted Feurer, Mace Porter, Jack Norray, Lou Schenck, Mike Willsey, Gerry Chartier, Elwood Vanderbilt, John Dabrvalskas, Harold Grippen, and me.

Location:

Approximately seven-and-one-half billion people wake up on a Tuesday morning but The Old Men of the Mountain know where about 45 OFs wake up on a Tuesday morning. It’s a little pinprick on the planet’s surface in one of the prettiest places the planet has to offer.

On this particular Tuesday morning, Oct. 8, some of these OFs woke up and headed to the Duanesburg Diner in Duanesburg to have breakfast.

One particular OF complained that the chairs were too heavy and they should have rollers on their legs. It is not that the chairs are too heavy, it is the OFs are getting so weak, i.e., to many of the OFs, five pounds is now 25 pounds. Other OFs chimed in on this and the waitress took this grumbling very well, in the nature it was intended, and she knew it.

The OFs didn’t care whether the chairs were five pounds or 50; they were just commenting on something, anything to pick up on what one OF said.

Then one OF said, “These coffee cups are too small.”

Yeah right! In fact, they are just like any other cup. The OF just wanted to add to the discussion, only this time the waitress was ready for him.

She said, “If they are too small, next time bring your own cup; we will fill it for you.”

Now the OF should remember this and the next time we are at the Duanesburg Diner he should bring his own cup.

The waitresses are as much fun as the OMOTM.

Get your flu shot

It is time to get your flu shots, and some of the OFs have already gotten theirs. One thing we should take seriously is that young children, and the elderly don’t want to do is get the flu.

The ability for these groups to fight off the effects of the flu is not like some 25-year-old. The OFs do give advice, as was said before, but this particular advice is surely good to follow.

Take it from the OMOTM who have had some suffering with the flu. They speak from experience.

Fame

One OF, who is on his computer a lot, came into the breakfast and announced that the OF with the pirate ship and skeleton crew were on the internet. It seems some passer-by took pictures of ship and crew and posted them on the net.

The OF who has this display already has people stopping and taking pictures — now he is afraid he will have more. This OF said he is going to put out parking meters. Not a bad idea.

Frustrating phone menus

Quite often, there are ads on television that depict something of interest, or it may be an ad in the paper. On television generally it shows a room full of people answering the phone.

The OFs say this is classic false advertising. The OFs say there really is only one guy in a closet with a couple of phones, a can of Blue Ribbon beer and wearing worn-out sneakers and no socks, answering only a few calls a day because no one can understand the menu to get through to whatever company it is.

One OF said he feels some of the biggest offenders are doctor’s offices and insurance companies.

Another OF said all he wants to do is ask a simple question. An example would be: If he wants to change A to B (regarding his insurance,) how should he go about doing that?

The OFs say he is given a litany of departments, each with its own number, none of which are relevant to what he is after. This scribe could go on with all the “if you want this, press 1, if you want that, press 2, etc.” but it would fill up the column, and the OF said none of the selections apply to what the ads either print, or television portrays.

Still another OF said one time he was talking to his doctor about these frustrating telephone menus and the doctor told him he hates to call his place because the menu doesn’t help at all.

The doctor went on to explain, “After I select what I think is right, it turns out it is wrong. I have trouble calling myself,” he said.

Flushing out a new topic

The OFs began talking about a subject they are all familiar with (and, as the OFs get older and older, they become even more familiar with) and that is toilets. This topic did approach the OFs conversation and the OFs were not discussing their use, but their function and how they are changing.

Their change is only physical. The process of power and vapor trap has not changed since the 1500s. The idea of the toilets has not changed since the construction of the Roman Coliseum which was started in 70 AD. 

“Now,” the OFs said, “We have a choice.” The toilets are either high or low, loud with a swoosh, or quiet, even ones that have electronic eyes that know when you’re on and off, or in front and leave and then they flush themselves.

One OF said many newly constructed buildings install the high ones. But, as technology advances, there are now the electric ones that turn everything to ash.

Now, that one has nothing to do with Rome and the Coliseum.  And to think that the wives believe we have nothing remarkable to talk about.

Those OFs who were at the Duanesburg Diner in Duanesburg and would like to go back to the days when the phone operators picked up the phone and all the OF had to say was, “Doc Walker please,” and the next thing you know you were talking to Doc Walker, or the phone operator would say he was out getting his hair cut, were: Roger Chapman, George Washburn, Robie Osterman, Miner Stevens, Wally Guest, Harold Guest, John Rossmann, Pete Whitbeck, Chuck Aelesio, Richard Frank, Karl Remmers, Joe Rack, Roger Shafer, Wayne Gaul, Jake Lederman, Ted Feurer, Lou Schenck, Mace Porter, Jack Norray, Rev. Jay Francis, Mike Willsey, Warren Willsey, Russ Pokorny, Gerry Chartier, Elwood Vanderbilt, Harold Grippen, and me.

Location:

Here we go again. It seems like this scribe just sent this article to the paper. However, it is Oct. 1 as I write this and the year is flying by. The Old Men of the Mountain met at the Your Way Café and we are ready for a weather report on this particular Tuesday.

The early arrivals (there are quite a few OMOTM who have things to do and they do arrive early) traveled in the dark and driving rain, with fog on the mountain thrown in for good measure. What fun! Even so the Your Way Café was there as a beacon with its lights on, coffee brewing, and the staff ready. That eliminates the weather and turns it into a good morning.

It is strange how conversations morph from one subject to another within a single topic. This exchange started out with TV shows; one of the shows was “American Pickers.”

Many of the OFs like this show because they have much of what the pickers are looking for right in their garages and barns. One OF said his whole house was furnished in what the pickers are looking for.

Then it quickly led to what must be an OF trait — the observation of the props used in many TV shows. This began as a discussion of Adirondack chairs and what is a true Adirondack chair and what are similar but not true Adirondack chairs.

This discussion then somehow worked into a discussion on Korean and World War II vehicles — especially the jeeps.

One OF said that the Korean War used World War II jeeps, and another OF who was in the Korean War raised an objection, saying they didn’t use World War II jeeps in Korea; the jeeps he drove were newer.

This OF even had a picture to prove it. The Korean War was from about June 1950 until 1953. The jeep was already modified by that time and called the CJ 5 and, when the Korean War broke out, they just used the same vehicle, calling it the MB38 and these vehicles were then all painted olive green and sent overseas.

Proving who you are

Again, conversation was about getting the enhanced license and one OF asked what he needed at the Department of Motor Vehicles to get an enhanced license. The reply from many of the OFs was to bring everything, including the name of the boat your mother and father came over on.

The OF replied, “Will the Mayflower do?”

The OF said he does have a passport (not much help here). All that will do is allow the OF to use that instead of a birth certificate. This OF still needs all that other stuff.

One OF said he bets they will still send him home for something. This OF thinks it is a contest between the staff at DMV as to who can send the most people back to bring in more information in a single day.

Hints on downsizing

This scribe does not know the reason for the frequent discussions on downsizing. Maybe it is the snowbirds leaving the nest to warmer climes at this time of year. The OMOTM had another OF at the breakfast Tuesday morning shaking hands and commenting he “will see ya next year.”

This time, the downsizing was on what to do with items you don’t want, the kids don’t want, and friends and neighbors don’t want. One OF suggested Craigslist.

This OF started telling of items he has put on Craigslist and how fast they sold. Some of the OFs who are not that computer savvy wondered how that worked because they have tons of stuff to get rid of and some of it is in pretty good condition.

One OF said he isn’t going to get rid of anything. He is going to leave all his possessions for his kids to hassle out. This OF said he still is using most of these things and rarely purchases anything that he isn’t going to use.

The OF who uses Craigslist says he has sold some pretty big-ticket items and has had friends who have done the same. One friend of the OF sold almost a house full of furniture in 43 minutes. Hmmmm.

Another OF mentioned that there were other online sites available that it was possible to sell items on but he didn’t know how any of them worked.

Another OF said, “Do they take anything? I would like to put the ole lady up for sale and I wouldn’t ask much either; heck, I would even deliver her for free.”

Hard work

The OFs, as a rule, at each breakfast discuss work; we have said this many times. This time, the talk was about what work was the worst job that most of the OFs who were farmers had, but were glad to leave. 

Those jobs were hooking up the stone boat to a couple of horses and then going to pick rocks. That was the hardest work for man and beast on the farm, the OFs thought.

Rocks in the field do not need any seeds — they just come up year after year. Gathering them up and taking them to the hedgerow, or the rock pile, was back-breaking work, and the horses didn’t like it either.

Dropping the hook of the chain on the stone boat into the whiffletree would make the horses turn their heads and give you the dirtiest look ever because they knew what was coming.

However, one OF mentioned that he would rather pick stones than mow hay away in the barn on a hot, humid day.

Those OFs who drifted back into their younger, more robust days, when they didn’t go to bed hurting, but now go to bed with tons of hurts and then wake up in the morning with the same hurts, were glad to shed some of those hurts for a little while at the Your Way Café in Schoharie, and those OFs were: Roger Chapman, Bill Lichliter, Robie Osterman, George Washburn, John Rossmann, Bob Benac, Harold Guest, Wally Guest, Jamie Dairah, Richard Frank, Chuck Aelesio, Joe Rack, Glenn Patterson, Mark Traver, Otis Lawyer, Rick LaGrange, Ken Parks, Karl Remmers, Pete Whitbeck, Lou Schenck, Herb Bahrmann, Mace Porter, Jack Norray, Marty Herzog, Mike Willsey, Joel Willsey, John Dabrvalskas, and me.

Location:

Ah yes, it is another Tuesday and the Old Men of the Mountain met at the Country Café in Schoharie. This Tuesday, Sept. 24, the OMOTM formed in front of the Country Café to partake of their first cups of coffee of the day.

While standing there, the OFs noticed how festive the front of the café was decorated for fall. They looked up and down Main Street and saw that the decorations seemed to say, “Come in and have some hot cider and a couple of cider doughnuts.”

One OF mentioned that each season has its own particular smell. The air was crisp, and the straw bales in front of the restaurant enhanced the early smell of fall and the barn.

Unfinished work

Some of the OFs have some construction projects going on, and they would like to have them completed before winter’s winds begin to blow. Thus began a rousing conversation on contractors not showing up after they start a project.

To all OFs who were having work done, the complaint was unanimous. The percentage done on each job was different but all jobs were not finished, and, on one job, the contractor could not even be found.

One OF said there seems to be a universal connection between all the contractors. It seems that they start one job and then go to another in a few days, and maybe even another one after that.

Then, when each one of them is underway, the contractors will come back to you, drive in a few nails and then go on to the next until your job (which was supposed to be done in a few weeks) stretches into next year.

One OF said he thinks it is the little private contractors way of having job security.

Another OF said that he had his kitchen redone, and had the same experiences only the contractor never came back to do the finish work. The OF said he finally finished the work himself and found that the contractor had gone south to work on a big job.

This led to furnace work. One OF asked if any of the OFs knew of anyone who was good at maintaining furnaces.

Some names were thrown out but the OFs didn’t really know any of them personally. They did know some who worked for fuel oil companies but were not able to come up with an independent guy who went around fixing furnaces.

Spectacles needed

Then the OFs got on the scribe who really screwed up the names. The scribe reported one OF as being in attendance and he wasn’t, and he did not report on another OF who was in attendance but not accounted for.

To this scribe’s defense, in a way these two are alike in height and build, and from a distance they could look alike.

After the column was done, this scribe received an email from the one listed as in attendance but he wasn’t there. He was in Texas on a leg of a 4,000-mile motorcycle trip. (See what you can do when you retire young.)

The one who wasn’t there didn’t complain. Apparently, the scribe needs better glasses.

Water wheels

This column mentioned some time back the subject of water wheels as a source of power. For some reason, we began talking about this again.

The reason may be because the working wheel that runs the Caverns Creek Grist Mill, on Caverns Road on the way to Howe Caverns, in Howe Cave, New York, has been closed for some time. The OFs thought this was a shame but, as one OF reported, it is need of extensive repair.

Another OF remembered going to this mill a couple of times and buying a few sacks of cornmeal. You could watch the cornmeal being ground by the stone in the mill.

The stone was run by the water wheel. At those times, this mill was being run by a young couple who were dressed in period garb. The OF thought at that time this had to be a labor of love because they surely were not going to get rich off this operation.

Finding checkpoints

This scribe forgot how this conversation began but it was somehow tying in sports cars and gymkhanas and hikers. The gymkhanas had chec points and trinkets to collect and the hikers were leaving notes in boxes and taking a trinket, then leaving a trinket for someone else.

Somewhere along the line with the hikers, latitude and longitude became part of it. The scribe does not remember if the information was from where the hiker left or not, but this is interesting because it teaches how to use this important information when hiking, or even traveling, especially if the OF is a pilot of a plane.

Many sports cars are open vehicles and, at some of the checkpoints, one of the trinkets to carry would be inflated balloons — maybe four or six tied with a string. The trick is to drive down the road in an open vehicle and keep those things in the car and maintain the legal speed limit.

Keeping peace

The OFs talked about keeping peace in the family, This scribe doesn’t know about this.

This scribe thinks, if the family squabble is really out of whack, don’t come to the OMOTM for advice, get professional help, but the OFs did talk about it.

Oh, and about the lost boat in a previous column? It was found. It broke free from its moorings and the wind had blown it clear across the lake.

Those OFs who were at  the Country Café on Main Street in Schoharie, and how the peace talk of family battles using the OFs’ suggestions might lead to all-out war, were: Rick LaGrange, George Washburn, Miner Stevens, Roger Chapman, Bill Lichliter, Robie Osterman, Roger Shafer, Glenn Patterson, Joe Rack, Mark Traver, Otis Lawyer, Harold Guest, Wally Guest, Pete Whitbeck, Richard Frank, Chuck Aelesio, Bob Benac, Jamey Dairah, Wayne Gaul, Jake Lederman, Ted Feurer, Mike Willsey, Joel Willsey, Elwood Vanderbilt, John Dabrvalskas, Allen DeFazio, Harold Grippen, and me.

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The early morning rides to the various restaurants are now taking place in the dark for many of the Old Men of the Mountain. On Tuesday morning, Sept. 17, on the way to Mrs. K’s Restaurant in Middleburgh, it was just that way, but the darkness was becoming thin as the sun was beginning to come up.

Some of the OFs think this is the best part of the day, while others “yawn and stretch and try to come to life.” The early risers are already at Mrs. K’s getting their cup of ambition.

The darkness of the morning brought out “night” driving — again. The problem happens because of the blue and white lights, especially when the oncoming car does not dim them.

Even on low beam these lights may cause momentary blindness until they go by. The high-rise trucks that bring the headlights to eye level are also a real problem for oncoming drivers.

The OFs think there should be a law that limits the height of headlights off the ground. That way, trucks and these modified vehicles would have headlights down where they belong and not at windshield height. One OF said this is one of those cases where people think only of themselves and not about the people around them.

Autumn watch

The OFs are watching the end of summer, and the fall approaching. Many of the OFs have commented the signs indicate an early start to winter.

The amount of apples on the trees (including the old trees with their little wild apples) is a good indicator of the weather, the OFs say.

The OFs have noticed these trees in our area are loaded with fruit. The leaves on the trees are turning basically brown and falling off. So far there is little color to them.

One OF said it is still early and the color will come when it is supposed to. Another OF said the trees were done early this year in making sugar for the winter and they started getting ready for winter earlier.

One OF commented it might be earlier, but he thinks it is going to be easier because he has not noticed a real bird migration yet. Another OF said it is still early for the birds to pack up and leave also but he has noticed all the robins are gone.

Then one OF said he has robins year-round and not just a few of them, but lots of them. Then this OF said to take a close look at them and the OF bets they are all males.

This OF said the male robin has a black head, and white throat, and the female robin is duller in color. So the other OF said he would check that out.

The OF said that the OF with the year-round robins must have lots of food and protection for them to hang in there through the winter. That OF said he doesn’t know but he has about one-thousand feet of sumac on one side of his property, and it is loaded with a thorn berry bush, and that bush is a pain in the butt. Some thorns on that thing will puncture a tractor tire.

“That’ll do it for the birds,” the other OF said.

Bird lesson for the day from the OMOTM.

Dearth of workers

Some of the OFs talked about some cities having it tough and others rebuilding nicely. The OFs thought it had to do with weather, taxes, and manufacturing plants locating in the southern states, leaving the states close to the Canadian border that used to have heavy manufacturing jobs struggling.

In our area, we seem to be doing well, but up north, not so.

One OF thought it was states with high taxes and tough unions that drive businesses to states with fewer regulations that are receptive to industry. One OF said that today there are more job openings than unemployed workers to fill them. Another OF said he read that, too.

An OF was asked if he wanted to go to work part-time. The fellow who asked this question told the OF that right now he has to take the best of the worst to fill the job.

One OF said he doesn’t think these jobs pay well or have any benefits that will keep a family going. This may be the problem, some thought, and the major reason for the comment is because there are not enough workers to fill the jobs out there.

“Yeah,” one OF mentioned, “statistics can be maneuvered in many ways. If you have lost a job paying $30 an hour with bennies, and have a wife and two kids, working at McDonald’s is not going to cut the mustard.”

The OFs who can still drive at night, and get up early enough to be the early birds at the restaurants, met at their usual early time at Mrs. K’s Restaurant in Middleburgh. However, once all had gathered, those OFs were: Roger Chapman, George Washburn, Wally Guest, Paul Nelson, Robie Osterman, John Rossmann, Bill Lichliter, Roger Shafer, Pete Whitbeck, Bill Bartholomew, Rev. Jay Francis, Dave Williams, Jim Heiser, Joe Rack, Mark Traver, Glenn Patterson, Ken Parks, Chuck Aelesio, Richard Frank, Art Frament, Bob Benac, Otis Lawyer, Jake Lederman, Ted Feurer, Gerry Irwin, Lou Schenck, Marty Herzog, Jack Norray, Herb Bahrmann, Mace Porter, Warren Willsey, Mike Willsey, Rick LaGrange, Elwood Vanderbilt, Allen DeFazio, Fred Crounse, Rick Donnelly, Bob Benninger, Bob Fink, Harold Grippen, Harold Guest, and me.

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On a beautiful morning, Tuesday, Sept. 10, the Old Men of the Mountain met at the Middleburgh Diner in Middleburgh.

It is now getting a little dark when some of the OMOTM head out for breakfast, but the OFs do not have to worry. Tuesday morning, the OFs said that there were so many shiny heads at the breakfast that the OFs really don’t need the sun.

As the OFs entered, the inside of the restaurant does seem to get a little brighter. This scribe has to admit he is one that contributes to the illumination of the restaurant.

One OF summed it up nicely (and he too has a shiny head) when he said, “Grass doesn’t grow on a busy street.”

The shiny-head syndrome is a sign of brilliance just like the exterior of the cranium. Maybe that OF is right!

Many of the OFs have gone for a stress test. This test is to check on the condition of the heart. The physical condition that is, because some of the OFs have been called heartless in certain situations — especially by their kids.

Some of the OFs become stressed just to hear that they have to have a stress test. For one thing, this test is painless. So not to worry there.

The other thing, as far as most of the OFs can attest, there are capable people around giving the test, and the OF will be wired up like the back of an old TV set.

The not-so fun part is not the running one must do during the procedure, but the laying flat seemingly forever while the camera takes pictures of the heart after the stress part is done.

The OFs are waiting for the Star Trek type of medicine where they rub a cream on the belly, then wave a wand over it and, whatever the problem is, it is diagnosed immediately, and remedy is applied.

Dorian disaster

Hurricane Dorian was a discussion the OFs had and they talked about the aftermath. The Bahamas, according to the press, were completely flattened, and the pictures seemed to attest to that.

Nassau, the capital of the Bahamas, is only 121 feet above sea level, but most of the islands are only a few feet above sea level. What a mess. 

The OFs also discussed the pictures that show all the relief items sitting on the docks, the perishables rotting in the sun, and other supplies and equipment still sitting there because most of the people have gone. This means there is no one there to unload the supplies anyway, let alone use them.

Miami, Florida is not that far away from some of the Bahama Islands. Bimini is only 50 miles from Miami. That is like a trip from Albany going up the New York State Thruway to St. Johnsville, or down to Saugerties, both a little over an hour away.

To Florida, the Bahamas are like next-door neighbors. Some day they may even build a bridge to the mainland of the Bahamas.

This brought up the resurgence of Irene and its little shower of 13 inches of rain that we in upstate New York felt in 2011. What in the world, the OFs thought, would we do with 2 to 3 feet of rain, if Irene had carried that much liquid?

“My goodness,” one OF exclaimed. “There would have been no Middleburgh, or Schoharie or Central Bridge; it would have been a local disaster of gigantic proportions.”

Energy efficient

Jumping from one topic to another, one OF brought to the OMOTM’s attention that, though we are Old Men of the Mountain, some do keep up with the times. Four of the OFs have electric cars.

Proportionally, that is way above the average population of the country. The next thing you know, the OFs will be driving solar-powered vehicles, basically because they are not in too much of a hurry to get anywhere.

One OF suggested, if you really want to be energy efficient, go back to using horses. They eat grass and grain, supply transportation, and produce methane that can be converted to usable gas to run a gas stove. When its life is over, the horse can still be used for glue, and its hide for leathers (breast collars and driving harnesses) for future horses, and coats and shoes for the riders.

This sounds cruel but true. Again, people going back to the future using horses can’t be in too much of a hurry.

Work ethic

All the OMOTM have had jobs of one sort or another and we have mentioned these many times in previous columns. However, what the OFs did in the past keeps coming up, as this topic probably does in general conversations whether you are an OMOTM or not.

Jobs are a big part of our life; if the OFs have nothing to do, they become bored and go looking for something to do. As the OFs were talking on Tuesday morning, they mentioned that some jobs are a pain in the butt, while others are OK, and some didn’t even know they were working.

Year of goldenrod

As the OFs travel, or are just out and about, they have come to one conclusion: This is the year of goldenrod. That yellow weed is all over; it even seems to be crowding out that invasive plant, the purple loosestrife.

Bees though, seem to love goldenrod, so that might help the declining bee population.

Those attending the breakfast at the Middleburgh Diner in Middleburgh, and not sneezing too much because of the goldenrod were: Bob Benac, Paul Nelson, George Washburn, John Rossmann, Miner Stevens, Robie Osterman, Harold Guest, Wally Guest, Pete Whitbeck, Bill Lichliter, Josh Buck, Dave Williams, Bill Bartholomew, Joe Rack, Mark Traver, Jim Rissacher, Marty Herzog, Ken Parks, Rick LaGrange, Herb Bahrmann, Mace Porter, Jack Norray, Warren Willsey, Russ Pokorny, Ted Feurer, Jake Lederman, Gerry Chartier, Mike Willsey, Elwood Vanderbilt, Harold Grippen, and me.

Location:

The breakfast this Tuesday, September (it is already September, the kids are back in school and, to the Old Men of the Mountain ,it seems like they just got out) 3rd, was at Pop’s Place in Preston Hollow. Pop’s place is, for many of the OMOTM, the furthest restaurant they go to.

Some dedicated OFs travel about one hour and 15 minutes to get to Pop’s Place. Also, this time around, the short way for many of the OFs is over the mountain through Rensselaerville. For the last month or so, the bridge over the Myosotis creek is closed for repairs.

To continue onto any routes to get down off the mountain to Route 145, you have to go over that bridge, except for the circuitous roundabout detour the state has set up. Now it is not so short, especially when the OFs had no idea where they were. Some OFs knew the bridge was out and they started earlier and took the long way around.

Bad taste at Thacher park

Not particularly a discussion from Tuesday, but one of a few weeks past, that has been brought to light again, is Thacher Park. To many of the OFs, the park has been part of their local history and a while back they installed a playground of sorts at the southern end of the park.

Many of the OFs feel Thacher Park with its Indian history and Indian Ladder Trail is a historical park and not a playground. The signs at the end of the park with their garish colors and circus-like appeal take away from the dignity of the park. One OF commented it is bad enough that thing is there but to advertise its location in such a way, to him, is in real bad taste.

Serious hobbies

Not many, but some of the OFs have restored World War II Army vehicles. Why not?

The OFs have collections of hundreds of old possessions; why not army trucks? They talked of a rendezvous of sorts with a few of the collectors of these types of vehicles at the Greenville Drive-in theater.

By the time this column is in the paper the event will be over, but to the OFs it was interesting because the drive-in will be showing old World War II movies to go along with old army trucks.

The other event for these World War II vehicles is a planned ride being organized by one of the OMOTM. They will actually form a convoy as they travel the prescribed route similar to a motorcycle ride.

This ride will not be like a gymkhana done with sports cars where the ending is a mystery and the riders are given check points and items to gather that will lead them to the end. Generally, the gymkhana also has a prescribed time to complete.

These hobbies are completely harmless and lots of fun, and as long as the OFs still have their licenses and can drive, they can be in any of these clubs. Everybody to their own hobbies and some are more than hobbies — they are historical in nature.

Those who are involved in hobbies of this sort study and research the historical time in which they are interested. To talk to these OFs on whatever the subject interests them is like going to school, and the OFs have more information that is correct than any school book.

This is true if the OF is a Revolutionary War reenactor or Civil War enthusiast or  is interested in World War II or World War I. Now, as one OF commented, it will soon be whatever skirmish our young people will be involved in.

Origins of small towns

All over our great country, there are hundreds of small towns. The Old Men of the Mountain are all from small towns; there is not a big-city dweller among any of us.

Most of the small towns have a history as to why they are where they are but, as the OFs drive through them to get to each of the different restaurant, the questions are asked: Why is Gallupville where it is? Why is Quaker Street where it is? Why is South Berne where it is? Why is Knox where it is? Why is Duanesburg where it is? etc, etc.

Most of these small towns have their own historical societies and if the interest is really there, the OFs have tons of time on their hands. It would be neat to visit all of these places and see why they are there.

Each OF from a specific location knows the history of his small town; the OF from Berne may know his, but might not know the reason for South Berne. That reasoning is what came about with the OFs, especially Tuesday morning. One OFs family was from the area and told of what it was like 50 to 60 years ago.

But why Preston Hollow is really there we can now go to  Google which tells us that Preston Hollow was owned from 1629 by the Dutch patroons Van Rensselaer and it was part of the huge Manor of Rensselaerwyck.

The area was so inaccessible that it was not settled until the late 1700s. Shortly after the Revolutionary War, Stephen Van Rensselaer III advertised “free” tracts of land of 160 acres to anyone who would develop the land.

After seven years, farmers had to pay an annual rent of four fat fowls, 18 bushels of wheat, and a day’s service. The rents were perpetual and binding on subsequent purchasers of the land and the patroon reserved mineral and water rights.

These “incomplete sales” led to the Anti-Rent Rebellion from 1839 to 1889, which influenced the wording of the Federal Homestead Act of 1862 and opened up the west to settlement.

Preston Hollow was free land, people! School is now in recess.

Hurricane watch

Many of the OFs have friends or relatives in harm’s way with hurricanes that come up the coast. It is no different with Dorian as it gets ready to affect the East Coast in one way or another.

Some of the OMOTM even have homes in the area of the country where hurricanes visit on occasion. These OFs are watching the TV with keen interest to keep up with the track of the storm and the degree of intensity, whether it is grade 2 or 3 or whatever.

Some of the OFs say we have are blizzards but they think hurricanes are worse. The OFs can build for snow loads but really high winds and unusually high water must be tough to build for.

The OFs who made it to Pop’s Place in Preston Hollow, eventually, after a scenic ride through the mountains, were: Harold Guest, Wally Guest, Robie Osterman, George Washburn, Bill Lichliter, Roger Chapman, Paul Nelson, Pete Whitbeck, Jake Lederman, Art Frament, Bob Benac, Rich Donnelly, Ray Kennedy, Joe Rack, Mark Traver, Jack Norray, Lou Schenck, Herb Bahrmann, Mace Porter, Mike Willsey, Russ Pokorny, Warren Willsey, Gerry Chartier, Elwood Vanderbilt, Rich Vanderbilt, Harold Grippen, and me.

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