This scribe has contacted a few of the Old Men of the Mountain and one Old Man of the Mountain who is not a member of the gathering, but really is an old man of two mountains because he owns the top of one mountain in Richmondville. Anyway, the main topic in discussions is the pandemic situation. So here we go again.

One of the OFs thought that the virus was brought here by aliens from another planet, just like explorers years ago from another continent brought smallpox to the Indians. This OF thought it wasn’t aliens that brought the virus but the supposed virus is the aliens themselves.

He feels that their spaceship landed somewhere in the east and the aliens were brought by this landing and that is why we are having so much trouble with the virus and it spread worldwide so fast, because it has a brain and a plan.

So this scribe thinks the OF is only half right. The scribe thinks the virus is the alien. The alien is traveling the universe, looking for a planet it can inhabit and take over. The main plan is first to eliminate as many of the inhabitants of the planet as they can in the shortest period of time. Then they will have free run of the rest and can take care of them in their own time.

Once this is done, they will have control of the planet and it will be their home. With the planet Earth, the aliens ran into a serious problem that they had not planned on. The problem is called oxygen. The aliens can’t handle oxygen.

So, as the president says, we are in a real world war, and our weapons are simple masks, and social distancing. Social distancing is a cube or a box the alien can attack from front, back, sides, top or bottom so we must be prepared from any direction.

As the alien reaches out to grab another victim, and there is too much space between the launch point and the victim, the alien will take in too much oxygen so the alien weakens and can’t reach the victim and dies.

The aliens have found they have another problem with people on the planet Earth. For the most part, earthly people wear clothing and the alien has a problem working its way through the clothing to attack a bodily fluid, and the alien also found that the bodily fluids are also protected by an outer layer of skin and this skin is waterproof and can be cleaned easily.

However, there are voids in the skin where bodily fluids are exposed and, if they can get to those areas of the body, there is a chance it can eliminate that one body of the earthly species. However, this planet has an unusual liquid that is made up partly of oxygen, and when combined with soap, the oxygen and soap does the alien in.

So the battle rages on with the alien trying to take over, and the populace fighting back with PPE’s, soap and water, and spacing themselves apart and surrounding themselves with a space of oxygen. If there is enough space (six feet) the alien won’t make it across.

The aliens are finding out this earth is not as easy a target as they thought, but they keep fighting on because their ship was found and destroyed so there is no retreat, and no escape. It is a fight till the end.

We are at war, my friends, and the enemy has attacked the old people first because they are the ones with the smarts. Take that, William Shatner.

 

Missing breakfasts

Also, in talking with the few OFs (we have discussed this before), we find the OFs really miss the breakfasts; on top of that, the OFs are old and they miss their routine. What they also miss is telling all the other OFs what their plans are for the week and what they are going to do.

The thing is, all the other OFs know most of this is wishful thinking because each one does the same thing and what really happens is maybe 20 percent of what the OFs tell each other they are going to get done, gets done. The rest is nap time!

A part of each conversation also is a deep and heartfelt concern for those out of work, and small businesses that have no business and are struggling. All the OFs desire a quick solution to the pandemic so things can return to some kind of normal, even if it isn’t the old normal.

And now, a final word from the internet. It seems this scribe recently got a senior’s GPS. Not only does it tell me how to get to my destination; it tells me why I wanted to go there.

Location:

Many of the Old Men of the Mountain are hanging around the house and going out only as necessary. Groceries and doctors seem to be the major outings, and the grocery bit gets some help at times.

Even the doctors’ appointments (depending on the problem) can be done by phone, and with Zoom becoming so popular maybe soon it will be almost like being in the examining room. Still, for the OFs, they claim there is nothing like being there, and there have been times that the OFs have reported the doctor has found something that the appointment was not for.

One OF described that, at one of his doctor visits, the doctor was listening to his heart from the back and, when he pulled his shirt back down, the doctor said there was something on his back that should be looked at right away. The doctor then made an appointment for the OF from the office with a dermatologist.

The OF kept that appointment and found it was skin cancer caught in the nick of time. The dermatologist also found another blemish that was cancerous, plus two pre-cancer spots on the top of the OF’s bald head, which the doctor said, when he first looked at him, “Before we even start, we better take care of those right away,” and he did. This could not be done over the phone.

Another OF chimed in on this conversation with what happened to him. This OF said he went to his dentist with an awful toothache, or so he thought. When the dentist came in and looked in his mouth, the OF said the dentist told him, “You don’t need me, you are in the wrong place; you have a sinus problem, go see your regular doctor.”

“This is another example,” the first OF commented, “On how can this be done over the phone?”

“Of course,” the other OF retorted, “how can a dentist do anything over the phone? He would require one heck of a long set of arms and hose on that drill.”

 

A virus question

In a recent phone conversation with an OMOTM, this OF asked this scribe a question that the scribe had no answer to, and he wondered himself what the answer would be. This particular OF has his groceries delivered and the OF was wondering if this scribe knew how long the virus lives on the packing and bags the groceries are in.

If he left then in the breezeway for four or five hours before going out to get them, is the virus still active? This scribe has no clue; never even thought of it. In this heat, the perishables would have perished by then.

This scribe knows he has seen a chart somewhere that told how long the virus is active on different surfaces but now can’t remember where he saw it. The scribe should have immediately cut it out and added it to the collection on the refrigerator door. The wife said I should have told the OF to Google it.

 

Caution

This scribe bumped into an OF filling up gas cans at Stewart’s, while the scribe was filling up his van and both did the same thing. The scribe thought this was very unusual. The OF and the scribe both sprayed the octane buttons and the nozzle with Lysol before touching them to indicate gas octane, credit card numbers etc. That was something.

 

Travel scuttled

This pandemic/virus — whatever you want to call it — has changed so many plans. Two OMOTM mentioned over the phone that generally during the summer they take off for summer vacations — one to the beach, and the other to Lake Michigan. Neither one is going anyplace because right now New York is one of the safest states.

“But you can go to Maine,” the scribe offered. The OF said they go to relatives in Texas. OOOPS.

 

Role reversal

The pandemic and subsequent quarantine have also brought to attention the one thing that parents usually dread. Our adult children are becoming our parents.

The wife of this scribe h as been taken to her doctor appointments by a daughter and she introduces this daughter as her “mother.” Another friend calls her daughter “The Warden.” Still another friend tells us that her daughter likes to tell her when and where she should go and even if she should go out.

The OFs have noticed this kid-bit going on even before the current virus situation took hold. How often the OFs remember telling their kids when they were teenagers what they were going to do, and where they could and couldn’t go.

Now these kids are doing the same to us. One OF mentioned that he can’t ever remember telling his parents what they could and couldn’t do. Then, one other OF said, “That is because your parents couldn’t do much (physically) and you did it for them.”

Life without sports! Not much on TV. This scribe would like to report a young lady sitting on his couch yesterday. Apparently she’s my wife. She seems nice.

Where to begin? As of late, there are a few of the OMOTM who are getting together at some of the restaurants. However, three or four are at one restaurant on one day, and a couple of OFs are at another restaurant on a different day.

One group sent this scribe an email on what they discussed; this message contained only one or two words. Their discussion was about motorcycles and (gasp) politics, and, it almost goes without saying — COVID-19.

Apparently, the sergeant at arms was not with this group, because to keep the assemblage from falling apart, religion and politics are usually left out. These two topics ruin any group.

In phone conversations with some other OFs, we hope those who are getting out take care of themselves with all the protocols in place; it was mentioned before: At our ages we don’t want to encounter this virus. We feel that six feet apart today is better than six feet under tomorrow.

There is now a prime example of how potent this disease is with the Fourth of July gathering in Albany, and all the havoc that has caused. Now we add to that the Florida Marlins baseball team. Thirteen or so out of 50 or so people is a startling number to test positive.

This scribe has forwarded a list of OFs attending breakfasts to those he knows who are venturing out here and there. If they all get together, it should be about seven guys keeping the home fires burning.

Mourning Mace

The Old Men of the Mountain has received some sad information. A long-standing member, Mace Porter, age 91, passed away in his sleep on July 28, 2020. Mace was a very kind man, active, and a good talker right up to the end. Mace will be missed by many.

Back to school

Digging up old conversations of the OFs at this point in time does not seem to be the thing to do. We are all hoping for a pill or vaccine to come along that will take care of this virus sooner rather than later.

A few of the conversations this scribe has had with other OMOTM was about the school problem coming up.

One OF put it rather succinctly, “When school is in session, every cough, sneeze, flu, pink-eye, or head lice, will come home with certain children. What makes anyone think COVID-19 will be any different?”

Then the question becomes, “How do you think everyone can stay home and teach their kids?”

Can’t be done. The OFs who have kids that have kids (OK, grandkids) are facing this problem, and this problem tain’t only here Magee. One OF suggested they (some OFs) are willing to try and help out by assisting in the teaching, only the OF said he has to be taught how to do it first.

Here is a good place for seniors and those retired to step up and help out.

Not like war

To those who are complaining about the quarantine period and curfews, just remember that your grandparents were called to war; you are being called to sit on the couch and watch Netflix.

You can do this!

 

Location:

This scribe is beginning to run out of stories from days gone by. The virus is hanging in there longer than the scribe thought it would. The scribe had hoped it would have been under control by now.

The scribe assumed (and all that does it make an ass out of u and me) that a variation of one of the vaccines already in use on a particular flu could be altered to combat this COVID-19. I guess that is not the case right now, but how about some people we occasionally hear about who are small potatoes and just like Preston Tucker (with his automobile that was way ahead of its time) the big guys won’t let them in because of the (you guessed it) money.

The OFs think there might be more than one “Tucker” in the wings.

As things begin to open up, with each phase giving more places the chance to open, restaurants and other businesses are also beginning to open to customers — with restrictions. It may be soon and the OMOTM will be able to get out and enjoy each other’s company and listen to events and adventures the OFs have had in the past few months.

Some of the OFs are still playing it safe. They are being careful where they go, to what places, and for what items. Willy-nilly travel is out.

Some are still waiting for the virus to be wiped out, or at least a pill to cover you if you get it, or maybe a workable vaccine to keep the OF from ever getting it.

A few OMOTM do not want to play games with their ages, and medical pre-conditions, like pacemakers, bypasses, stints, diabetes, thyroid problems, and other similar problems, plus some of the OFs just plain hurt. The only ones that hear them complain are the wives.

One OF mentioned about spacing when out and about, and wearing masks and asked how long does the scribe think this will go on. This scribe doesn’t know but he thinks quite awhile.

The two OFs discussed how people look with the masks and all we have to go by are the eyes. People behind the mask could have a serious overbite but now no one knows.

This could be a good thing. We get to know their eyes and their personalities and not so much their appearance. Some people are pretty clever on how they decorate their masks.

Sometimes the OFs find themselves out in the rain, a good hard rain, and the mask gets soaked. No one told the OFs these things are not waterproof.

Another thing the OFs have mentioned to the scribe is, “If the OFs start again and we are tables of four and spread out, how do we eat with a mask on? All the OFs will have their masks off. Is this acceptable?”

The scribe tells the OFs he does not know of any mask with a flap that the wearer is able to lift up and slide food into the wearer’s mouth. Now what if it is spaghetti? What a mess that would be, and then the wearer might possibly have to go out in the rain. One saving grace is that the OFs hardly ever order spaghetti for breakfast.

What about hot coffee? Now that would be a trick. We need one hand to lift the flap and the other hand to hold the cup of hot coffee.

“Boy,” the OF said, “better not slip up on that one!”

Fibbers

The OFs have a rule — discuss no politics, but on occasion that rule slips. It is not politics that is discussed; it is politicians.

The OFs harken back to the days when politicians were after funding to build the Thruway (late forties early fifties) and to obtain the funding we were told this Thruway was going to be run by an authority and no state funds were to be used. All debt was to be paid by tolls and fees, and at that time we were told this road would be toll-free by at least 1996.

We all know how that worked out, and what fibbers the politicians were, and now the situation is getting worse according to many of the OFs.

One OF said he has recently driven the Thruway and it is beginning to look rather worn and old. It is rough; the signs look faded by the weather; and, where he traveled, much of it wasn’t mowed. Some sections were mowed so maybe others will be taken care of soon.

The OF wondered where the tolls were going. One OF said, when he was working in Syracuse it was faster to use Route 20 home to Albany than use the Thruway.

Another OF asked what about all the small-town speed limits, and the OF answered, even with all the small towns, Route 20 was faster.

“The only thing for me,” the OF said, “were the rest areas on the Thruway because I did not really like stopping in a diner just to use the restroom without getting a cup of coffee or something.”

The scribe offered, “There is always McDonalds; they have considerately placed an outside door by the restrooms so you don’t have to use the dining area.”

This scribe is at the bottom of the notes that were taken last week from a few of the OGs.

The wife just commented, “I’m at the ‘what can I make with green beans and cake mix’ stage of needing groceries. Once again it’s time to don the masks and practice social distancing at the market.

— From John R. Williams

Ivan Baker, sketched by John R. Williams 18 years ago, founded the Old Men of the Mountain along with Herbie Wolford and Joe Farcas. Mike Willsey and Williams came shortly thereafter.

It has been asked: Who are the OMOTM? Well, they started out many, many years ago with just three guys.

They would meet at one of the OF’s homes until the wife would finally kick them out; they would then go to a restaurant and order something akin to a brunch because the wife would only let them hang around in the morning until about 9 a.m.

Also, one of the founding OF’s favorite saying was that 9 a.m. was a good time to hit the eating establishments because the morning crowd was gone and the afternoon crowd wasn’t there.

It wasn’t long before they asked the brother-in-law of one of the three, and a neighbor of the same OF if they wanted to join them and the OMOTM was underway.

For many years, the group was basically high school buddies from the three rival schools of Berne-Knox-Westerlo, Schoharie, and Middleburgh. The original group had one OF whose wife would send little reports to The Enterprise of where the OFs went to breakfast and a bit about what happened that week.

Then one year, the OF whose wife wrote the piece took a very long trip and asked this scribe if he would continue with the report. So the report continued, and continues. 

The title for the group came originally from those in the group who all lived on the Hill and for the most part were farmers. Occasionally there have been photographs of the group in The Enterprise, and at times photographs of their activities.

As the OMOTM progressed, some friends of the OFs retired; they were then asked if they wanted to join us for breakfast on Tuesday mornings. So the group grew and even included people from the valley, and now includes some flatlanders.

This scribe, in preparing this piece on how the OMOTM began, looked at the current roster and found about 40 names; in the summer months, we can generally expect 30 to 35 at breakfast. In the winter, there are about 20 to 25 people who regularly join us.

Last year, there were a few occasions where the attendance in the winter was over 25. A sad piece of information the scribe found out by looking at the roster — there are almost, or maybe even more, OFs dead than are on the current roster. We’re talking 30-plus years here.

At the end of each report, this scribe would make a small observation about the OFs and include the names of the OMOTM that made it that Tuesday to the breakfast. There were many reasons for this.

One reason was to supply alibis to the whereabouts of any particular OF who was in trouble with the law. Another reason was to assure that the wife who would be asking questions of a particular OF that he was where he said he was.

The column is also a week late and that is to prevent process servers from contacting OFs; that could be embarrassing. The OMOTM have no rules or plans to make rules; however, there are two unwritten rules. The conversations cannot contain any discussions on politics or religions. Those two topics cause the demise of many organizations.

The COVID-19 virus has caused quite a disruption in the OMOTM rotating among the restaurants and distributing a few bucks here and there. All the OFs’ eating destinations have been closed, but this scribe saw it as a good time to use some of his notes that did not make the first round. The virus has lasted longer than expected and in some states it looks like it is in for another round.

Now this scribe has to rely on old notes and phone calls. In Schoharie, some of the restaurants are open with restrictions. Some of the OFs are showing up for breakfast but many are not

 At 87 years old and with a few underlying conditions, this scribe is one who is sticking pretty close to home and traveling only when necessary. This scribe is waiting for a provable and workable vaccine, or a pill that will handle the virus effectively regardless of age.

This scribe (like many of the other OFs) feels pretty good, and would like to become an older OF. This scribe has the drawing board and easel to keep him busy —  oh, and a wife who has a lot of ideas of her own.

The little event the Old Men of the Mountain had last week of course has gone by, so now this scribe is again stuck with researching his little black book. (Sometimes the book is red, sometimes green, but they all do the same thing — hold little pieces of white paper with blue lines on them, together with two dinky cardboard covers front and back.)

This scribe bets fortunes are made and lost inside these little dollar store pads. Five for a buck.

Another thing! There is so much going on right now that the fodder for the column (if the OMOTM were still having breakfast once a week at the circle of restaurants) would be ample. Then again, maybe not; it would only be what the OFs could glean from the paper, radio, and TV or personal contacts because most of the venues the OFs frequent are closed.

The few OFs spoken to say they take rides now and then to nowhere; the OFs don’t even get out of the car. (None of them mentioned bathroom problems; however, with this scribe, that would be a problem so maybe their trips are short). Anyway, it gets them out of the house.

One OF said that, on their little rides, they head away from the cities and drive into Delaware, Schoharie, or Montgomery counties. The OF said going into Albany or Schenectady or any of the environs like Colonie or Rotterdam make the OFs feel areas like these are no man’s land.

The virus is lurking on everything, or else a stray bullet will find your butt. The country needs a vaccine for the virus and this OF will be first in line for that poke or pill.

This scribe thinks all the OMOTM have to hang in there — no matter what their age is — until this laundry is washed. If the OFs pass away, the funerals will be a little on the vacant side for people to say goodbye, and that is not fair for an OF who has contributed more than 70 or 80 years to this planet.

The same goes for weddings, birthdays, graduations, and other happy family events. It made graduations, especially this year, very interesting or very tough. Signing yearbooks must be a challenge, but really meaningful.

The OFs can relate to this because looking at old yearbooks — high school, college, or even those units in the military that have prepared one — is a lot of fun and very nostalgic when all people become older, not just OFs.

To see what classmates wrote over 60 years ago is a real delight. When discussing this, one OF commented on who has passed away, who is sick, and then tried to think about where some are living now and how they are. Even how we dressed years ago is enjoyable, and sometimes worth a laugh, and remembering the teachers — that, too, is entertaining.

As usual, one OF mentioned how he wished he had the sense to keep the cars he once owned back in the day. He wished even more that he had sense enough to purchase one of the old International K9 school buses, and just store them in a barn somewhere until he was old enough to enjoy them as antiques and remember them as top-of-the-line when the OF was in school.

Everyone keeps telling the OFs how simple life was 50 or 60 years ago, and they are right. One OF thought it was because information on events was slow in coming, but today it is all real time and so many people want to get on TV and spout off, or on the internet, which to me, the OF continued, is a PITA (pain in etc., etc.). Too many radicals and crackpots on that thing.

This OF said, “If that thing (internet) shut down and information slowed down, people would have time to cool off and calm down.” There! OMOTM philosophy! Too soon old, too late smart.

Remember you never realize what you have until it’s gone. Toilet paper is a good example. This is from just a few of the OGs.

On Tuesday, June 23, the Old Men of the Mountain met. That is a cool opening and in a way true. The OMOTM and a few of their wives braved the COVID-19 and decided to get together. Some wore masks but eventually removed them.

The gathering was held outdoors and the group did sit most of the time more than six feet apart, and protocols were followed in serving, cooking, and using utensils. Those who were there felt reasonably safe from the virus.

Plus it was a beautiful day sitting under a century-old cedar tree while watching an eagle snake a fish from the lake. The breeze was stiff enough to blow any germs away.

One of the conversations mentioned blocking unwanted calls on the cell phones. There were different ways offered to handle this situation. The problem was why we are now getting back into these unwanted calls. There was a short period there that we did not get many “robo” calls; it seems now they have started up again.

One person said the ones making the calls have found a way to get around the restrictions put in place to stop them. The person making the statement said, “Those restrictions lasted about two months, and that was about it.”

Talking about phones and robo calls segued into scam calls and two of the ladies at the gathering said they have received those calls and both said the caller said he was their grandson. One of the ladies was astute enough to ask the caller’s name.

“Oh dear, which one are you? What is your name?” The caller replied, “Don’t you know my name? I am your grandson.” And she hung up.

Another one was, “This is your grandson calling and I need help.”

“Where are you?” the wife of the OF asked.

“In court” was the reply.

“Yes, but what city?” the wife of the OF asked.

“New York,” was the reply.

“Yes, but what city?” the wife of the OF said, and the calling party hung up. You gotta be old to be smart.

 

Warner Lake

A conversation started on the name of Warner(s) Lake, which does not have an “s” now. “Maybe at one time it did,” one OG said. How it lost its “s” — no one knew why.

And in talking about the lake, there is one OMOTM who is a warm-weather aficionado and he follows the sun to Florida in the winter and this OF is a pilot. However, he is not familiar with some members of the early OMOTM group and that group included another OF who was a pilot.

This preceding OF had his airport at the south end of the lake. Now the OFs don’t know if the OF had engine problems, or maybe, just maybe, he kinda missed the runway one day and landed his Piper J3 in the middle of the lake.

Thank goodness Warner Lake is more of a mill pond than a lake and is not too deep. The deepest part of the lake, and it is not much, is only 50 feet. The water where the OF plopped his plane into was about 30 feet. OF course the OF made it out OK, and natives got the plane out also.

 

Map mishap

One OF mentioned he read the column last week of Google calling Fox Creek, Cobleskill Creek, and he related how Google has his driveway listed as the continuation of a road right here in East Berne. Google maps show the road going up his driveway and hooking back on the road it turned off of and it even has a name.

The OF says he has contacted Google more than once and they haven’t done anything about it. This scribe checked it out and, sure enough, there it is, just like the OF says.

 

Boat ride

One case where the distancing was broken is when the host OF took the OFs that wanted to go on a boat ride around the lake. Those that made the trip said it was fun and they had the chance to see some of the houses on the west side of the lake.

This was an odd boat because the OFs had to bring their own chairs. One OF mentioned it was like riding in the back of the pickup truck to go to the street movies in the old days in Schoharie.

Another OF brought his snorkeling gear and went for a snorkel. Upon the OFs return, he reported how shallow the lake was, and how he saw about six or eight huge carp cleaning up the bottom of the lake.

The OF assumed their weight was approximately 40 to 50 pounds. Those are some large fish, the OFs thought, and should keep the lake pretty clean.

 

Surprise

In case we decide to have another gathering at the lake please remember: Old men think fast.

An elderly man in Florida had owned a large farm for several years. One evening the old farmer decided to go down to his pond, as he hadn't been there for a while, and look it over. He grabbed a five-gallon bucket to bring back some fruit. As he neared the pond, he heard voices shouting and laughing with glee.

As he came closer, he saw it was a bunch of young women skinny-dipping in his pond. He made the women aware of his presence and they all went to the deep end.

One of the women shouted to him, “We’re not coming out until you leave!”

The old man frowned, “I didn’t come down here to watch you ladies swim naked or make you get out of the pond naked.”

Holding the bucket up he said, “I'm here to feed the alligator.”

The Old Men of the Mountain have begun to look like real mountain men (over the past few months) unless they could cut their own hair, or trusted someone who is handy with scissors to cut it for them. (One nephew even used the dog clippers; the dog was not happy about that). Now that the barber shops and salons are open, they are packed with people wanting their hair done.

This scribe, as some may know, is an artist. When doing portraits of guys, he is generally asked for either “more hair” or to “touch it up.” The scribe’s reply is, “I paint what I see,” but, if you readers will keep this a secret, the scribe does help out where he can.

This scribe is having trouble coming up with anything the OMOTM have done because they haven’t done anything. In phone conversations with some of the OFs, they are doing what is recommended and staying home.

The OFs only leave the ole homestead when they have to. Some of the OGs have even used the word “scared.”

One OF said, “Where am I going to go? Everything is closed or so regulated I don’t know what to do, and the dumb masks are a pain in the you-know-what.”

Two OFs said they are saving money; even though gas is cheap, they are not going anywhere anyway — so there is a savings. One commented on not going out to eat, and not getting haircuts (see above comments) — they are all savings.

The other OF said he worries about the people whose jobs were where he spent his money (when he was spending money) and the longer this goes on he is getting used to not doing what he used to do and it is not that bad.

However, and this has been mentioned before, they do miss people, especially family that is quite a distance away and occasionally taking a trip to see them, and vice versa. One of the OFs mentioned that on Father’s Day his family generally had big doings. They held fireworks, cookouts, and got caught up with family chitchat.

This year, because of the OFs’ ages the family does not want to take a chance on having that virus hook a ride on something and somehow pass it along.

Some of the OMOTM say, even though things are “opening up,” they are still going to wait until there is a vaccination, a pill, or a shot that is available for the OF to take advantage of before they venture out on a routine basis; otherwise they will just go out when it is absolutely necessary.

Without the meetings, this scribe is running out of word ammunition supplied by the OFs to generate a column; however, this scribe can tell of the occasional opportunity when he got a chance to go swimming in Fox Creek.

It is interesting how past memories are prompted by current events. Our neighbors took their kids swimming in Fox Creek just a few days ago and one of their ages is close to the scribe’s when he went swimming in the same creek but not at the same spot.

If we got done in the fields early, our father would let us go swimming. We contacted a few others and hopped on the John Deere B and putt-putted to Murphy Road, picking up a few kids on the way.  Across from Murphy’s farm was a nice place to swim.

There was clean water, wide and not too much current. But we could only do this for a little while because most of the kids there had to get home for chores. This little interlude did get rid of the chaff from haying.

This scribe went to Google to see if the creek still had that wide spot and it does. There is one great big question mark to this scribe. Google has the Fox Creek labeled as the Cobleskill Creek, but the Cobleskill Creek enters the Schoharie Creek at Central Bridge. That’s nowhere near the Fox Creek, which enters the Schoharie Creek just before the Old Stone Fort (north of the Fort) in Schoharie. Hmmmm. Who questions Google?

As stated in the beginning of this column, there is hardly anything new or exciting to report from the OMOTM. In fact, this has turned into a column about nothing. Say! Didn’t Jerry Seinfeld start this way?  There is hope for us yet.

In last week’s column, the topic was basically what the OFs ate when they were young. A late note received from another of the OFs mentioned a dish his mother served and that was Hungarian goulash.

This is not an unusual meal; most of the OFs have had that dish, and mothers still make it today. The varieties of goulash are similar to the making of jumbles (cookies) — many ways to make the same thing. This dish is also offered in many restaurants so it is not as unusual as chocolate syrup and sugar on cereal or ground-up leftover popcorn for breakfast

However, some people have a knack for making goulash special and different as this OF says his mother used to make it. To him, it was special. Why? That is the unknown.

This leads into another late report for one OF who claimed his mother couldn’t cook at all. He says she had to get the cookbook out to boil water. Her cooking was awful; if it was close to edible, it was either overcooked, burned, or raw.

This OF, as he grew older (into his thirties), thought he began to understand why his mother’s cooking was so bad. It was because her mind was on other things and not cooking. For some reason, she could cook poached eggs, but when she did it was up to the OF to make his own toast.

Her toast would be either just warm bread, or burned so badly that by the time the OF was done scraping it, the toast would become so thin it was possible to see through it.

When the OF was old enough to communicate with his dad on an almost equal basis, he asked him about her cooking. The OF said his dad told him he married her because he loved her — her looks, her talents, plus she could work like a horse — not for her cooking.

Model-T running again

This scribe also received an email from another OMOTM that said he finally got his Model-T motor car running and he sent a video of himself running it around his backyard. It is amazing to see cars, trucks, planes, and boats 100 years old and still running. Some are running privately, and some in shows, but they are still chugging along.

The Model-T was made for 19 years and, according to the net, when they first came out, the autos sold for around $800. Ford found a way to lower costs and by 1927 was selling the model-T for $300.

Faith

At one time, the OFs were discussing faith, not religious faith but faith we have in each other and in things. For example, it takes faith to jump into an airplane that was built in the thirties, zip down the runway and take off.

At the time when the OFs were talking about this topic, they said we put a lot of faith in our vehicles each time we shut the door and turn the key. Our faith that each man (or robot) that built their car did their job (and did it right) is an assumption the OFs make when the door goes thump, the engine whirrs, and off the OFs go.

Words

Using the word “engine” reminds this scribe what his father taught him about engines. This scribe’s father was well educated and an engineer who not only did civil engineering but also aeronautical engineering.

He told this scribe that an engine ran on fuel, and a motor ran on electricity. Calling an outboard engine an outboard motor is a misnomer, although everybody does it. A ⅜-inch electric drill has a motor; a weed whacker (that the OFs pull their hearts out to start) has an engine.

One time long ago, the OFs got on the beleaguered weathermen for the use of a term something like this, “Tomorrow rain or snow will over spread the area.” To “over spread” requires a constant predetermined maximum amount of rain or snow to already be there; otherwise the rain or snow is just going to spread over the area.

Right words, wrong order. To the OFs, the use of “over spread” indicates a deluge but the weather guys just might be indicating there may be a shower or two.

The other thing many of the OFs don’t understand is the term “breezy.” A breeze to the OFs is something that comes along on a hot day and a nice, soft, gentle wind comes up and the OFs go, “Ahhh” and wipe their brows.

But the weather guys say, “Tomorrow, it will be breezy” and the OFs find that tomorrow the wind will blow their hat off. This ain’t no breeze! This is a real blow!

Breeze? My foot. Tell it like it is, guys; say something like, “Tomorrow the winds are going to blow; hold on to your hat.” The OFs look forward to a breeze, not what those guys call a breeze.

Disparity

Well, Father’s Day is coming up shortly and the OFs have noticed the difference between Mother’s Day and Father’s Day advertisements. Mother’s Day ads: Diamonds on sale for $3,000. Father’s Day ads: Men’s target cargo shorts on sale for $11. 

Happy Father’s Day to all.

This scribe and his wife were sitting, having breakfast, and started discussing what they had for breakfast when they were kids. This prompted the scribe to email the OFs to find out what they had for breakfast when they were kids and young adults. The replies came and included what they had for breakfast, and some just stated what they had then that they liked but not confined to breakfast.

Most of the OFs are in their eighties, or close to it, but they should be dead based on what they ate back in the thirties and early forties. That is more than eighty years ago.

To start, many mothers saved grease in a can on the back of the stove for cooking; the primary grease was bacon fat. One OF mentioned he can still smell buttermilk pancakes cooked on a grill covered with bacon grease. Then smother the pancakes with real butter and maple syrup, with two or three eggs on the side and bacon to boot.

Many of the OFs drank whole raw milk. One OF mentioned ground-up left-over popcorn for breakfast.

Another OF said they poured chocolate syrup on their cereal, with sugar on top of that. Still another said that quite often their main meal was breakfast and they had potatoes and bacon or ham, or fried Spam, or even fried bologna, eggs, whole milk, and real butter on toast.

The OF added, “Of course we had to load up before going out in the fields for the day, but many OFs loaded up the same way before going to school.”

Hamburger gravy on toast was another meal an OF said they were served, and this was good.

It was surprising how some of the OFs had the same thing for a snack. This snack was bread with butter and sugar on it, and the scribe remembers having black molasses on bread as a snack.

This scribe also remembers eating “from the land” as his mother used dandelion greens in salads. There were wild strawberries from the fields; raspberries grew rampant in the manure pile; currants behind the hop house, and blackcaps down by the little creek.

When strawberries were in season, there was just strawberry shortcake for supper. That was it! Strawberry shortcake with real whipped cream. The scribe thought he was alone in this, but he found out other OFs ate the same thing.

Then there are the Schoharie County Jumbles. There are two legends of how this cookie came about. One story is that it is an old recipe that dates back to the 1700s; the other is that the recipe was developed during the Great Depression because it used so few ingredients and is so darn good.

It is hard to find the jumbles outside of Schoharie County. Outside the county, no one seems to know what the OFs are talking about when talking cookies and the OFs mention jumbles.

Because three OFs mentioned these cookies, this scribe checked into the matter. This scribe’s mother did the same thing — made jumbles. Jumbles with milk! How good is that?

The scribe decided to check it out and in a recipe book, from Esperance (reprinted recipes for the village’s bicentennial in 2018) titled “Recipes and Remembrances.” A section called “Jumbles” was, in fact, just facts about Jumbles. Briefly, the cookie was brought over by the Europeans over 200 years ago, and since then there have many variations of the same cookie. So there.

All this talk about food brings to mind that the scribe’s wife grumbled about having to cook another meal without a restaurant break. The scribe told her that he would make dinner that evening.

The box of mac and cheese with frozen chicken nuggets was made for her and she was happy since she didn’t have to think about doing any cooking that night. She did complain the nuggets were a little hard, but I don't know why the scribe said. The bag said, “fully cooked, keep frozen.”

 

Flying Eagle

Well it is nice weather, which brings an OF major event — the launching of the Flying Eagle. This eagle has landed in the water. The ship has been taken out of dry dock and is now berthed at its summer dock on Thompson Lake Road.

The crew did not fare so well; they seem to be much thinner. Even the crow (he was the mascot) who is now the captain of the ship, had slim pickings.

Over the winter, the crew gathered and laid out its plans for pilfering and plundering for the summer campaign of 2020. Due to circumstances beyond the control of this raucous crew, and their new fearless leader, the pickings have become even more drastically slim.

Nobody seems to be out and about, and the crew can’t tell who is rich or poor because they all look alike. Everybody is wearing masks, and it would take all day to make a good plunder of a group because “plunderable groups” are standing so far apart to plunder them ain’t worth the time.

The captain bellowed, “The heck with this. Let’s go and pick on Jack Sparrow and call it a day.” This crow has been on too many campaigns with the OFs.

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