On Tuesday, March 21, the Old Men of the Mountain met at the Chuck Wagon Diner in Princetown. The OMOTM who drove east to get to the diner said that those who drove from the west missed a beautiful sunrise with a red sky that completely covered the horizon and then some. (If the horizon is covered, what is the “some” that is covered? Hmmm)

That was a key to what most of the early morning discussion was to be — it was the weather — of course. Those who live off the Hill missed a real dose of winter. Many of the OFs are Old Men of the Mountain and they were discussing, and showing pictures of snow measured in feet not inches.

It was thought that if (there is a “that if” quotient) it were not such a wet, heavy snow the measurements would be higher yet. The OFs claimed that the weight of the snow lowered the actual total depth. (But isn’t “actual” what is wound up with anyway whether snow is wet, or light and fluffy? What is on the ground is on the ground, no matter what its composition is?  Hmmmm.)

So the 30 to 34-plus inches of snow under different circumstances could be 40 to 48. No matter what, it was a lot of snow!

One OF saw a picture of an OF clearing his driveway with a push snowblower in one section, and a snow blower on the end of a tractor in another section. Snow flying in every direction.

Another OF said that, listening to the weather reports, it would be a good idea to get as much snow off as possible because the next day was going to be warm and, with the snow off the walks and driveways, it would clear pretty quick.

Yet another OF was more of, “Hey, Mother Nature put it there; Mother Nature can take it away.”


Feeling good

One OF came in and as usual was asked almost in unison, “Hey (name), how are ya doin’?”

This is a common greeting not only with OMOTM but in general. An answer is not expected other than, “I’m fine,” or “I’m doing OK,” etc., but this OF answered with, “Some days you feel you are like the dog, and others you feel like the hydrant. Well, today I am the dog; I haven’t felt this good in a long time.”

To which another OF said, “Be careful with that.”

This OF said his old man came out of the kitchen and announced the same sentence (he hadn’t felt this good in a long time) and went into a little room that was an offshoot of the kitchen to put on his shoes and socks, sat down in a chair there, let out a little grunt and fell to the floor dead.

When the doctor came, the doctor said he was dead before he hit the floor.

“Well,” one OF added, “I guess it is best to feel rotten all the time.”

Another OF declared, “At my age, if I didn’t feel rotten all the time, I would think something was wrong.”


Hats off?

Last week, this column was about 2022; this week, the OFs mentioned an event in another restaurant that is no longer there — it was the Home Front.

When most of the OFs arrive at the restaurants, they are wearing baseball-style caps; with many of the OMOTM, they are gray with the OMOTM logo on them. Some caps do represent other logos but not many.

The subject here is most of the OFs eat with their hats on; however, a few had manners introduced at a young age and do remove their hats while at the table, but it is not many.

At one time when eating at the Home Front, there was a waitress who was “old school” and she tolerated no hats at the table. The OFs remembered her well because, if the OF forgot and left his hat on, she would remove the hat and remind the OF, “No hats at the table.”

Some waitresses, or even other people, would cause the OFs to take offense at such conduct. However, the personality of this waitress was such that the OFs would put up with the hat removal and didn’t mind.

Comment: It is odd that some people can get away with this type of behavior and others don’t. With the temperament of some of the OFs, if a different waitress tried the same move, an OF might leave and never go back.

The OFs very loosely hang together and join in a few social events. One such gathering is again a weekly thing and it is still having breakfast.

A few of the OFs go to breakfast at the Rock Road Chapel on Rock Road in Berne. The breakfast is from 7 to 9 on Wednesday and is free; however, they do accept donations. The OFs that go have a good time, and say the breakfast is pretty good.

“There,” one OF said, “they do take their hats off.”

With this type of meeting for some of the OGs and this type of atmosphere, the Old Men of the Mountain are getting to be like one great big family. Maybe they were all along. 

The Old Men of the Mountain who were able to get out since the temperature rose a few degrees, plus the good work of the highway crews, so that all who made it to the Chuck Wagon Diner in Princetown without having to use horses and sleighs were: Marty Herzog, Wally Guest, Harold Guest, Miner Stevens, Russ Pokorny, Doug Marshall, Frank Fuss, Wayne Gaul, Ted Feurer, Jake Lederman, Jake Herzog, Mark Traver, Glenn Patterson, Joe Rack, Bill Lichliter, George Washburn, Bob Donnelly, Dave Hodgetts, Paul Guiton, Lou Schenck, Dick Dexter, Jack Norray, John Dap, Herb Bahrmann, and me.

On a beautiful March day, with clear blue skies, the Old Men of the Mountain paraded to the Your Way Café in Schoharie. It was early on March the 7 to be exact, and the Old Men of the Mountain are beginning to get spoiled with this winter.

One OF mentioned that winter can’t seem to get beyond the Rockies. All the snow and miserable stuff is being dumped on those unfortunate people.

Some people are planning their camping trips already — hiking the trails has not stopped. Is camping as popular as it once was? The OFs did not really know.

One OF thought it was a good question to see if the trails, lean-tos, and camping areas are being visited like they used to be. It was thought these places may even be more well-liked.

One OF mentioned that,m at the Thompson Lake campsite, years ago, people would camp there all summer and just move from campsite to campsite. Another OF said he and his family were among the people who did this.

This OF and his brother would camp there most of the summer by doing just that. The kids loved it.

Now, from what one OF understands, it is necessary to reserve campsites in advance, and the Thompson Lake campgrounds quite often have to turn campers away because the site is full and so is the overload area.


What’s in a name?

The Your Way Café is in Schoharie, and that prompted a discussion on all this falderal and name changes. Now that this can of worms has been opened, will the counties with names like Schoharie have to be changed (and the creek)?

Will the fighting Irish of Notre Dame have to be changed? Will the state land of Dutch Settlement have to be changed?

One OF said, “Hey, I’m Irish and I like my heritage attached to places, or things that show that we are recognized.”

Of course the OFs are OFs, and quite a mix of cultures and nationalities but none are Indian so we have no idea how they feel.


Senior-living snafus

Ah, senior living! OFs and their counterparts gathered together to live in senior communities. The OFs talked about this to some extent because guess what? Most are seniors and this is firsthand chatter.

One OF went to help out a relative who lived in a senior complex with a leaky bathroom faucet. This is not a major operation. Generally, you just tighten the packing a tad, so this OF went over and did just that and the drip stopped.

However, he noticed that the shutoff valve was also dripping so he tried to tighten that and the dripping did not stop. This now became a job for the maintenance man who they called.

The maintenance man came and tried to do what the OF did and it still kept dripping so the maintenance man got a bigger wrench. Oops!

The OF thought this might not be the right thing to do and it wasn’t; with using that tool and applying much pressure, the pipe finally burst. Now they had water spraying out of the pipe with umpty-ump pounds of pressure clear across the room.

The maintenance man charged out of the bathroom and ran to the downstairs apartment only the occupants were not home. For some reason, the maintenance man did not have his keys so he had to smash in the door to get at the main.

By now, the water upstairs was a couple of inches deep, and had started running downstairs. Finally, the water was shut off and some major repairs had to be made. Senior living excitement.

The OFs who had some building experience thought that many of these places should have the engineers consult with seniors who live in the communities to see where the problems lie, and what would make living there more convenient.

One OF thought that the builders already know. There are enough of these senior-living places around so the OFs came to a conclusion that it all comes down to money.

One OF suggested that safety, no matter what, especially for seniors should be number one. Another OF thought that the old-fashioned way of building a house large enough so the parents did not have to leave home is the best way; however, the OFs know that the way the times are now in many cases it is not even practical to do that. It is a really sticky wicket.

One OF said, when he was young, he never thought about being old. Then he saw his parents get old, and he realized he was on the same road.

Now he is old, and he thought how, when he was young, his parents took care of him; all of a sudden, it became his time to take care of them and he didn’t know how.


Schoharie drifters

Your Way Café is on Main Street in Schoharie, which is Indian for “Driftwood,” and the Schoharie Creek probably supplied a lot of that, so the Old Men of the Mountain traveled to the Valley of Driftwood to feast on food for breakfast at the Your Way Café and they were: Roger Shafer, Harold Guest, Wally Guest, Doug Marshall, Frank Fuss, Glenn Patterson, Mark Traver, Miner Stevens, Joe Rack, Jim Rissacher, Robie Osterman, George Washburn, Bill Lichliter, Rev. Jay Francis, Rick Lagrange, Ed Goff, Marty Herzog, Jake Herzog, Ted Feurer, Matt Eschen, Dan Peletier, Lou Schenck, Jack Norray, Herb Bahrmann, Dick Dexter, Elwood Vanderbilt, Bob Donnelly, Dave Hodgetts, Paul Guiton, and me.  

Tuesday, Valentine’s Day 2023, the Old Men of the Mountain met at the Chuck Wagon Diner in Princetown. At this breakfast, it is not hard to imagine what the initial comments of the day were.  It was, of course, the weather and how unusual it has been so far this year.

The OMOTM reported some of the events that should not be happening this early.

One OF reported that last week the red-winged blackbirds showed up; another reported the sap is running; yet another said his early flowers are showing their green beginnings above ground; and one OF added that his apple trees are budding, and he thinks he is seeing buds on his lilacs.

Wow! It is only the middle of February.

This scribe said we are going to pay for all this, say in April.

One OF added that many are saying it is global warming; however, the OF said, while this may be true, he does not think so, because this is not the warmest winter ever. We have had warmer. We have also had summers with no summer.

This OF thinks it is all just part of a pattern and that next year it may be one of the coldest and we will be wishing for this year all over again. Well, this is a good case of only time will tell.


Thoughts on balloons up in the air

The balloons flying over parts of the northern hemisphere and the Air Force using them for target practice was a concern to the OMOTM, especially the big one with the apparent solar bar on the bottom to keep whatever instruments that were housed inside the balloon charged up.

The other smaller, metallic-appearing balloons could be nothing more than college-kid experiments. One OF said that the smaller ones interfering with standard air traffic came down in areas where people were not able to just drive over and pick up the pieces.

Another OF said that, with all these objects, it is going to be tough to get at the debris to check and see what this is all about.

One OMOTM said that he thinks some private individual should find the large balloon pieces in the ocean first and then turn them over to the authorities.

This OF thinks that, if the Navy or Coast Guard latches onto it, we will have another Roswell incident and there will be one great big government cover-up and the OFs will never know what it is, or was, and it will probably be marked classified and wind up in some president’s garage.

One OF suggested these balloons may be from outer space, to which another OF said he doesn’t think the extraterrestrials would be messing around with balloons. This OF thinks that extraterrestrials consider us and our planet still in the Neanderthal age and, if they were responsible for the balloons, they would have done it just for kicks and giggles to watch what kind of effort we would put forth just to pop them.

Hey! Another time will tell.


“Don’t get old”

One OF reported, if some of his family did not have bad luck, they would have no luck at all.

The OF related a story that one of his siblings is ill and requires hospital care and so was just taken there. In the meantime, her daughter was on vacation in Aruba, and had just returned home from her trip.

She arrived at the house at 2 a.m. which is in the morning, and darn early for most of us. The OF said she put her suitcase down and then proceeded to trip over it and break her leg, so she too was taken to the hospital, and the OF himself had a doctor’s appointment at 11:30 Tuesday morning.

So, for this OF, the day begins with having breakfast with OFs, then charging off to the doctor, then proceeding to the hospital to check and see how the two girls are doing. The OF suggested that we should all stay young.

“Don’t get old,” the OF said. “It ain’t worth it.”


One big scam

As most know, the Super Bowl was this weekend. Some OFs watched it, some didn’t, and some wanted to but couldn’t because it was blocked out. These OFs were furious.

Through no fault of their own (and the OFs say they pay good money for the service), they could not get the game. The OFs felt this was rotten. One OF said we should go back to satellite antennas in the backyard.

Another OF claimed this whole TV thing is one big scam. We pay a ton a month to get TV and there is nothing tangible for it. If we pay for an orange, we get an orange. For cable or dish, we pay and pay — and get nothing but rotten news, and the same shows over and over. These OFs were just ranting but in a way they are right.

Those Old Men of the Mountain who were greeted by the sunrise as the daylight hours grow longer shook the fog from their brains so they could make it to the Chuck Wagon Diner, and they were: John Dab, Herb Bahrmann, Lou Schenck, Jack Norray, Dave Hodgetts, Bob Donnelly, Elwood Vanderbilt, Rev. Jay Francis, Miner Stevens, Harold Guest, Wally Guest, Doug Marshall, Roland Tozer, John Muller, Jake Lederman, Russ Pokorny, Jake Herzog, Mark Traver, Joe Rack, Robie Osterman, George Washburn, Bill Lichliter, Paul Guiton, Dick Dexter, and me.


We almost had a snow day. The Old Men of the Mountain make it to the appointed restaurant every Tuesday — like the postman, through heat, snow, rain, wind, even brimstone — the OFs are ready to eat.

This past Tuesday, Jan. 24, the Middleburgh Diner in Middleburgh was the appointed diner. Like most of the places the OFs frequent, if you leave hungry, it is your own fault; this is the case with the Middleburgh Diner where the price of eggs does not bother them too much. The waitress said they have their own chickens. There ya go.

One of the newer OFs used a GPS to get to the Middleburgh Diner and he was relating the roads traveled to arrive at the diner. This started a few of the OFs talking all at once; basically it was “Say what?”

Then they began again talking all at once about the should-a’s. Apparently, the GPS sent the OF all around Cock Robin’s barn to come off the Hill to get to Middleburgh.

This is another case of the older OFs knowing these back country roads through the hills and, if some newer OF heads out with the older OFs’ directions, it would be a month of Tuesdays before the OF would be found and he would still be wandering around up in “them thar hills.”



It is the end of the football season coming up and the OFs discussed the sport. Most of the OFs knew something about the game, but were not aficionados.

The group almost began to become political when it was mentioned they could not quite understand calling the Cleveland Indians, Guardians, and other name changes that had no particular ring to them.

The OFs discussed a little bit about the new movie coming out titled “80 for Brady.” Basically it was because of the age 80; now it is getting into OMOTM territory age-wise.

One OF brought up how it is strange that, in baseball and basketball, even hockey, rooting for the local team is the norm. However, in football, rooting for Washington, and living in Albany is normal, or living in Albany and rooting for Boston, conversely living in Pittsburgh and rooting for the Giants. Go figure.


Travel trauma

Stories came up about things that went wrong on trips while cruising on the water or flying in airplanes. After listening to some of these, it is a wonder if any of the OFs would get in a plane or on a ship but this scribe doubts if it deterred any of this group from leaving the breakfast and either getting on a ship, or boarding a plane.

The OFs told stories about being in small planes, not homeowner type Pipers, or Cessna 172s, but small commercial prop jobs. The OFs told about being bounced about so that if anyone had a sensitive stomach they would definitely need a barf bag.

One OF told of taking a cruise on a ship and running into a storm that contained a huge water spout. There, the OF said, the ship ran out of barf bags for passengers and some of the crew and performers really became ill from this huge ship being bounced around like a cork. The trip was short, and the OFs got their money back.

No matter how the OFs travel, there is no telling what is going to happen, or what the OFs will run into. In some way, that is the fun of it.


Like Jonah

One OF brought up the event of the two lady kayakers who were swallowed by a whale and were spit back out unharmed. The OF said it was a Right whale, and another OF corrected him by saying it couldn’t be a Right whale because Right whales have teeth.

The second OF was correct. The Right whale does have teeth, but apparently baleen also because this whale is listed as both mysticetes, meaning baleen, and odontocetes meaning teeth. The others are either-or but not both.

However, the two ladies were washed into the mouth of a Humpback whale (which is a mysticetes) and couldn’t swallow them anyway.  The other kayakers watching all this must have freaked out.

It still is surprising the knowledge of the OMOTM. The information that comes from the OMOTM on nature, boating, flying, hunting, fishing, even the academics of chemistry, prose and poetry, American history, and much more is amazing.

When talking about whales, one OF who had read “Moby Dick” asked if anyone else had read the book, and was surprised by the response of the OFs who had indeed read this book. Herman Melville wrote his novel close by at his farm “Arrowhead” near Pittsfield in the Berkshires of Massachusetts. So that makes Herman a local boy almost.

Still another OF tells a tale of maneuvering a small 20-foot boat in high seas, while yet another OF tells of the excitement and concern of flying a plane and getting trapped in clouds he could not fly out of. It is a wonder that most of the OFs at this restaurant at least make it to be OFs.

Those Old Men of the Mountain who made it to the Middleburgh Diner in Middleburgh, and we don’t know how, were: Harold Guest, Wally Guest, Roland Tozer, Doug Marshall, Russ Pokorny, Bill Lichliter, Herb Bahrmann, Dick Dexter, Jack Norray, Lou Schenck, and me.

This January so far has not kept the Old Men from their appointed round of restaurants. Tuesday, Jan. 17, the Old Men of the Mountain met at the Chuck Wagon Diner on Route 7 in Princetown. At this time of year and this time of day, the sun is coming up and the aroma of the diner is very nostalgic to the Old Men of the Mountain.

It is odd that a simple thing like shopping (with today’s prices, it is not as simple as it sounds) is downright scary, and scary is the word in this conversation. The OFs at one table discussed how they are a little nervous to shop at Crossgates Mall.

It is not that they do not use a store as a form of destination shopping. For instance, if one OF is shopping for electronics and thinks he will find it in Best Buy, the OF finds a spot in the parking lot by the store and will shop only at that store.

Another OF said it is good to shop even in one store with a friend and not to go alone. Another OF thinks the mall is for young people — it is not an OF mall.

One OF thought that, when anyone becomes 60 or 65 years old, they don’t make anything for people beyond that age, especially clothes. To purchase a clock radio, or just a radio, or TV, or even a coffee pot with just an on-and-off switch is almost impossible.

One OF mentioned that everything comes with a remote or with more buttons on it than in the space shuttle. Who cares if the coffee pot not only makes coffee but will make toast and pancakes, sprout legs with wheels, and bring the stuff right to you?

On the topic of shopping, the OFs remember what it was like 20 to 40 years ago to shop and where they went shopping. The OFs remember shopping Johnstown/Gloversville and all the items that were actually manufactured there.

One OF said they would go all the way there to shop for cars. The OF claimed they thought (and now the OF knows) they got better deals there, but it was a long way to go to have the car taken care of.

Another OF said they went there for quite a few years to do much of their Christmas shopping at the Johnstown knitting mills.

The leather and glove manufacturers like Grandeau leather made St. Thomas wallets, and other leather goods with the St. Thomas label. The company also made pocketbooks and leather items like that for other companies and put on those company labels.

At Christmas, the Grandeau leather factory outlet, which was right at the factory, had employees at their cellar door letting people in as people came out and the outlet was packed as was the glove place where shoppers were brought in by the bus load. All these places are gone now. 

Still in the shopping vein, the OFs discussed how many of the older shopping places are gone; small stores the OFs were familiar with where the OF knew the employees, and the employees knew the OFs — most of these are also gone. One OF said many little boutiques opened up and, in a few short years, these shops too were out of business.

It was more or less summed up by one OF who said that we are out-of-the-loop guys. The younger guys (we should include gals here, but to the OFs the term “guys” is all inclusive, so the distaff side shouldn’t feel left out) are used to the new ways and 50 years from now they will be wondering what happened to their way of shopping and why does everything have only an on-and-off switch.


Weather — or not

A usual topic of conversation — the weather — came up and how the OFs don’t remember a January like this in our area even if the month is only half over. Many of the OFs are beyond their skiing years and, as long as we get enough precipitation as rain, or a collection of small snowfalls that melt away in a day or two, the OFs are happy.

But as one OF put it: This is us. Look at the west coast, and the problems with the weather in the south and southwest: Boy, are they having problems! So far the Northeast has been lucky.

The so-far mild January brought up a discussion on how soon spring will be here. (Scribe’s note: Is this wishful thinking or not?) Spring training for baseball, and the Daytona 500, both coming in late February was mentioned.

There is still a lot of winter to go, and one OF at the table said we could pay for this in April or May. Yep.

Look for a cold spring and mud up to your crotch, the typical pessimist/optimist discussion, the kind only time will tell and one or the other will have the bragging rights of “I told you so.”

At our ages, nobody is going to remember the conversation anyway.

The Old Men of the Mountain who traveled to the Chuck Wagon Diner in Princetown just to enjoy the early morning ride and bask in another rare January day were: Paul Whitbeck, Elwood Vanderbilt, Bob Donnelly, Jeremiah Donnelly, Dave Hodgetts, Dan Peltier, Lou Schenck, Herb Bahrmann, John Bahrmann, John Dab, Rick LaGrange, Doug Marshall, Jake Lederman, John Muller, Ted Feurer, Miner Stevens, Wally Guest, Harold Guest, Roland Tozer, Jamey Darrah, Jake Herzog, Roger Shafer, Glenn Patterson, Mark Traver, Joe Rack, Rev. Jay Francis, Dick Dexter, George Washburn, Robie Osterman, Bill Lichliter, Paul Guiton, and me.


The Your Way Café in Schoharie was the meeting place for the Old Men of the Mountain Tuesday, Jan. 10. For a while, this scribe has to write out 2023 until the habit of 2022 is gone. For this scribe, a lot has happened since 1933 and it seems like it was just yesterday.

In most of the restaurants the OMOTM visit hang cutesy signs, plaques, and notices on the walls or these objects sit on the counters and some tables. In the Your Way Café is one that the OMOTM notice and in its cuteness is a truism: “We Guarantee Fast Service … No matter how long it takes.”

This one is funny, yet has to be thought about.


Fowl is fair

Chickens, where would we be without chickens?

The OFs discussed the world of chickens because currently the price of eggs is so high due to the avian bird flu. This bird flu has happened before but the price of eggs at that time remained stable.

One OF said at that time chicken feed was reasonable. Now the OF said it is not only the bird flu but the cost of feed and transportation combined with this flu, and the chicken farmers are still losing money.

The whole world depends somewhat on chickens. Eggs are primarily for eating, baking, cooking, chemicals, medicines, and then the birds themselves for eating, and, as one OF said, “We even eat the guts, like chicken livers.”

How many chickens are there worldwide? That must be some number.

It was even brought up that chicken manure makes great fertilizer, although one OF said that it is necessary to be careful with its use or it will burn the plant.

Another OF said the use of chickens as pets is also growing. With good care, and no genetic issues, a hen can live 10 to 12 years, just a few years shorter than a healthy cat and on average about as long as a well-cared for goldfish.

However, some species of goldfish can live up to 30 years if they have the proper psychological care. (Don’t ask me about this; it was on Google). Maybe a chicken will live longer if the chicken sees a shrink on a regular basis. Oh well.


Flash in the pan

On occasion, the OMOTM talk about black powder and hunting. Tuesday morning, there was another discussion on black powder shooting and how, at times, when shooting black powder nasty things can happen.

Some of the OFs are (or have been) members of re-enactment groups or rod-and-gun clubs where they were able to shoot weapons that used black powder.

The OFs related some stupid maneuvers they did themselves or some of those they were shooting with did, and what the results were.

The term used for describing the sound of a firearm using black powder is “Ka-Boom” and that term comes from what a musket sounds like when it goes off.

The first sound is the ignition of the powder in the pan “Ka.” Then the ignition of the powder in the barrel makes a “boom” sound — hence “Ka-Boom,” still used today.

This is basically what the OFs talked about Tuesday morning: the “Ka” — and no “Boo.m. This can lead to some funny and not-so-humorous situations and the OFs’ reactions to the “Ka” and no “Boom.” This is also known as a “flash in the pan” and that term is also used today almost on a regular basis.


Blinding lights

Another topic brought up on Tuesday morning that is not only voiced by the OMOTM, but also by the younger members in the group, is the blinding of the white and blue lights on vehicles. They may help the driver but definitely in many cases are dangerous to oncoming traffic.

These lights are blinding. One OF said that, when meeting a car with this type of light as it comes over a hill, there are a few moments when the driver of the oncoming vehicles are completely blinded. This occurs on some turns, an OF added.

Then one of the younger OFs added that age has nothing to do with this situation; these moveable search lights also blind younger eyes. There are times when they seem to be OK but that is seldom.

One OF said that he even has problems with rooms that are lit by these white lights where everything is so bright he has to squint and in a short time he has a headache, which goes away quickly when he leaves the room.

Another OF wondered how this form of illumination was checked out before it was put into use. Were all aspects of what happens tested before being put on the shelves?

Then one OF piped up, “Don’t you know dollars talk? If there is a buck to be made to heck with what problems it causes down the line.” For one OF, this really seemed the case.

The OFs talked about rules by the feds and rules by the states especially when it came to driving. It is amazing that a license issued in New York is good in Florida, California, even in Mexico, or Canada and even in Europe, and vice versa.

If licenses can be handled like that, why not some other rules that vary state-to-state?

Those OFs who traveled to Schoharie and to the Your Way Café to enjoy their eggs, fried, pouched, scrambled, or in omelets, were: Bill Lichliter, George Washburn, Robie Osterman, Lou Schenck, Herb Bahrmann, Dick Dexter, Jack Norray, Roger Shafer, Harold Guest, Wally Guest, Jamey Darrah, Rick LaGrange, Joe Rack, Mark Traver, Glenn Patterson, Doug Marshall, Jake Herzog, Bob Donnelly, Dave Hodgetts, John Dab, Paul Guiton, and me.

This Tuesday, Jan. 3, was our first gathering of the New Year, 2023, and it was at Mrs. K’s Restaurant in Middleburgh. Many of the Old Men of the Mountain hope ’23 is better than 22. ’So it is with much sincerity that the OMOTM wish one and all a Happy New Year.
One OF ended 2022 nicely with a trip to an Xcaret hotel in Mexico and returned to the OMOTM raving about his experiences there. Apparently these hotels are not for old folks according to this OF — Hmm.

This OF spoke of how some of the hotels in the complex are open; no walls or windows in the lobby and the animals of the jungle are invited to come in — just like the homo sapiens are invited; however, the animals use the facilities for free.

The OF related a story: Once, while they were eating, a monkey came up to the table; they gave it an apple, which the monkey ate right there with them. The monkey quickly left and ran into the jungle but came back shortly with a baby monkey, which was smaller than a squirrel, then proceeded to show it off to the people at the table.

The OF also reported that it got quite cold for the locals because the cold snap from Canada reached all the way to where they were staying. There was no way to shut the cold out because the place had no walls or windows, and they never expected anything like this. The OF said, thank goodness the cold weather didn’t last long.

This OF was traveling before all the problems people were having with the airlines cancellations and delays. However, they did have a problem with an airplane and sat on the plane for a while and then were told to return to the terminal for about 15 to 20 minutes.

Of course, this turned into hours, and finally the passengers were told they could not fix the airplane and they would have to bring in another, which they did and eventually they were on their way.


Ham drawing

The OMOTM had a drawing for a turkey at Christmastime supplied by Frank Dees. Frank was gracious enough to supply a spiral-cut ham for another drawing.

The ham was won by Herb Bahrmann and we hope it serves him well for the next couple of weeks. We believe there will be ham for dinner, ham sandwiches, pea soup, and ham salad.

This drawing was after the holiday because all the pandemic problems — i.e., colds, flu, COVID, etc. — seemed to catch up with many people sooner or later so changes of all kinds of plans were made, including for the OMOTM.


Morris Minors

Life is full of coincidences; in some cases, the chance of a coincidence happening is a daily occurrence. Such was the case on Tuesday morning.

Like always, the subject of cars, trucks, or some sort of equipment comes up with the OMOTM. On Tuesday, it was cars where the tale of a Morris Minor fit right in.

Shortly after the discussion, the OF who was part of it left his seat and, upon returning, he heard from the OMOTM sitting next to him that his first car was a Morris Minor. Not many even know what a Morris Minor is; now two people sitting next to each other chat about having their first car being a Morris Minor.

Both of these OGs said they would like to have that vehicle back; it was one of the best cars they ever owned, and the OGs were talking back to the late fifties and sixties. The Morris Minor was made in England and sold as a British economy family car.

These Morris Minors are still about; they have not changed and they look the same as they did then. The little boxy cars are still seen on British TV shows, like “Doc Martin” and “As Time Goes By” and also on the current show, M’idsummer’s Murders.” (What a gruesome name for a TV show.)

The cars maybe in other shows the OMOTM don’t catch. The Morris can be seen parked alongside a curb and sometimes even spotted on the move in some of these British shows.


Poor people

A few of the OFs discussed the increase in their Social Security and those who worked for the state of New York also received a notice that their retirement was going down. Say what!

The OFs said no way can you get ahead in this state. The increase in Social Security didn’t even keep the OFs level with inflation. Our illustrious leaders in Albany had the nerve to grant themselves a huge pay increase, and how did they manage it?

One OF said, “They took it from us to pay themselves.” We will leave it there.

The OFs wonder how poor people can afford to have any pets. It is a two-edged sword. Vets’ bills are getting to be so high that only rich people can keep a pet. This is sad.

One OF commented that it is not only pets but the cost of a lot of things that keep the poor people down with no way to climb out. We OFs are not talking about those who are working the system but down-and-out poor people. We will leave that one there too.

Those Old Men of the Mountain who piled into Mrs. K’s Restaurant after not leaving their Morris Minors at curbside were: Joe Rack, George Washburn, Robie Osterman, Paul Nelson, Russ Pokorny, Roger Shafer, Ken Parks, Bill Lichliter, Doug Marshall, Wally Guest, Harold Guest, Warren Willsey, Frank Dees, Marty Herzog, Jim Rissacher, Gerry Chartier, Henry Whipple, Elwood Vanderbilt, Dave Hodgetts, Bob Donnelly, Allan DeFazio, John Dab, Paul Guiton, Lou Scheck, Dick Dexter, Herb Bahrmann, Jack Norray, James Darrah, Ed Goff, Frank Weber, and me.

Another Old Men of the Mountain breakfast and again, the scribe was unable to attend. The first problem involved a painful shoulder, but a shot took care of this pain almost immediately. The second non-attended breakfast involved a bout with COVID (again).

The first time with the disease left this scribe battling blood clots on the lungs. Still trying to get rid of these clots and along comes another stretch with this disease.

This scribe is currently typing this while just finishing the 10-day quarantine and, except for feeling weak, feels pretty good, although tires easily. This scribe is fully boosted, and wears a mask almost religiously. Hmmm! Can one be almost religious?

The Old Men of the Mountain meet whether this OF is there or not; this time it was at the Middleburgh Diner in Middleburgh, on Tuesday, Dec. 27, and thank goodness there are OFs who take attendance and supply a few notes.

This lets this scribe compose some sort of report on the OMOTM by using this information and a few selected old notes not used in other columns. This information and the names help keep bill collectors and truant officers away from the OFs at the current breakfast.

At the ages of most of the OMOTM, the blending of the years seems to just melt from one to the other with not much fanfare. The OFs are not much on resolutions; to the OFs, resolutions don’t seem to mean much and most gave up on them years ago. Never kept any anyway.

One OF mentioned that, to keep a resolution, if that is what you want to call it, takes more than one person; it takes at least two, maybe more, to keep the resolvee on the resolve. This makes sense.

One OF said, “When it comes time, years don’t seem to mean much; 2019 is no different than 2022. Even the news is the same, only the names are different.”

Another OF commented that one thing that does change is it gets easier to count friends and relatives because the number is lower. This OF was echoed by another OG who uttered, when it comes to gathering, it used to be weddings and births, now it is hospitals and funerals. What a cheery group that breakfast was.


What matters in life?

The OMOTM quite often speak about family and how important that is.

Some OFs say their family is spread all over the country, and a couple said their families are not only spread over this country but the world. Japan and Germany were mentioned as they used to draw people in the military and in some cases still do; now though it is jobs.

As the OFs age, to have family close by helps. None of the OFs want to go to the “home.” This is where family really helps.

One OF said the old saw about treating your kids right in the beginning is a good idea because they are the ones who are going to select the home they are going to pack the OF off too.

Another OF mentioned how they took care of their elderly parents, and now they are the elderly parents, and still have maintained the lifestyle that they are yet to be a burden to the kids.

Still another OF said his kids were such a PIA that he couldn’t wait to be a burden to them.

This little old-fashioned and long-held statement about kids being a pain this scribe thinks is just talk — the OFs should think about what kind of PIA they were to their parents.

One OF said that the big old farmhouses were meant for multiple families, and the old folks, including in many cases aunts and uncles, all lived and died in the same place and many were buried in family plots right there on the farm.

An OF took his crooked finger and waved it in the air and said we all strive to get old. The OF said we are preached to, to not smoke, and eat well, get plenty of exercise, and don’t drink all that stuff so we can live longer.

Well, I am here to tell you getting old ain’t fun. For what? So you can live in pain, can’t dress yourself; heck, if I knew then what I know now, the motto would be, “Hey, live life to the fullest, be happy, die young, and skip all this old-age crap.” (There ya go!)



The storm that hammered Buffalo was really bad; however, the OF mentioned our own blizzard on the Hill that hit us in the fifties. Just like the Buffalo storm, it was very local. You could drive a few miles and there was nothing.

“There was a big difference in this one,” an OF said. “Our storm affected few people but Buffalo is the state’s second largest city. That is a lot of people impacted by this weather.”

It seems no matter where the OFs run to, sooner or later a natural disaster of some sort is going to catch up with the OF.

The OFs made some comments on life as it is as they trotted to the Middleburgh Diner in Middleburgh, and the members of this happy group were: Miner Stevens, Jake Herzog, Roger Shafer, Harold Guest, Wally Guest, Jack Norray, Lou Schenck, Herb Bahrmann, Paul Nelson, Roland Tozer, Warren Willsey, Russ Pokorny, but not me.

Tuesday, Dec. 20, 2022, is getting close to the end of the year and Christmas, and this year Hanukkah, then comes the New Year. It is party time, only the OFs are either too old to party, are partied out, or don’t care one way or the other.

It is another time of the year when priests, ministers, and rabbis should have their best sermons ready because it is also a time when there are more people in places of worship. On Tuesday morning, the Old Men of the Mountain did neither; they just had breakfast at the Chuck Wagon in Princetown.

A not too-much-talked-about medical situation, or maybe not at all up until Tuesday morning, was arthritis. It was found out that this aliment (or whatever it is called) is common among most all the OMOTM. This debilitating ailment doesn’t hide — it shows itself with lumps and bumps that at times hurt like a son of a gun.

Tuesday morning, it was found that, also with the ailment, there are so many cures, relief regimens, and soothing creams out there that these remedies can fill a pharmacy by themselves. This should give one pause that, if there are this many different rubs, creams, and pills, the people that don’t have arthritis yet are due to get it.

One OF mentioned that diet has a lot to do with getting the disease, but the other items filling the pharmacy are diet supplements, books, pills, and whatever other product the markets can come up with to use diet as a cure-all. Some may argue it is.

The OFs talking about arthritis have tried many forms of relief. One OF said he does the dishes because he gets relief from having his hands in the hot water. Another OF said it doesn’t work that way at his house because the dishes just get thrown in the dishwasher and, when the dishwasher is full, they run it.

Tylenol makes a pill just for arthritis but all Tylenol does is increase the amount of medicine in the pill.

Another OF said he has tried all those topical creams and none of them work, but he has found one that cuts the pain way down to just a minor hurt. That is a cream called CBD 600 [600 milligrams of cannabidiol], and the stuff really works, at least for him.


Travel plans

The OFs at our end of the table continued the discussion of Kitty Hawk, not so much going there as to when to travel. Travel off-season for the OFs looks like the way to go. The rates are less expensive, and the venues are less crowded.

The Kitty Hawk traveler said that, at the museum, their group had a tour guide almost all to themselves. The OF mentioned that there were only 12 people in his group instead of 300 to 350 people during the season.

One thing the OF mentioned that was a little unusual was that everything was open. Generally, in an off-season, many of the restaurants are closed as are the shops, and other things to do. But, as OFs, a good place to visit is one that has a few good restaurants open, plus the venues the OF planned on seeing. As far as this OF was concerned, all the other tilt-a-whirls, pool halls, and miniature golf courses can close down.

It is good to plan your travels when you are younger. The OFs say maybe in your sixties and early seventies. Once the eighties come along, so do a lot of aliments, one of which is mentioned above.

This really cuts down on the ability to move about with ease. This in  no way means that, if the OF is on a ton of pills and using a walker, the OF should stay home, just be ready because the mind may say the OF can still jitterbug, or go horseback riding but the old body is not going to let either of those things happen.


Staying warm

One of many things that happen as the OFs age is the need to stay warm. That is why the Southwest and the Deep South are loaded with old people. It is hard for older people to keep warm.

The OFs who hang around in mountains during the winter are looking for ways to keep the ole homestead warm without having to jack up the heat. The price of heating oil, propane, gas, and electricity is climbing faster than the retirement plans and Social Security.

So that prompted a discussion on how to heat the cabin this winter. One OF said he is shutting off rooms and moving downstairs to close off the whole upstairs. Steps like this will help some.

This brought up the discussion on heat pumps. One OF was quite familiar with this method of heat because he uses heat pumps to warm his home. This OF discussed how they function and what different types there were.

One thing he did say was these types of units are not cheap. Another OF was keenly interested because they are in need of a new heating unit. Like many on the hill this OF lives in an old farmhouse. Any one in his situation has a lot to consider the way the economy is right now.

Those Old Men of the Mountain who are attempting to keep warm this winter and hang out in the Helderbergs just so they can go to breakfast with the Old Men of the Mountain were: John Muller, Jake Lederman, George Washburn, Robie Osterman, Doug Marshall, Roland Tozer, Bill Lichliter, Frank Dees, Russ Pokorny, Roger Shafer, Jake Herzog, Rev. Jay Francis, Elwood Vanderbilt, Dave Hodgetts, Bob Donnelly, Glenn Patterson, Mark Traver, Joe Rack, Paul Whitbeck, Marty Herzog, Jim Rissacher, Dick Dexter, Frank Weber, John Dapp, Lou Schenck, Jack Norray, Herb Bahrmann, and me.

The daylight hours are getting shorter; this means some of the Old Men of the Mountain are starting out in the dark. This Tuesday was Nov. 29 so for a few more weeks it will be darker still.

(Scribe’s comment: Just like we can’t make cold, we also can’t make dark. All we can do is take away heat for cold, and light for dark. What has that got to do with anything — hmmmm?)

This also means that, while driving to these early breakfast meetings, we see some autos coming toward us with white lights that are either not set right, or not dimmed. The OMOTM complain that, when meeting these vehicles in the opposite lane, they are blinded by these lights. Not all — just some.

On the way to the Middleburgh Diner in Middleburgh, the OFs feel it is a good thing this diner is in the country because not too many of these bright lights are met by the OFs.

In talking around the tables at home, the OFs are finding out it is not only the OFs who have this problem, it is the younger folks too. One OF reported that one of the young folks mentioned in conversation that he wonders how many accidents have been caused by these lights and it has been hushed-hushed.

Over and over, the OMOTM start harping about hearing aids. In the circle around this scribe sat five OFs (not counting the scribe himself) who either don’t wear their hearing aids in a crowd or try to hear over the noise that all the other chatter creates.

In the car, the OFs say, they hear the car, not the conversation. On the boob-tube, when watching sports, the OFs with the aids hear the crowd noises and not the commentators.

In a room with a fan or air-conditioner running, the OFs hear those appliances and not the conversations. Music sounds completely different. One OF said that, when he goes to the bathroom to tinkle, it sounds like Niagara Falls and he knows with his prostate problem this is not true.

What an invention the senses are! Sight, sound, touch, taste, and we can help some but certainly can’t duplicate them.

One OF added the word “yet.” He is a true optimist.


The cat’s meow

There was a discussion on cats, not the play but the animal. Most of the OMOTM have or have had cats.

Those on the farm had “cats” with a lot of plural esses. A couple of these made house cats and were pets with a question mark; the others were barn cats.

There was not much of a difference in who was in control between the house cat and the barn cats. The house cat could be petted if the cat wanted to be petted.

One OF said, “We don’t pet a cat; the cat lets us pet it. There is a difference.”

The barn cats for the most part could not be touched; there were a few at times that they would let the farmer do that but not many.

These cats were not mean, just really independent and, as long as these felines got their warm milk twice a day, they were really welcome to stay in the barn.

Some cats liked the milk squirted right from the cow to the cat. The cat would close its eyes and have milk dripping all over its face and the farmer could almost see the cat smile.

This scene has been mentioned before but was mentioned again at Tuesday’s breakfast, and that is the feeling of having one of the pleasant sensations on the farm in an early cold and frosty morning.

Upon opening the manger door and having the warmth and aroma of the barn greet the farmer, the cows would slowly stir awake and, from the hips of some of the cows lying down, a cat would also stir, stretch, and jump off the cow and then the cow would get up.

These cats would come from the manger, or the milk house, wherever the others hung out and then gather around the old milk-can covers waiting for the first splash of milk. Did the farmer mind all this?

Of course not, because the farmer did not have to deal with any rodents. The cats were pretty good workers and all they got paid was a quart of milk.



The Old Men of the Mountain do not have any rituals or uniforms or anything like that, but they do have hats. The hats just have OMOTM in black letters across the front.

On Nov. 29, a few OFs wanted new hats, and some of the newer OFs wanted hats. Talk about inflation (and we do); the price of the hats has really gone up.

One OF said his hat was getting pretty grungy and he was thinking of getting a new one but, when hearing the price of the new one, he thought better of it, and said the hat can get grungier.

Hey, like an old pair of worn-out shoes, all scuffed up with no shine left fits better than any new pair that squeaks when the OF takes a step, the same sensation goes with a hat; an old comfortable hat wears better than a new one anyway.

One OF said, “I wish my wife would see it that way. Her motto is: Wear it once or twice or, if everybody has seen it, put it in the closet and get something new.”

Those Old Men of the Mountain who arrived at the Middleburgh Diner in Middleburgh in their shiny new shoes, and new jackets (NOT) were: Doug Marshal, Harold Guest, Wally Guest, Roland Tozer, Paul Nelson, Rev. Jay Francis, Bill Lichliter, Robie Osterman, Russ Pokorny, Dick Dexter, Frank Dees, Gerry Chartier, Jake Herzog, Marty Herzog, Lou Schenck, Jack Norray, Herb Bahrmann, and me.