On Tuesday, Nov. 19, the Old Men of the Mountain met at the Blue Star Restaurant in Schoharie.

It was noted that there was a big change in the weather from the 18th of November to the 19th, but what the people in the Midwest and the people in the Philippines are going through right now (and who knows how many more people are) a few-degrees drop in temperature is nothing we have to worry about.  We only know that it is time to put another log on the fire.

The OFs sat in the comfort of the Blue Star and had breakfast, and this old sphere just keeps spinning around and around; the OFs just sit there and talk about the flood in another building close by that just a short time ago was full of water.

The people who have such great events enter into their lives will relate time from then on to these events. The OFs are still talking about the flood (from Tropical Storm Irene in 2011) and it came up again Tuesday morning along with dialogue concerning recent tornadoes and the typhoon.

This talk was about something that not too many have even considered, i.e., paperwork that is kept at lawyers’ offices for safekeeping, and safe-deposit boxes at banks for the same reason.

One OF said the safe-deposit box situation hit home with him because his deposit box was in a bank vault that filled with water; however, his box was on the top shelf and the water stopped just a few inches below it. The boxes below were under water and these boxes are not waterproof.

The OF said, “You think you have all your bases covered and  Mother Nature has a subtle way of saying, ‘Hold on a second. I have something to say about that.’”

The OFs wonder if those who say time heals all wounds — well, does it really?

As one OF put it, “That statement probably emanates from someone who has not experienced whatever tragedy is the point of conversation. ‘Walk a mile in my shoes’ is a better quote and, after that mile, see if ‘time heals’ still fits.”

Wither the Monarchs?

One OF posed the question, “How many of you OFs have seen the Monarch butterfly this year?”

You know, no one within earshot of the OF who asked the question could remember seeing one. This OF said that a fungus, similar to the White Nose syndrome of bats, brought on by the strange weather early in the year, did a real number on the Monarch.

This OF said that he had read that they might not make a comeback because they were so badly affected. Well, that was said about the bats and the bald eagle and they are making remarkable comebacks.

Let’s hope that the Monarch rebounds quickly because they are great pollinators. 

Along with this came a few comments on the number of deer, which seems to be less, along with squirrels and rabbits, at least in the areas the OFs are from. This may not be true elsewhere. There may be places where the deer are taking over; the same with squirrels and rabbits.

Have a plan

One OF brought up a problem that is not too uncommon. This OF has a friend with whom he normally converses by phone at least once a week.  This friend lives alone and he does not live that close by.

The OF said he has been unable to reach him in the last two weeks and was wondering if he should call the authorities to go and check on him. The OFs think that it is a good thing to have a plan in case this should happen to one of us.

At the ages of some of the OFs, this is a possibility.

One OF suggested that this is why people should be part of something like seniors, or a church, or the American Legion, or Veterans of Foreign Wars — some organization that would be concerned if your habits changed.

In this case, there might be someone to check on you and see if you are OK.

Know-how in demand

Another topic came up that was not specific to an OF problem, and that is, when someone has a particular talent, or expertise, and belongs to an organization that takes advantage of that talent or expertise.  In this case, it was running sound equipment that one OF seems to know what he is doing.

To this particular OF, it is a simple job. But, and this is a big but, this OF is not always around when the equipment is being run.

Another OF mentioned that an organization he belongs to has the same problem and the guy who knows how to run the equipment is not around much of the time either. The OF said that he has everything color coded — the white wire to the white receptacle etc., etc.

And the OF said he has given instructions more than once on how to shut it down and start it up. Ditto with the other OF; however, these instructions seem to fall on deaf ears. Not really deaf ears: The people being trained know what to do at the time and maybe a month or so later but that information eventually becomes lost in the six inches of gray matter between the ears because it is not used and so enters the nether land of the brain.

 One OF came to the defense of those who are not familiar with using sound equipment. The OF who has the know-how uses his knowledge quite frequently, where the others might only have to use it once a year, and the OF relating this mentioned he is quite familiar with the short-term memory loss in this type of surrounding.

Things start making noises that the untrained OF is not familiar with and he goes a little berserk thinking the whole thing is falling apart and he does not want to be responsible for pushing the wrong button and blowing the whole business up. All this OF can think of is to pull the plug and wait for the OF who knows what he is doing to come and fix it.

The reader can insert appliance or whatever into the slot where sound system is mentioned. Wait for someone who knows what to do to show up. That is the best answer!

Those OFs who showed up at the Blue Star Restaurant in Schoharie on that rather blustery Tuesday morning and were glad nothing needed fixing before they came, were: Roger Chapman, Mark Traver, John Rossmann, Robie Osterman, Glenn Patterson, Harold Guest, Andy Tinning, Steve Kelly, Roger Shafer, Miner Stevens, Duncan Bellinger, Gary Porter, Mace Porter, Bill Keale, Lou Schenck, Don Moser, Jack Norray, Bill Krause, Ted Willsey, Mike Willsey, Jim Rissacher, Harold Grippen, Gerry Chartier, Don Wood, Elwood Vanderbilt, and me.

Give one big Whoop for Tuesday, because Tuesday, Nov. 12, the Old Men of the Mountain met at the Country Café in Schoharie. This restaurant, like many of the restaurants the OFs attack, has that early morning welcome sign, which is not in words but the smell of eggs and bacon cooking as the OFs walk down the sidewalk from their cars to the restaurant.

The OFs mention this quite often because it is like a magnet drawing the OFs to the front door.

The OFs think that one way to end a battle on the front lines would be to have each army set up their cook tents along the front and start cooking breakfast. As soon as that aroma wafted over to either side, the OFs bet that both sides would set down their arms, grab their mess kits, and go have breakfast — maybe even together.

One OF said that, in today’s wars, there doesn't seem to be enemy lines. It just seems to be skirmishes, or car bombs, or suicide bombers, or blowing up school buses full of kids going to school.

One offered even drones — no one around — just an unmanned flying machine. Another OF said he still doesn't understand what the wars are about.

“All I know,” the OF said, “is what I read in the paper and none of that seems to make much sense.”

This OF didn't understand how making breakfast would help today. “Who is the bad guy, who is the good guy?” the OF asked. “Does anyone know, or has most of the world gone crazy?”

Bald man’s lament

On a lighter note, the more important question asked was: Why do we OFs who are bald have to pay the same amount for a haircut as some guy with a ton of hair?

One OF said that he has sat along the wall in the barbershop waiting while some guy in the barber chair gets coifed and it take 20 minutes or more, and he gets in the chair and it is whirr-shear, eyebrows snipped, neck shaved, and out!  The OF is out of the chair in five minutes max, yet he pays the same as the guy with the half-hour hairdo.

“That is not the lament of just us OFs,” said an OF. “That is the lament of all the bald guys.”

“Maybe that is where the barber shops make their profit,” a different OF mused.

“It is tough finding a barber shop now,” one OF added.

He needed a haircut and his wife made him go to one of those sissy places. The OF said that was a mistake.

He told the girl (hair stylist?) he just wanted a haircut. The first thing this girl did was lead him to the sink and wash his hair.

“What!  Did she think I had lice or something?  I told her I just washed it this morning in the shower.”

Then the girl got the back of his shirt so wet that, even after being toweled off, his shirt was too uncomfortable to wear. After he left the shop, the OF walked down the mall and bought a shirt and undershirt at K-Mart because the OF said he was soaked and freezing.

To top it all off, this girl who had “cut” his hair had spent half the time snipping at the air with the scissors, and not really doing much cutting. When he got home, the OF looked in the mirror and said he still looked the same as when he went in the (Salon?).  He was still in need of a haircut — what a rip-off.

“Give me a guy barbershop any day, where I can still get a haircut and don't have to go back every week, and have some chatty, snippety young thing click her scissors in the air to make me feel like I am getting my hair cut,” the OG concluded.

One OF said he thought prices should be pro-rated at the barber shop: X number of dollars for a five-minute cut, and X number for 10 minutes, X number for 20 minutes and so on.

“Then,” the OF said, “you can go in and say, ‘I want a 10-minute special’ and be out of the chair in 10 minutes.”

“That might not work,” said another OF. “If you had a fine head of hair like me, which takes awhile to cut, and you ask for the 10-minute special.  The barber may only have enough time to cut half the hair on your head and you would go out of the shop looking kind of weird.”

Then one OF said, “Don’t mess with what the barber does; remember he is the one with the razor in his hand.”

Felons in office?

The OFs, discussed something that they didn't know (what?), at least at this scribe’s end of the table and that was convicted felons running for political office and winning the election.

“Sure,” one OF said, “look at Marion Barry, one of the former mayors of Washington, D.C. itself; he was a convicted felon.”

This scribe did a little checking — the key word here is little — but the basic answer is: yes. The Constitution says felons can even — while in prison — be elected for federal office (House and Senate) and serve from jail.

However, there are some in this body but suffice it to say the House or Senate can expel them because they are bad guys. The states have nothing to say about this.

Voting and holding elected office for state or other offices differs by state, but in many cases the answer is: yes. This scribe could not find where it differentiated between murder and stealing candy from a baby. (Then again, this scribe used to read a lot; now this scribe reads two pages, falls asleep, and has to go back and read over what he just read and fall asleep again. Takes awhile to read a book now but this scribe gets plenty of naps.)

Brain lapses

The OFs have a new name for lapses of information in a normal conversation.

One OF was talking to another OF, and was going to tell the first OF about someone in the hospital. In the middle of the sentence, he stopped talking because the name of the OF in the hospital went right out of his head.

So the OF who started the conversation had to stop right there because the whole purpose of the conversation was gone.  About 15 minutes later, the OF shouted out the name. The name sifted its way through all the clogged-up brain cells until it found its way out.

Another OF said to the OF across from him, “How about the time I asked you about your granddaughter and you couldn't remember her name?”

“Yeah, you OG.  You asked me that in front of 40 people.”

The other OF said, “How was I supposed to know you would forget her name; she was only five chairs down from where we sitting.”

What are these brain lapses?

One OF said, at our ages, they are the same as Brain "F---s". The OF agreed because none of us can escape them.

A different OF said that, when it happens to him, he starts to recite the alphabet and, generally, when he comes to the letter that pertains to the thought, the lost thought usually comes to mind.

One OF said that sometimes, when it happens to him unconsciously, it must rattle around in his head somewhere because at the darndest time he will blurt out something like "Charlie Chaplin,” or "Mickey Mouse" for no reason at all.

Those OFs who made it to the Country Café, and did not forget (maybe because their wives pushed them out the door) were: Steve Kelly, Roger Shafer, Andy Tinning, Dave Williams, Harold Guest, Robie Osterman, Roger Chapman, Glenn Patterson, Jim Heiser, Mark Traver, George Washburn, John Rossmann, Mace Porter, Jack Norray, Ken Hughes, Gary Porter, Bill Keale, Miner Stevens, Bill Rice, Henry Whipple, Ted Willsey, Jim Rissacher, Mike Willsey, Bill Krause, Harold Grippen, Gerry Chartier, Duncan Bellinger, and me.

On Nov. 5, the Old Men of the Mountain met at Mrs. K's Restaurant in Middleburgh, and everybody was up and running, particularly those that run the restaurant. Most of the time, early morning is the best time of day, especially if the OF happens to be an “A” person.

The fifth was one of those days. At the breakfast that morning, Loretta thanked all the OFs for coming to her birthday party, and presenting her with flowers and a hat that has the OMOTM logo on it.

Hey, the OFs will go anywhere for a free meal. Well really, maybe not anywhere.  Like the words “always,” “never,” and the phrase “American people” (without the caveat “some” or “most” preceding the word American) are no-no’s. 

On Saturday, Oct. 12, Middleburgh held its Fall Harvest Parade, and some of the OFs participated in this annual event. The OFs didn't walk the parade route.  One OF had an old tractor and another had an old horse-drawn grader. According to the OFs, the parade was over an hour long and very well attended.

Anyone familiar with the village of Middleburgh knows it has one main road in from the north or south to the Schoharie creek. Even locals — if they are caught before any of the side streets start through the village — find there is no way around, and then these people are in for the duration.

One OF mentioned that, for him to get home from the parade, he was caught in the line of traffic, and this OF is a long-time Middleburger. The OF said there was no ducking in and out of the side streets to get around traffic.

Other OFs mentioned about being caught in small-town parades with only one way in and one way out and just hanging out until the parade is over; one OF added that, when the parade is over, then the traffic becomes a parade itself.

The Memorial Day parades in Schoharie and Esperance were also mentioned as parades where the unsuspecting driver is trapped until the parade marches on. One OF mentioned, if this happens and you are not too far back, pull the car to the side of road, get out, walk down, and join the crowd, enjoy some fried dough, get a few balloons, and a couple of flags before you go on your way. You might just as well enjoy the parade because you are going to be there anyway.

Who’s without caries?

The next topic that came up was “Going to the Dentist.”  The poor dentist has the reputation of running a torture chamber. Dentists should be dressed in black, with earrings in their ears, and whips hanging on the walls, according to the OFs.

Most of the OFs do not like going to the dentist but off they go and, again, most find out nowadays it is not that bad. The OFs claim it is best to go periodically, and have regular maintenance and little things taken care of before they become major problems and can really hurt.

The sensation of Novocain is not pleasant, according to the OFs, but many would rather put up with that and not have it hurt while at the dentist. A few OFs say they will not take Novocain for minor stuff because the dentist works in your mouth only a short time and the hurt is over when he stops.

However, with Novocain, the OF said he is biting his tongue, drooling, and conversing with slurred speech until it wears off, and then the OF said, after it wears off, he still feels some of the discomfort from the dental work.

An OG then opined, “That is what you get, you guys that kept your own teeth.  Mine come out at night and go in, in the morning, along with my hearing aids, and glasses.  That is, once I take the teeth out of the Efferdent, put new batteries in the aids, and clean my glasses, I am set to go.”

“Yeah,” one OF answered, “if you lose all that stuff, you are walking into walls because you can't see, stepping in front of buses because you can't hear, and living on soup because you can't chew.  I'll put up with the dentist twice a year.”

Voting “yes”

on older judges

This past Tuesday was Election Day and some politics were discussed but not much. Sitting at the table of the OMOTM was one councilman, one former councilman, and a former town board supervisor. The consensus of this group seemed to be that serving in these capacities is like being married, but with no fun thrown in.

Only two topics came up on how people were going to vote. It seemed (at least to this scribe) that one issue was a “no” vote on casino gambling and the other was a “yes” vote for older judges. What would one expect from this group?

More specifically, regarding the vote for older judges, the OFs say they still have the mental capacity to say, "Throw the bum in jail,” so what more is necessary?

The OFs will have to wait until next Tuesday to discuss how it all turned out.

Those attending the breakfast at Mrs. K's Restaurant in Middleburgh, who had already been to the polls, or were headed to the polls, were: Andy Tinning, Don Wood, Harold Guest, George Washburn, Glenn Patterson, Roger Shafer, Roger Chapman, Steve Kelly, Jim Heiser, Mark Traver, Robie Osterman, John Rossmann, Duncan Bellinger, Mace Porter, Ken Hughes, Gary Porter, Jack Norray, Harold Guest, Mike Willsey, Gerry Chartier, Ted Willsey, Jim Rissacher, Bill Krause, and me.

On Tuesday, Oct. 22, the OMOTM met at the Hilltown Café in Rensselaerville, with another ride through the autumn colors of the Hilltowns. As many OFs put it, there is no need to ram all over the Northeast to see spectacular displays of fall colors splayed out against the hillsides. All it takes is a short ride into the hills that form the Hudson and Mohawk valleys, and all the color of nature is spread like a quilt before the eyes of the traveler.

Although one OF said that heading for Vermont or New Hampshire to capture the views is a good reason to travel someplace.  It gives an excuse just to get away and visit some gift shop to pay 50 bucks for something that is available at Wal-Mart for a couple of bucks, but it is fun to escape.

That is one of the many reasons the OFs escape to the Hilltown Café, just to get away and have a great breakfast doing it.

To follow that same train of thought, the OFs talked about relaxing. That is a frequent occurrence with the OFs; relaxing is not a problem with them.

One thing they know is how to relax. Some are so relaxed that, when found in their chair doing just that, the finder is ready to call Digger Odell, but occasionally the chest of the OF heaves up and down and the finder realizes that the OF is just relaxed.

Then there are the few OFs who said they have trouble relaxing because they are so wound up with what to do next, and sometimes family problems are so pressing that relaxing seems to be out of the question.

Some OFs maintain that the rocking chair will do them in.  They have to be doing something, and not just anything, but something with value. Some still work, many volunteer, and some have hobbies that require lots of concentration and are not completed in a day or so.

Others are stress free. These OFs seem to be in a constant state of relaxation. The outcome of both of these conditions — wound tight or stress free — is that both (as far as the OFs go) have contributed to pretty darn good long lives.

As one OF said, “Why am I supposed to believe some snot-nosed kid telling me how to live long?  For crying out loud,” the OF continued, “I am 87 and still going strong, and this specialist who is still in diapers is so worried about me living long that he will be standing in line when he is only 50 years old with all the other ‘tell them how to live’ 50-year-old people, at the pearly gates waiting for them to open in the morning.”

The OF raved on about how this same 50-something at the pearly gates will be looking down at us OFs below.  While his grave is being dug by some retired OF who has had fried eggs, bacon, hash browns with gravy, toast and black coffee for breakfast, the 50- year-old at the gates just had half a grapefruit, a glass of water, and dry toast for breakfast, and died on his morning run.

“Nature gone berserk”

The OFs were wondering how much more we can take from under the Earth before the Earth starts collapsing on itself.

As one OF mentioned, “The crust becomes so thin that the magma breaks through and creates volcanoes and mountains where cities once were.”

Nature abhors a vacuum, so, when all the oil is pumped out, what fills the space?  When all the coal is mined, what fills the space? Does water rush in, and from where?

One OF mentioned all these sink holes that are cropping up.  What made the hole that they are sinking into?

One other OF said he thought these sink holes have been evolving forever, only, with real-time communications and the ability to report happenings from just about anyplace on the globe, we are now hearing about them more.

“Yeah, but,” one more OG alleged, “that is not what the problem is because, years ago, no one was taking the stuff from under the ground; the wheel hadn't even been invented yet.”

To which the other OF responded, “Maybe not when you were around, but the wheel was around when I was.”

“That’s right,” a third OF joined in, “but the wheel when you were around didn't have a hole in it yet.”

One OF mentioned all these offshore oilrigs. He exclaimed,  “I hope they are pumping water back in where the oil was because, if that hole caves in and the ocean rushes in and meets the molten magna, man!  That will be some display of nature gone berserk.”

Still working at 80

Generally, the OFs meet on Tuesday morning at the next restaurant in line; however, this week, many of the OFs met twice. The OMOTM met again on Wednesday at Mrs. K's in Middleburgh to help celebrate Loretta's (the proprietor of Mrs. K’s restaurant) 80th birthday.

Not only were the OMOTM there but half the county as well. (This scribe has maybe let the cat out of the bag, maybe Loretta does not want everyone to know she is 80. Oh well, there were so many people there, it definitely is not a secret.)

Many OMOTM showed up to help Loretta celebrate.  Loretta was a high school classmate of some of the guests and some of the OFs. When asked when she was going to retire, she replied she is not going to retire — she enjoys the work and the people. As long as she can do the work, she will be at the restaurant.  Congratulations.

Those OFs who we able to make it to the breakfast at the Hilltown Café in Rensselaerville and grateful that none of the restaurants have thrown us out, yet, were: Ken Hughes, Lou Schenck, Mace Porter, Gary Porter, Bill Keal, Robie Osterman, George Washburn, Frank Pauli, John Rossmann, Harold Guest, Glenn Patterson, Jim Heiser, Bill Krause, Roger Chapman, Miner Stevens, Andy Tinney, Bill Rice, Henry Whipple, Elwood Vanderbilt, Gill Zadle, Ted Willsey, Jim Rissacher, Mike Willsey, Harold Grippen, Gerry Chartier, and me.

Oh my!  It is Tuesday again and there might be 52 of them a year, so it should not come as a surprise but for some reason it quite often does.

On Oct. 15, it was a Tuesday and the Old Men of the Mountain met at the Home Front Café in Altamont. The Old Ladies of the Mountain could get to together and start a weekly breakfast and give a report on what they talk about — the comparison would be interesting.

The OFs wonder if they would be part of any discussions. Maybe, as one OF put it, we are flattering ourselves.  Since we don't talk about them, why should they talk about us?

It may be unusual but ladies don't come up very often with the OFs, nor does much foul language. Hmmm, could that be because there is a significant drop in testosterone in this group?

The eyes have it

Many of the OFs have had and do have eye problems, or situations. They are not going blind; it is just age.

Cataracts, dry eyes, glaucoma, detached retinas, and wandering eyes (different wandering eyes than when the OFs were between the ages of 13 and 14 to 40, although some still have that young-age affliction). Most of these aliments require putting eye drops in the eyes.

One OF said he has his wife do it, another said he does it himself, one said he sits down, another standing up, another lying down. One OF said the manufacturers of the eye-drop solutions make their money more on the amount that runs down the OF’s cheek than what goes in the eye.

The techniques are different also. One OF said he just tips his head back and squirts the drops right in, while another said he puts the drop on the side of his nose, then tips his head and the solution runs in.

The one who has his wife put it in for him said he holds his eye open while his wife squirts it in. This OF says that he has to hold his eye open or it blinks shut and all the eye-drop solution does is get on his eyelid.

On OG said that his opthamolic solution is wetter than water; his eye doctor told him that a duck can't swim in this stuff because the duck would sink.

One OF thought about the artist on TV who draws paint up his nose, and squirts it out his eye to make the painting. The question was, how did this screwball ever figure out he could do this?

One OF said, now that this is out, how many people are going to try and duplicate this because these paintings (which look like so much scribble) are selling for big bucks.

Another OG wondered not that he can do this, but who are the nutcases that buy this junk? To which one OG replied, each to his own thing; so what if they have the money, at least they will have a neat conversation piece.

Errant drivers

The OFs discuss the following topic quite often, and it generally follows an event that happens to one or more of the OFs on their way to the restaurant — and that is driving.

Tuesday, not only one group of OFs, but two groups, were cut off by inattentive drivers. Both drivers were not stopping for stop signs, and, in one case, not even slowing down. In that case, not only did the OFs just avoid the errant vehicle, but so did a vehicle coming from the opposite direction. If that connection of three cars ever happened, the jerk shooting out of the side road would have been double T-boned.

One OF commented, “Where did they get their license?  At Woolworths?”

Shifting shopping

Now, to the OFs, that meant something, but to many in today’s world that doesn't mean diddle-dib. Who was Woolworth? For that matter who was Montgomery Ward, or W.T. Grant, or J.J. Newbury?  What is a Packard, or Studebaker, or even a Kaiser? The name Woolworth just came out from the mouth of the OF.

Today it would be Wal-Mart, and that would be about it. To shop like the OFs were once able to do is gone.

The OFs once could go to Montgomery Ward on Broadway in Menands, and purchase anything from a tractor, to socks and underwear, to toys and camping gear.  Even more — from plumbing supplies, to top-quality tools, from barbed wire to fence posts, from fishing poles to shotguns, from medical supplies to furniture and appliances, all in the same store.

If it wasn't there in the store, there was always the catalogue department where the OF was able to pick out what he needed.  After placing his order, the OF had to hang around and wait for his number to be called from the cavernous warehouse and then the OF would go pick it up.

While waiting, it was possible to run across to the White Tower and get a hamburger, or, if the OF wanted to go fancy, he could go to the restaurant in the store.

Shopping then was a trip and an experience that the whole family looked forward to.

“Now,” as one OF said, “Shopping is a chore.”

“And,” another OF added, “it was possible to get a hunting license at either Montgomery Ward, or Sears and Roebuck.”

Woolworth had its food counter and all those tropical fish and fish tanks. Again, one OF said, “Whatever really did happen to Randolph Scott?”

 “Times change,” an OG said. “Now we are stuck with Wal-Mart; about the only fun store left is Tractor Supply.”

Banding together

The OMOTM has one of it members in the hospital at the time this is being written. The OFs wish him a speedy recovery and that he comes back to the fold soon.

This OF being in the hospital brought up discussions on how hospitals are also changing to "keep up with the times.” The OFs can (kinda) understand this situation with how expensive it is becoming to stay in the hospital, and the expenses they incur.

Sometimes banding together is a good thing. Farmers try it all the time but farmers are independent people and it never really quite works.

“Doctors are banding together in groups,” one OG said. 

He thinks that one of the major contributors to this banding in the medical profession is because insurance companies are forcing the issue since everything is getting so complicated that someone who has an individual practice has to hire a Philadelphia lawyer just to keep up with the paperwork, so much so that the poor individual doctor has no time left for doctoring.

“Then,” an OF added, “it could be the malpractice law suits, and insurance for that which pushes the medical bills way up too.”

“Boy,” one OG said, “chase anything down and, when you get to the bottom, it is always the money — too much or not enough.”

Those OFs who lumbered into the Home Front Café in Altamont for this week’s breakfast and were making plans to go shop at the fun place were: Roger Shafer, Steve Kelly, Henry Witt, Robie Osterman, George Washburn, Miner Stevens, John Rossmann, Frank Pauli, Lou Schenck, Jack Norray, Gary Porter, Bill Krause, Otis Lawyer, Glenn Paterson, Jim Heiser, Andy Tinning, Ted Willsey, Jim Rissacher, Henry Whipple, Elwood Vanderbilt, Harold Grippen, Mike Willsey, Joe Loubier, Gerry Chartier, and me.

Tuesday, Oct. 8, the Old Men of the Mountain met at the Chuck Wagon Diner in Princetown. Maybe the OFs have mentioned this before, but people going to work in the early spring and early fall and traveling east on Route 20, must have a difficult job with the sun in their eyes on an especially bright fall day. There are times in the morning when going that way, the sun catches your eye as you crest a rise in the road and the driver becomes blinded for a few seconds.

One OF said he had this experience and he could not even see the windshield of his own car, and that was with the visor down and sunglasses on. Heaven forbid there is anything or anybody in the road at that time.

One OF asked if anyone is ready for Halloween, and the OF received the standard OF reply, "Yep, I have my mask on already."

Another OF chimed in, "I'm going trick-or-treating naked so I can get my year’s supply of candy, and no one knows I am naked; they think it is a great costume and I get great stuff."

One OF asked, “Isn't Halloween a little cold to be running around naked?"

"That’s the point," the OF said, "The colder the better and, with all my wrinkles, scars, warts, and bumps, and a pair of clod-hoppers, tie, and a hat everyone thinks it is a cool get-up."

“You are going to get arrested, you old coot."

"Nah, won't happen; I just hit up relatives," the OF replied.

Besting the boss

Most of the OFs are retired from whatever. One of the topics that came up Tuesday morning was former bosses.

Some bosses were good; some a pain in the butt. The bosses we remembered the most were the ones who were not that popular. The OFs were relating stories on how they got, not actually even — but maybe in a way it was — with stunts the OFs pulled on the bosses that were pains.

Some of these stunts were quite clever, but some of the OFs just smiled and, come to find out, they were bosses at one time or another, or business owners — not the bosses in question because there was no correlation between the OFs even working together or for the same companies that these OFs did when they were bosses.

This led the conversation into talking about different kinds of people. With the conversation going down this path, the phenomenon of aura appears to have some credence of being real.

OF One can meet an OF Two for the first time and instantly not like OF Two, but OF Three can meet OF Two for the first time and instantly take a liking to OF Two. Bring in OF Four, and he can tolerate OFs One, Two, and Three, but really likes the new guy, OF Five. OFs One, Two, Three, and Four, all like the new OF Five. This is aura.

This is what happens with bosses. When the auras don't mesh, these bosses become real pains in the neck to the one that doesn’t click.

Then again, some bosses are just bums regardless of the aura.  The OFs were talking about one boss that some knew because they had worked for him and others knew him more or less (the emphasis is on less) socially and the consensus of opinion of the OFs was that the guy was a jerk.

The question became how someone like that gets to be a boss; now that the OFs are retired they can look back more objectively. The OFs agreed that most of the decisions this boss made were right, whether they liked it or not.

Then there are those bosses who are in charge that don't know a darn thing. The workers are continually covering up for their boss’s mistakes; one OF said he had to cover up the mistakes or lose his job. The OFs agreed this makes for a tough work environment.

The OFs had trouble knowing how this character (to them) got his job because nothing he did was right. The OFs attributed this to cronyism. This particular boss was in cahoots with his boss, and the workers are caught between a rock and a hard place.

“Boy,” one OF said, “I am glad I am retired now and all I have to contend with is the wife, and with that boss I am always wrong — even when I am right, I am wrong.”

Wedding woes

The OFs took up the subject of making plans with the family and how nerve-wracking this can be especially when the plans involve weddings. The logistics of getting everyone to a family event and not hurting anyone's feelings is hard. It is harder than working for a miserable boss.

One OF said, “Don't get involved; that is women's work.”

Another OG said, “That is my motto, too. I go where I am told, when I am told, and get what is on the list.”

One OF said he chauffeured his wife to one of these planning events with the other ladies and, instead of just dropping her off and going to the nearest bar, he went in with the planning group.

The OF said that they seemed to be in a real quandary and he offered what he thought was a simple solution and the OF said, “I might just as well have thrown a hornet’s nest in the middle of that group. Retreat was the better part of valor so I got out of there.”

Those OFs who retreated to the Chuck Wagon Diner in Princetown, just to escape whatever and be among those of like aura, were: John Rossmann, Robie Osterman, George Washburn, Karl Remmers, Frank Pauli, Steve Kelley, Roger Shafer, Henry Witt, Miner Stevens, Roger Chapman, Bill Keal, Ken Hughes, Gary Porter, Mace Porter, Jack Norray, Harold Guest, Ted Willsey, Rich Donnelly, Jim Rissacher, Bob Lassome, Joe Loubier, Henry Whipple, Mike Willsey (with daughter Amy), Gerry Chartier, Harold Grippen, Elwood Vanderbilt, and me.

On Tuesday, Oct. 1, the first day of the new month, the Old Men of the Mountain met at the Duanesburg Diner in Duanesburg. It takes about an hour for the OFs to dribble in.

This is a good thing because, by the time the latecomers arrive, some of the early birds have flown the nest. This makes room in the restaurants, and the waitresses and the cooks do not have to get 25 to 30 breakfasts ready all at once.

This scribe was perusing his notes for the OMOTM report and thought it might be interesting to list what he has on his little 3- by 5-inch notebook.  The notes start out like this: dreams, dying, sunrise, farming, roadside farm stands, construction, getting dressed, slept in house, weather, Wal-Mart, prices of groceries and gas (again, where the best place is to buy it) — and those are just some of the topics.

At least the ones this scribe put notes to — on paper — because this scribe was running out of room on his little pad. Now to try and relate what these notes pertain to.

The note on getting dressed referred back to a discussion the OFs had about when they were younger how they threw on what they were going to wear in about 90 seconds. Now, it is completely different.

The shower takes some of the time but for some reason this process seems shorter than when the OFs were younger, but this is the only process that does seem to be shorter. The OFs stand at the end of the dresser with their shorts in their hands and wiggle around a bit — doing a little dance to get the first leg through without falling over.

OK — the OF is that far, then he leans against the wall or dresser and thinks a little bit, then flings his other leg up, gets this leg through the leg hole in the shorts, and now the OF is ready to hike the shorts up, and he finds they are on backwards!

The fly is to the rear. It is going to be one of those days.

Then the undershirt is pulled over his head and back, and it gets all balled up and won’t pull down, so, after the exercise of the shower, the OF now has the exercise of tugging at the shirt with considerable force to get it down. OK!

Now all the OF has is shirts, pants, socks, and shoes to complete the ensemble and the OF looks at this pile of fabric and leather like they are an enemy.  However, the OF is ready to attack each one with abandon and win these battles even if it takes half the morning.

New digs

It seems that, not long ago, this scribe reported on one OF building a new home and the wet weather causing problems getting things done. That was early summer.

At Tuesday morning’s breakfast, this OF reported that Monday night he and his wife slept in their new house. It is finished and most all the furniture is moved in and they are ready to go.

They will now celebrate Halloween, Thanksgiving, and Christmas in their new home. That must be a great feeling.  Everything is new — no more leaky faucets, or having an old furnace conk out, or old storm doors that don't shut.

But just wait; there are bugs in that new home waiting to pop up that will need to be attended to. No matter how new a place the OFs move into, the first things to be moved are the OF’s tools.

Sweet dreams?

The OFs talked about their dreams, and along with that — sleeping. A couple of the OFs have gone through the sleep studies for sleep apnea.

One OF stuck it out for two days, and one gave up in just a couple of hours. The one that stuck it out said these studies worked great and he now sleeps well at night.  The other OF says he still wakes up early, but to this OF that is a good thing because he gets a lot done in the wee hours of the morning.

Both these OFs said being involved in these studies is quite a process, i.e., trying to sleep with wires stuck all over your head. Some OFs say they take a sleeping aid to go to sleep, while others claim they are asleep before their heads hit the pillow.

Some of the OFs said they dream some real nasty stuff and don't like their dreams; others said they are just dreams, and some say they don't dream at all. Well, they probably do dream but just can't recall the dreams.

One OF mentioned that, suddenly, he started having dreams that were so bad he was afraid to go to sleep at night. This OF said that, at one of his bi-annual check-ups at the cardiologist, he happened to mention this just in passing.

The cardiologist said, oops, don't take another pill (now the OF couldn't remember which pill it was) and the cardiologist replaced the pill with something else and the dreams stopped immediately. This OF suggested to the OF that was having those constant bad dreams to check his meds.

Calculating COLA

The OFs do not know where the government gets the idea that there is very little cost-of-living increase, so the cost-of-living index is small. The OFs would like to know what planet they are living on.

One OF thought that it might be because we are living in New York, and other states do not see the increases in taxes, gas, food, and heating fuel, that we see here and they base their information on the country as a whole for this index.

With a quick glance at the Internet, this scribe found the following information. For instance, gas in South Carolina is $3.06 per gallon, Michigan $3.36, New York $3.67, and California is $3.87.  The average of these four states is $3.49.

Just by using gas prices as an example, we found that bread, and a pair of (same brand) jeans averaged out about the same.  However, with the average income in the same four states, New York ranked fourth with $52,000 per year, California ranked next at 15th with $45,000 per year, Michigan comes in at 35th with $37,000 per year, and South Carolina comes in at 48th with an average income of $34,000 per year.

South Carolina has the least disparity from rich to poor while New York and California have the highest disparity from rich to poor. In New York and California, people, like many of the OFs, are on fixed incomes because fewer people are holding the big bucks and that skews the facts and the little guy is left holding the bag.. — more information than you want.

Therefore, someone making $52,000 a year does not have the same problem paying $3.67 for a gallon of gas as the people making $24,000 to $25,000 a year — big difference, and there are a lot more of the $24,00-a-year guys than there are the fat cats. 

The OFs have spoken, and this is a close to politics as the OFs get.  The OFs do get into some weighty stuff that has to be checked out, and this is so convoluted the readers are invited to go to the net and get their own information.

The bylaws of the OMOTM are designed to keep harmony so the group limits discussions on politics, religion, and wayward women, and on making overt passes at the waitresses.

Prefer a quick death

Now for dying. This is short.

The OFs would rather have a weak internal system than a strong internal system. It seems some OFs drag out the dying process by having strong constitutions and they are in wheelchairs, in pain, on oxygen, or in nursing homes for years.

Many of the OFs, say, have a bad ticker and, when it ticks its last tick, you are done.  The OFs don’t want any of this prolonged, agonizing hanging around where the OF just becomes a burden to his kids, or a human guinea pig for the doctors.

Those OFs who made it to the breakfast at the Duanesburg Diner in Duanesburg, and none planning on dying any time soon, were: Miner Stevens, Henry Witt, Roger Shafer, Roger Chapman, Steve Kelly, Robie Osterman, George Washburn, Bill Bartholomew, Dave Williams, Mark Traver, Glenn Patterson, Frank Pauli, Harold GUEST, John Rossmann, Gary Porter, Mace Porter, Jack Norray, Ken Hughes, Lou Schenck, Duncan Bellinger, Bill Lassome, Rich Donnelly, Bob Benac, Jim Rissacher, Joe Loebier, Duane Wagenbaugh, Elwood Vanderbilt, Gerry Chartier, Harold Grippen, Mike Willsey, and me.

On Tuesday, Sept. 24, the Old Men of the Mountain met at the Blue Star Café in Schoharie. This building used to house the Alley Cat (that name we could understand) but Blue Star Café?

The OFs have trouble understanding that one and what, if anything, it is connected to. The name was changed when uninvited Irene blew through town and ruined the aforementioned Alley Cat.

The OFs know some of the stars in the heavens are called blue stars and maybe one of them fell and landed on the old Alley Cat. (Ever accidentally step on a cat's tail, and not know the cat is there?  That is one good reason all homes should have a defibrillator handy.)

A debate

The OFs wish to bring up another fall weed — or flower, depending on how you look at it. To some, they are weeds; to some, they are flowers.

That is how the pearly everlasting have just bloomed everywhere. The OFs were discussing how all the wildflowers are blooming this year, all the wild fruit trees are loaded, and many of the pine trees have so many pinecones on them that they look brown, and the OFs predict that this winter is going to be a doozy.

But some other OFs say, not so fast — they attribute the bursting of all this vegetation to the very wet spring and early summer and all these plants getting a good start, and they note there is still moister in the ground.

One OF mentioned he was glad to see all the goldenrod because at least around his place the old familiar sound of bees working was back and they were giving the goldenrod a good going over.

“That is a good sign, too,” the OF said.

We have about six months to go to see which faction of the OFs will be correct.  Whether it is the water of spring, and winter is normal, or if this abundance of fruits and vegetation is nature’s way of supplying sustenance for the wild animals over a hard winter.

“We shall see,” one OF commented. “Mark your calendar with the days below zero, and the number of inches of snowstorms.”

“Let’s hope it is inches and not feet,” said another OF.

 Anchored with chains

The OFs started talking about some of the things they have seen in their travels and one thing brought up was the same type of early construction 1,800 miles apart.

In St. Augustine, Fla., they show in the Old Town a “schoolhouse” the OF thought was held down with anchor chains to keep it from blowing away in hurricanes.

Another OF said they do the same thing on the road that goes up Mt. Washington.  They have the buildings held down with chains so the wind does not blow them away. (Same difference.)

Then one OF said that they do the same thing with trailers in Florida to keep them from blowing away in gales and hurricanes.

Disaster spawns construction

Weather must be a boon to the building and construction industries; just look at all the homes and business that have been destroyed recently all over the country with floods, wind, and fire.

One OG commented that he does not know how the insurance companies can keep up.

Another OF said he thinks much of this went on before but we just didn't know about it; however, today it is instant news and communication in real time, so the whole world seems like it is right in our own backyard.

This is true, some of the OFs said; one OG said he has relatives and friends in Alaska (he used to live there) and he reads the paper online from Anchorage all the time.  Others commented on reading Florida papers the same way, and some from Tucson, Ariz. do the same.

“It is amazing,” one OG declared, “how some of the papers and news stations run web cams, so it is not only possible to read what is going on, but watch it also in real time.”

Different tastes

On the napkin holders on the tables in the Blue Star Restaurant there are interesting little sayings of the Will Rogers type.  One saying referenced leftovers.

One OF’s mom had leftovers — leftovers all the time. For 30 years, they had nothing but leftovers.

“This,” the OF said, “was not funny because at his house it was true.”  The OF said, “Like the saying, they are still looking for the original meal; no one knows what it was.”

Another OF said he likes leftovers “because sometimes the food tastes better the second time around, especially spaghetti.”

“I don't like leftovers at all,” was a reply, “The meat seems tough, bread is awful, vegetables are soggy; to me, I am acting like a garbage can because that is where leftovers belong.”

“Oh no,” an OF replied. “You can't beat a meatloaf sandwich after the meatloaf has been in the fridge a week. No wonder there are so many cookbooks; there are so many different tastes it would be impossible to satisfy everybody.”

Those OFs who made it to the Blue Star Restaurant in Schoharie with everyone ordering the same breakfast — not — were: Robie Osterman, Roger Chapman, Jim Heiser, Harold Grippen, Miner Stevens, Steve Kelly, Roger Shafer, John Rossmann, Frank Pauli, Mark Traver, Karl Remmers, George Washburn, Art Frament, Bob Benac, (visitor from Texas, David Chase), Gary Porter, Mace Porter, Lou Schenck, Don Moser, Don Wood, Joe Loebier, Duane Wagenbaugh, Bob Lassome, Rich Donnelly, Mike Willsey, Harold Guest, Gerry Chartier, Elwood Vanderbilt, Ted Willsey, Jim Rissacher, and me.

Tuesday, the Sept. 17, The Old Men of the Mountain met on a beautiful morning at the Country Café on Main Street in Schoharie.   Constant reminders of the floods of two years ago in Prattsville, Middleburgh, and Schoharie are around today.  With what the people in Colorado are going through right now, it seems like the world is full of one disaster after another.

At one time, Colorado must have thought it was the end of the world with the fires around Colorado Springs, and now the people around Boulder are looking for Noah and his boat so they can get on board.

One OF who went through the flood of Irene said he would rather have a fire than a flood. The way this OF looked at it was that, after a flood people, had mountains of cleanup to do and they tried to salvage this and that. In a fire, if the house burns to the ground, it is not necessary to worry about any of that, everything is all gone — just shovel up the ashes and start over.

How easy to say, how hard to do. Then again, one OF said, “Stuff is stuff, and it is possible to get more stuff, but mementos, keepsakes, and memories are impossible to replace.”

When going into the Country Café, on your left is a black sign with white letters mounted on the wall and a line on this sign marks the height of the water as it coursed through the village — that mark is shoulder high.

Righting the Costa Concordia

Continuing on with the water topic, the OFs discussed the righting of the cruise ship Costa Concordia that hit the rocks off the coast of Italy. The raising of this ship was quite an engineering feat, and cost quite a bit of money to boot.

One OF suggested that they should have used that money and made a tourist attraction of the ship on its side with possibly a plate-glass walkway under the water like Bush Gardens has the plate-glass walkway at SeaWorld.

They could charge admission and people could see the fish swimming in and out of the ship, and they could possibly put on a water show to go with it. One OF thought that would be gross because 32 people died in that accident and he didn't think that would be appropriate. Funny how two people can look at the same thing and view it 180 degrees apart.

This talk about the Costa Concordia re-floated the conversation on the aircraft carrier, and smaller ships like frigates. How these ships were constructed in the 1950s and how they are made now. Just more of last week — same words just strung together differently.

The smell of home

There was other banter back and forth as ideas come and go, like any ad hoc get-together. Some points were dwelt on more than others; one of these points was harkening back again to the memories of when the OFs were YFs.

This was the way life was then with the smells of new-mown hay, the orchard in fall, fresh-turned soil, a brisk early fall day with the fog on the ponds and coming off the creeks, the smell of horses and the horse barn, the hay mow, and the cows in the barn. These aromas were better than any florists, greenhouse, or $75-an-ounce perfume.

“Each house,” one OF said, “Had its own smell and each barn had its own smell.”

Another OF said, “Yeah, especially when the cows first hit spring pasture.”

Well, not all the smells were pleasant. One OF mentioned how no one seemed to mind at school if someone showed up with a little barn smell or if they were running late.

As a matter of fact, many of the farm kids did run late and the smells were not only accepted, but, for the most part, in the one-room schools or the bigger schools with two rooms and two teachers, the farm smells were natural and no one (even if they noticed) paid any attention.

Even today, each house carries its own character and smell. Some people try to hide the natural aroma of their home by burning candles and using all sorts of air fresheners.

One OG then remarked, “Ever notice, in the stores, how much aisle space is used on changing the odor of the air?”

Another OF said, “I can understand that if fish is being cooked, or some other highly aromatic food is being prepared, it is good to open the doors, and windows and add a little scent.  With all the sulphur water on the Hill it’s good to add some scent to cover up the sulphur smell when the water softener goes bad or the aerator does not work.”

“That is true,” another OG replied. “Like the other OF said, not all smells are sweet and what some think are sweet, others think are rotten.”

Harvesting fruit

One OF said his apple and pear trees have so much fruit on them this year that they are bending over with the weight. That was going to be his project for Tuesday after the breakfast.  He was going to go and pick the apples and pears.

This OF is not the tallest member of the group, and the OG said he will pick only what he can reach, which is smart because we don't want any of the OFs falling off ladders and out of trees.

What this OF needs is a rambunctious billy goat and he should try and get the goat to butt the trees and shake the apples out. This OF is only going to go and make applesauce and cider anyway. Maybe the OG can con his wife into making some apple pies and freezing them.

Scents that make sense

Going back to smells — the baking, and cooling, of an apple pie in the house is a great smell. So are bacon and eggs, hash browns, and an English muffin with honey and cinnamon. These are great house smells in the morning.

They make candles with all kinds of fragrances like essence of heather, or bloom on the lilacs, and stuff like that. The OFs want to know why don't they make scents that make sense like ham and eggs, sizzling steaks, hot coffee, spaghetti sauce, pizza, or essence of hot cocoa. Now there would be candles worth buying to improve the aroma of any home.

Those OFs attending the breakfast at the great-smelling Country Café in Schoharie and all enjoying the breakfasts coming out of the kitchen (when a mechanic comes home from work, he smells like gas and oil, but, when cooks come home, they smell like bacon and eggs) were: Steve Kelly, Dave Williams, Robie Osterman, George Washburn, John Rossmann, Harold Guest, Roger Chapman, Miner Stevens, Roger Shafer, Bill Bartholomew, Frank Pauli, Jim Heiser, Glenn Patterson, Art Frament, Bob Benac, Lou Schenck, Ken Hughes, Mace Porter, Gary Porter, Don Wood, Henry Whipple, Bill Rice, Mike Willsey, Jim Rissacher, Harold Grippen, Elwood Vanderbilt, Duane Wagenbaugh, Rich Donnelly, Joe Liebier, Bill Krause, and me. 

First, I have to get the weather and date out of the way. The Old Men of the Mountain traveled to Middleburgh again to have breakfast with Loretta and Patty, at Mrs. K's Restaurant in Middleburgh, on Tuesday, Sept. 10.

Our area of the country has had a decent stretch of nice weather and some of the OFs are waiting for the other shoe to drop. Pessimists. The OFs also commented that this is the year of golden rod and teasel. The fields are bright yellow with these weeds.

The village of Schoharie had its garage-sale days on Saturday, Sept. 7, and some of the OFs were there. No matter how old the OFs get, it seems they always need something "and want to get it ‘cheap’." Why not?

How much longer have the OFs got to use whatever it is — why buy "new?"

Right now, this scribe needs four wheels for something he is building; this scribe thought he had some wheels but can't find them, or they have already been used. So the scribe checked out old lawn mowers at the sale so he could take the wheels off the mower and take the rest of the mower away to the landfill in case some one needs a small engine. Couldn't find any.

Like one OF said, "That is what garage sales are for, aren't they?"

"No,” another OF said, “I use the dump — why even spend five bucks for something someone is going to throw away anyway?"

The Navy, then and now

Some of the OFs who were in the Navy sat alongside each other and began to tell us what it was like to have been in the Navy 50 years ago. One of the OFs just had a tour of a new aircraft carrier because one of his relatives is now in the Navy and is assigned to the George H. W. Bush carrier.

This OF was also on a carrier many years ago — the USS Wasp. So these old Navy guys who are now OFs compared the two time periods of then and now.

It must be said there is a difference. You can't stop progress. 

These OFs mentioned sleeping on canvas bunks that would stretch as time went on, so occasionally they would apparently gather the canvas bunks up, and throw them over the side and drag them through the water. This little maneuver would shrink the canvas so they were tight again and the guy in the bottom bunk wouldn't have the guy in the top bunk sleeping right on his face.

The new carrier (the Bush) has fiberglass bunks with mattresses and privacy curtains, each separated with a little bulkhead that has two buttons — one for heat and one for air.

The Wasp was a little over 300 feet long; the Bush is a little over 1,000 feet long and carries about 6,000 thousand people. The Wasp had no Ladies Quarters; the Bush does. (Now, there is a big difference, the OFs said.)

The Bush has a MacDonald’s, a Wendy’s, and a Starbucks. The Wasp had tin cups and beef jerky. The Bush has two nuclear steam engines; the Wasp had a paddle wheel. 

The OF said that the Wasp had F-4U Corsairs and Grumman dive bombers; the Bush has jets. The OF said those flying off the Wasp landed with engines cut and, if they missed with the hook, the plane flew into a big net and was then pushed overboard. The Bush has the newest jets and the OF said they land full bore and, if they miss, they just juice it and come around again.

One thing the OF said a couple of times is — the Bush has no guns. The OF did not elaborate on how the carrier defends itself.  It must have something like heat-seeking rockets, or something newer.

The Wasp had all sorts of guns and gunners, but maybe with the older, slow-flying prop planes, that was sufficient.  However, with jets coming at you at 600-plus miles per hour, training a gun on this jet would be a trick. In World War I the pilots would shoot at each other with pistols.

The OFs continued with their then-and-now conversation on being in the Navy. Being in the military means a lot to some because these OFs wear caps identifying the types of ships they were on.

Flooded with memories

Somehow, the OFs still talk about the floods (from tropical storms Irene and Lee) that happened in Schoharie County in 2011 and they remember so many different stories and how it is still incomprehensible that there was so much water pouring from the heavens.

The OFs were talking the water damage done with ponds giving way, and culverts and roads being washed out at elevations from 1,200 to 2,200 feet. It seems that, when the OFs visit the restaurants in Middleburgh and Schoharie, a memory of the flood comes up each time.

Like many of the OFs say, it is hard to realize that we are sitting in a restaurant where at the time of the flood the water would have been over our heads. It still doesn't seem real.

This prompted talk of unusual high water that the OFs have encountered in their travels in the west and Midwest.  Arizona and Colorado were mentioned specifically.

One OF said he was caught in one of these "gully washers." This OF implied that the water comes just like someone turned on the tap because, even though it might not have rained where you are, it may have rained high up in the mountains, and the water comes rushing off those mountains and into the gullies.

“Some road signs,” the OF said, “tell you to abandon your car immediately and climb to higher ground when water starts building up in these dry gullies.”

Reunions of all sorts

High School reunions were another topic brought up.  Why, this scribe failed to catch, but this particular topic did come up.

Some of the classes seemed to have kids in them with a good group of genes because one OF said his class was missing some members but not many. Another OF said his class was just the opposite, that, out of the total number of kids in his class, half are gone.

College was not mentioned.  Probably because the high school reunions seem to mean more since most of the kids graduated with whatever OF they grew up with from kindergarten. College was a melting pot; friends were made but it was rare that you even knew the parents.

Military reunions, again, are different for the reason that these guys and the OFs went to hell and back with each other and there were also some had friends who never returned. That makes for a different kind of bond.

Those attending the breakfast at Mrs. K's restaurant in Middleburgh where the Class of 1952 from Schoharie had its reunion (my goodness, that was 61 years ago) were: Robie Osterman, George Washburn, Miner Stevens, Jim Heiser, Glenn Patterson, Otis Lawyer, Steve Kelly, Harold Guest, Bill Bartholomew, Dave Williams, Mark Traver, Frank Pauli, Roger Shafer, Roger Chapman, Duncan Bellinger, Art Frament, Bob Benac, Don Wood, Ken Hughes, Gary Porter, Mace Porter, Joe Liebier, Duane Wagenbaugh, Bob Lassome, Rich Donnelly, Elwood Vanderbilt, Harold Grippen, Gerry Chartier, Mike Willsey, and me.

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