It’s Tuesday morning — time to shake off the covers, sit on the edge of the bed, wiggle the toes and feet, squeeze the hands, and if everything works head out to the breakfast with the Old Men of the Mountain.

On Tuesday, Sept. 20, breakfast was at the Hilltown Café in Rensselaerville. Many of the OMOTM got an early start because there was dense fog all around. However, as the OFs drove up the hill to Rensselaerville, they drove out of the fog (just like Brigadoon) and at the Hilltown Café the sun was shining.

This was great way to start the day, only there was no young lady picking flowers along the path as in Brigadoon, but there was a young lady flipping pancakes in a small kitchen, in a neat café that would fill the bill. On a morning such as this, there is stiff competition between enjoying the scent of moist-laden flowers in the morning, as opposed to the satisfying aroma of bacon and eggs on the grill.

Tales of roots

The OFs discussed many topics on Tuesday morning; one was the origin of the horse as the seal for Schoharie County. This is an interesting tale; along with this, the OFs discussed the origin of the Plank Road turnpike, another interesting tale.

The OFs talked more history that is not really taught in the early years of formal schooling. They talked about the Isle of Shoals and how the English and French were using those waters for fishing and trading with the Indians years before the Pilgrims set foot at Plymouth Rock. This explains why the first Native American to greet the settlers strolled right into camp speaking English and knew many of the habits of the Pilgrims.

Much of what is taught in school, the OFs are finding out, is just a smattering of what really goes on; primarily it is to pique the interest of us (when we were students) in many things such as science, history, art, music, and much more.

The OFs thought that, when each individual wanted to know more of what interested him, he had some inkling of how to go about finding it, and where to go to retrieve this information. American history is one subject that anyone can get into and go deeper into areas such as naval history, political history, medicine, etc.

As mentioned in last week’s report, certain organizations cover specific interest, like the American Revolution, the Civil War, and artists’ and writers’ groups and clubs. There is much that goes on that keeps the mind active right up to being OFs. Most schools offer continuing education, and many of these classes are filled with the OFs that occupy the chairs at the breakfasts.   

Hearty harvest

The OFs reported that the produce from their gardens this year is great, especially with some plants. The corn this year seems to drip with sugar.

One OF reported his peppers are as big as soccer balls. That may be a stretch, but even close makes the peppers quite large. Some said their tomato plants have so many tomatoes that the plant is red, not red and green. The OFs mentioned that this is a little odd because it has been so dry.

Bionic men

The OFs have another of our group out for a few weeks for some bionic work — this OF is having a knee replaced. My goodness, if the OMOTM wanted to travel somewhere by plane as a group it would take them forever to get past the metal detectors.

Past relations

As part of the normal conversation of the OFs, it is typical of them to bring up their parents, aunts and uncles. These people were sucking in oxygen many, many years ago.

One OF mentioned that his uncle worked on the cog railway that brought people from New York City up the mountain to the Catskill Mountain House in Palenville. The Otis Elevating Railway started operation in August 1892, and the OF said his uncle worked for this railway for 40 years.

Birthday boy

The OFs today had the celebration of Elwood Vanderbilt’s 89th birthday, so another muffin with a candle and another birthday song was sung on a Tuesday morning.

Condolences

The OFs also have to offer their condolences to the family of Joe Loubier, one of the snowbird OFs from Woodstock, who passed away recently. Our thoughts and prayers go with both Joe, and Elwood, only on different levels.

All the OFs that have passed away are becoming more in number than the OFs wandering around down here on our dot in the universe. Those OFs amassed in heaven must be having a ball if they are continuing the Tuesday morning gatherings on rotating clouds in that same heaven. The OFs that trod this planet wonder if Matthew, Mark, Luke, or John is acting as a scribe and writing a column for the “Heavenly Gazette.”

Those OFs on this side of the sod, and able to get to the Hilltown Café in Rensselaerville were: Miner Stevens, Robie Osterman, Pete Whitbeck, George Washburn, Bill Lichliter, Harold Guest, John Rossmann, Mark Traver, Glenn Patterson, Otis Lawyer, Dave Williams, Bill Bartholomew, Bob Benac, Gary   Bates, Don Wood, Sonny Mercer, Richard Frank, Chuck Aelesio, Jack Norray, Mace Porter, Gerry Irwin, Duane Wagonbaugh, Rich Donnelly, Ted Willsey, Elwood Vanderbilt, Ray Kennedy, Gerry Chartier, Mike Willsey, Jim Rissacher, Harold Grippen, and me.

Location:

The Old Men of the Mountain are going to get used to this weather to the point where the snowbirds might not fly. On Tuesday, Sept. 13, it was the type of day where whatever you wanted to do — go do it.

One thing the OFs wanted to do was use the time to go to the breakfast at the Home Front Café in Altamont. It is good the OMOTM carpool.  At many of the establishments the OFs frequent, 30 to 35 cars just wouldn’t fit in the parking lots.

To bring the reader up to date, the 1932 Studebaker has been sold.  Once that thing hit the market it was like putting peanut butter in a rat trap for old-car enthusiasts; many buyers were attracted to the bait.

One would have to live on the Hill to hear of the place called “Skunk’s Misery,” and it is a real place. The old-timers on the Hill know where it is.

For those just riding around, maybe on the Hilltown Artisan tour, it is where (and this is no joke) Pleasant Valley Road meets Route 156. It is hard to figure out how “Skunk’s Misery,” and Pleasant Valley go together but that is where it is.

There is even a seasonal business there at Christmastime.  It’s a Christmas-tree farm where people can go and cut down their own tree for Christmas. This business actually lists its location as “Skunk’s Misery.”

The trees on this farm are getting a tad on the large side right now. They have been at this location for years; however, who knows about the coming year. Some of the OFs who have purchased their Christmas trees at “Skunks Misery” say they still smell like fresh-cut pine when the OFs get them home.

Keeping up with technology

The OFs have covered this topic many times — technology and how fast it is developing — and to the OFs the development is so fast that, by the time they get the latest item out of the store, it is already out of date, and is not the latest item.

The OFs wondered how the purchasing agents for large stores keep up. How do they handle the sales people who are trying to sell them a product that is going to be outdated the next day?

Does the Purchasing agent buy 100,000 and his stores only sell 50,000 before the new ones are out? Or, does the purchasing agent purchase 50,000 on a hunch and new ones are not made and the purchasing agent is stuck having his stores run out? What a dilemma.

As one OF put it, you ask the customer what his needs are and just stick to that — forget the rest. A couple of the OFs said they still have a few appliances that are analog, especially microwaves. Some OFs said they have microwaves still running that are 25 to 30 years old and are analog.

When the grandkids come and go to warm something up or use the microwave, they just stand there and look at it. There is no keyboard with numbers. Both waves have just a round dial, a button to open the door, and an off and on switch. That is it, and the kids can’t run it because all it has is this on and off switch, with a round dial timer that actually points to minutes.

These older microwaves are big enough to get a small turkey in as compared to most of the newer one, which are just large enough to get a couple of cups of soup in the wave to warm them up. The older waves would cook a meal.

Re-creating battles

It was found out at Tuesday morning’s breakfast that some of the OFs are Revolutionary and Civil War re-enactors. What prompted this was a flyer that the proprietor (or thinks he is) of the Home Front placed on the table for the OFs to peruse on the History Fair going on at the Old Stone Fort in Schoharie on Oct. 1 and 2.

The OFs remembered this as Old Stone Fort Days, and it was free. At the Old Stone Fort days (which were held about the same time as the History Fair is now), there were many times more re-enactors than were in the original battle. In looking at the OFs at the table, it looked like many of these OFs could have been in the original battle, at least as drummer boys if not militia.

All this discussion on the Revolution brought up the name of Timothy Murphy, a Revolutionary War marksman who was a major contributor to the victory in the battle at Bemis Heights in Saratoga. In four shots, under orders from Benedict Arnold to bring down General Simon Fraser who was rallying the British troops for an assault on the Americans, Timothy Murphy not only took care of the general, but also the chief aide-de-camp to General Burgoyne, Sir Francis Clark. This action by Murphy put the whole British assault is complete disarray.

Murphy fought in the battle of the Middlefort in Schoharie County and is buried in the “Upper Cemetery” in Middleburgh. There is a bronze “bas-relief” of him as a marker in the cemetery. The OFs talked quite a bit about the Revolutionary and Civil Wars as re-enactors, and the OFs learned more about American history of these periods than they ever did in school.

Those OFs who were re-enactors of America’s earlier battles, on her own soil and the rest of the OFs were at the Home Front Café (and what a place to discuss the re-enacting) in Altamont and all together they were: Pete Whitbeck, Robie Osterman, George Washburn, Bill Lichliter, Harold Guest, Marty Herzog, Chuck Aelesio, Richard Frank, Bob Benac, Joe Ketzer, Andy Tinning, Dave Williams, Bill Bartholomew, Rich Donnelly, Duane Wagonbaugh, Bob Lassome, Jim Rissacher, Gerry Irwin, Mace Porter, Jack Norray, Henry Whipple, Warren Willsey, Mike Willsey, Elwood Vanderbilt, Richard Vanderbilt, Daniel Mctoggard, Mark Traver, Harold Grippen, and me.

Location:

Here we are into September: The kids are back in school; the school buses are picking up the little darlings; and on Tuesday, Sept. 6, the Old Men of the Mountain met at the Chuck Wagon Diner in Princetown.

The OMOTM need a school bus of their own to gather the OFs up for their trips to the restaurants. The kids and grandkids of the OFs would be out there with their cameras on the first day the OF bus made its rounds to pick up the OFs.

They would have to get pictures of them getting on the bus with their canes, or having the little lady pushing them up the stairs onto the bus so the OF could get on. It would be so sweet; there would be tears in the eyes of the grandkids as they watched Grandpa board the bus.

An OF came in Tuesday morning with a great greeting; he placed his hand on the shoulder of an OF already at a table and said, “Good morning, who ya mad at today?”  Great.

OFs are tough

Many of the OFs not only use hearing aids, and have false teeth but they also wear glasses. Misplacing teeth and hearing aids is tough to do but misplacing glasses is rather easy, especially for the OFs. The OFs were talking about how many pairs of glasses they have had to replace because they were lost.

One OF said the trouble in losing his glasses is because he can’t see to find them once they are gone. Many of the OFs said they have dollar-store reading glasses that seem to work fine, and for only a buck they are able to have pairs all over the house.

One OF said when his prescription changes he has a couple of pairs made and put in the cheapest frames the eye doctor has. One pair he places where he knows he can find them and then, when another pair is lost in the house, he goes and gets those so he can locate the other.

Another OF said he tried using the glasses with a chain attached to them that goes around his neck. This does not work, the OF said, because, when he is working and doesn’t need the glasses, they are always in the way when he bends over, or because the glasses hang right where he holds stuff to his chest to carry. The OF said he has crushed more glasses than he has lost.

Another OF said he has his glasses made with those foldable frames and, when he takes them off, he just folds them up and put them in his pocket and for him it works great. The OF hasn’t lost a pair since.

As this scribe added, this is just one more problem that adds truth to the statement, “You gotta be tough to be old”; along with the aches and pains, the OFs can’t hear and they can’t see.

Remembering silo work

The OFs remarked that, no matter which way you travel in our area, the Schoharie Valley, the Mohawk Valley, the Hoosick River Valley, the Hudson River Valley, or even into Vermont and beyond, all you see is corn. Acres and acres of corn.

It seems that even gentlemen farmers with just 10 acres have these acres planted to corn. This is corn for ethanol or so the OFs have been told. It is not cow corn for silage (although some may be).

One OF noted that he sees these acres of corn growing all over but he doesn’t see any cows. When the OFs were farming, the garden had a few rows of sweet corn and the fields had the corn for the silo. Some OFs remember eating the cow corn especially when it was not quite ready — it was not bad. If you put enough butter and salt on it when it was a little older ,it still wasn’t bad.

Most of the OFs who farmed remember filling silo and it was a fun time. Farmers got together and they filled each other’s silo, and generally there was a large spread afterwards. These spreads were like church potluck dinners; all the ladies brought the best of what they made. How it worked out the farmers did not quite know because seldom were there any duplicates.

Actually, silo work could be very dangerous. Some farmers were known to pass out when working in the silo because of the gases formed and limited air space in the silo. Back in the day, safety guards on spinning equipment were few and far between, if any at all, and, in filling a silo, there were lots of belts flapping, flywheels whirring, PTOs (power takeoffs) spinning, choppers chopping, blowers blowing, and nary a guard.

Not a place for kids, but they were there — not toddlers — because, when the OFs were on the farm, if you were 8 or 9 years old, you were out there and had better be earning your keep.

An OF mentioned that, back on the farm, it was nothing to see a young lad who was 10 or 12 years old repairing an old (at that time it wasn’t so old) hit-and-miss one-cylinder engine. Today, as another OF mentioned, he still looks for the even younger kid to come fix his stupid phone, computer, or TV. Times they are a-changing — both the people and their paraphernalia.

Farm tales and smells

The OFs continued with their old farm tales on how things used to be done and in some cases may still be done the same way.  Raising turkeys for Thanksgiving was one of these memories.

None of the OFs said they did this anymore because it is cheaper to get a turkey all ready to go at the store than it is to try and raise them. What did they do, you may ask?

Well, for one thing, after the turkey met the chopping block, it was hung in the shed for a few days. This made the bird much easier to pluck and clean.

One OF said that his father would cover the birds with grain sacks to keep the flies off them.  However, dunking the turkey or even chickens in hot water to start the plucking was the worst smell on the farm.

Much of farm life had its own particular aroma, most of which is not bad. Today they have added one that is a winner.  An OF said he can’t stand the smell of the new way of seasoning manure before it is spread on the fields — that is a rank odor, the OF opined.

One OF spoke up, “Do you guys have to bring all that up now?  We are eating here ya know.”

To which another OF added, “Suck it up.  I once ate my lunch at the bottom of the septic tank we were cleaning because I didn’t want to climb out and get all cleaned up to go eat and then have to climb back down to finish the job.”  Ugh!

This scribe would like to say that last part was made up, but the scribe knows for a fact it wasn’t.

Those OFs who were able to live through farming in the early years and make it to the Chuck Wagon Diner in Princetown, where the smell of breakfast is not bad at all, and the OFs just sit there and get waited on, were: Miner Stevens, Roger Chapman, Bill Lichliter, Henry Witt, Robie Osterman, George Washburn, Chuck Aelesio, Richard Frank, John Rossmann, Art Frament, Bob Benac, Jack Benac, Joe Ketzer, Roger Shafer, Low Schenck, Jack Norray (who was serenaded and received a muffin with a candle for making it to 82 today), Mace Porter, Wayne Gaul, Andy Tinning, Bob Lassome, Duane Wagonbaugh, Rich Donnelly, Don Chase, Gary Bates, Jim Rissacher, Marty Herzog, Pastor Jay Francis, Richard Vanderbilt, Elwood Vanderbilt, Jess Vadney, Bob Benninger, Bob Fink, Harold Grippen, and me.

Location:

On Tuesday, Aug. 30, with the summer of 2016 is almost gone, the Old Men of the Mountain met at the Duanesburg Diner in Duanesburg. It was a beautiful beginning of a rare day in the Northeast, slightly crisp, and clear.

The OFs discussed the five-year anniversary of the devastation to our area and others by Tropical Storm Irene. The OFs still cannot understand what is happening in Schoharie with the slow-poke construction going on around the county buildings. One OF said he hopes this isn’t a cost-plus job.

Studebaker needs a new home

What to do with an old car, a really old car? One OF has in his barn a 1932 four-door Studebaker Dictator. This OF has no intention of restoring it and is looking to have this rare vehicle find a new home.

This is a good decision because if he isn’t going to do anything with it, why should he have such a piece of history sit in his barn and rust away? The OF already has a 50-year old Allis-Chalmers which once was all seized up and is now freed up and running.

The OFs are antiques themselves; maybe someone should take the OFs under their wing, free them up, and get them running. Not that the OFs are not running, but many could be running a lot better.

Downsizing

The trend now is downsizing. Some of the OFs are finally taking that to heart.  At one time, the OFs hauled around abandoned objects that have been left in their fields and have even had trees growing through them.

They brought these relics home and had the hard-earned excitement of getting some of these beasts belching smoke again. This is better than just letting these pieces of equipment sit in the field and rot, or Mother Nature turn them to rust. However, now comes the problem of downsizing

After the OF’s head is resting on the pillow in the casket, or his ashes are blowing away in the wind, what happens to all these collections? When is the time to get the family together and ask, “What do you want, or this is yours?”

There is a big “if” that could pop up, and, according to one OF, has, and that is the statement, “I don’t want any of this old crap.”

Ho-boy now what?

The old adage, “One man’s treasure is another man’s trash” is more than a statement, it is a truism.  Many of the OFs are at the age where this is a problem to be considered.

One OF inquired, “Are museums just an upgrade of what many OFs have in their barns?” That is a good question.

Exploring the mysteries of working together

The OFs discussed a social problem that is universal.  This problem is why some people can work with other people, and the other people cannot work with people. Then there is the one guy who can’t work with anybody.

The OFs did not think it odd that one person can work with another person doing the same job, and can’t with another. They thought it was personality clashes and not that each one was doing a bad job, or that one thought the other was lazy and not pulling his weight.

The OFs could not quite understand it, when one OF commented that he could not work with Joe Blow, while other OFs thought Joe Blow was a great guy to work with. One OF thought it had nothing to do about work; it was that mysterious phenomenon called karma.

A quick Google check tells us that one definition of  karma is we receive what we give. That means all our actions reflect back upon us, either in this world or in the subsequent ones.

For one reason or another, sometimes the karma of two people doesn’t connect.

An OF said, “Don’t give me that hocus-pocus karma stuff; I just can’t work with him. We can go out and get drunk together, but work with him — no way.”

The same OF said that he does everything opposite. For instance, he said, “If I go to flip a piece of plywood to the left, he starts going to the right.” The other OF insisted it was the karma not connecting.

The first OF responded, “Then why is it that with most other people when (without saying anything) we both start flipping the same way, no stress, no fighting each other, a piece of cake — the plywood is flipped. However, if I ask Joe Blow to hand me a hammer, he hands me a nail, and vice-versa; for some reason, if he asks for a hammer, I will hand him a nail. No one is yanking anybody’s chain — I just can’t work with Joe Blow.”

One other OF said, “That is what makes a team — everybody automatically working together and in sync with each other. A super player can come from someplace else and be better than anyone else on the team but, if he doesn’t fit in, and his karma doesn’t match, instead of making the team better,it becomes worse because it is not working as a unit.”

The other OF bristled, “It is not ‘karma.’  It’s just that the other guys would prefer playing with the guy he replaced, so the new guy dances around the outside and is not included.”

This discussion could go on forever but this scribe hopes you get the idea of what the OFs were talking about, and this debate finally (thank goodness) drifted to something else.

Cocky cocks

That something else was the following question: Can hens keep a rooster from becoming mean?  The answer seemed to be no.

Some of the OFs said they were chased out of the henhouse by a mean rooster. Most reported that they were kids at the time and were there to gather the eggs.

These roosters were surrounded by hens, so having hens around didn’t help. The OFs reported that, as adults, if the rooster behaved like that, they would catch that bird and ring his bloody neck.

The OFs that made it all the way to the Duanesburg Diner, in Duanesburg, and not on tractors that were 50 years old, but many in flashy new cars were: Robie Osterman, George Washburn, Bill Lichliter, Roger Chapman, Marty Herzog, Chuck Aelesio, Richard Frank, Dave Williams, Bill Bartholomew, Roger Shafer, Duncan Bellinger, Joe Bender, Otis Lawyer, Jim Heiser, Mark Traver, Glenn Patterson, Harold Guest, John Rossmann, Art Frament, Herb Sawotka, Pete Whitbeck, Mace Porter, Wayne Gaul, Lou Schenck, Jack Norray, Don Chase, Bob Fink, Bob Benninger, Ted Willsey, Bob Lassome, Duane Wagonbaugh, Rich Donnelly, Pastor Jay Francis, and me.

Location:

On Aug. 23, the Old Men of the Mountain met at the Your Way Café in Schoharie. Many of the restaurants, diners, and cafés the Old Men of the Mountain have on their rotational clock are places (when you are traveling) you might have a tendency to drive right by. They are local hangouts, but the meals are good.

Many travelers (the OFs included) are in this group of driving on by. But, and this is a big but, if these small out-of-the-way places have a good number of cars around them, it is a good bet the restaurant  has excellent diner food at reasonable prices.

One OF remembered a trip to the Civil War battlefield at Gettysburg, Pennsylvania where the OF said he and his wife took advantage of arriving early and signing up for a park ranger to drive their car around the site.

At that time, the charge was not very expensive and the ranger was with the OF for the whole morning. The OF asked the ranger where there was a good place to eat, and the ranger told him of a little place in town.

This place was within walking distance of the parking lot but not the direction the tour buses and tourists went.  In fact, it was just about 180 degrees the other way out of town. The OF said when they got there it was full of locals, and not a tourist in sight.

It was not fancy, the food was great, and it was inexpensive, just like the OMOTM’s roundtable of eating establishments.  The Your Way Café is just one of those along with all the others. (This is not a paid advertisement — just the facts ma’am).

Flying pests

Are the Canada geese gathering early to go downstate? The OFs have noticed the geese cueing up. The OFs think these birds are getting so people-friendly they are becoming about as much of a nuisance as the droppings these feathered manure spreaders leave behind on their visits.

One OF thought they are about as dumb as mourning doves; at his place it becomes necessary to shoo them out of the way before he can open the car door. They also parade up the OF’s driveway at a goose’s pace and don’t move right or left. These flying pests must think the honking of the OF’s horn is a mating call.

One OF suggested shooting a couple of these birds and putting them in the freezer for Thanksgiving. This OF also suggested he could pass them off as turkey when the holiday rolls around because no one would know the difference, just like making all your coffee decaffeinated and giving it to people who drink regular — most don’t know the difference anyway.

The question still remains: Are the geese cueing up early, and may this be an indicator to the coming winter? Only time will tell.

Scottish Games

This Labor Day weekend, the Scottish Games will be held at the Altamont fairgrounds. The OFs were talking about this because one of our members is really involved with this event.

One OF mentioned one time taking a couple of friends to the games on Saturday (the games are a weekend event) and the OF, his wife, and the couple had a great time.  On Sunday, this couple decided to go back to the games.

Lo and behold, one came back (the macho one) with a complete outfit (starting with the kilt) right down to the scabbard and knife in the sock. Some sutler (camp vendor) was glad to see this couple stop at his fly.

Senior Day at the Altamont Fair

Discussions about experiences at the fair continued from last week’s talk of experiences at the fair. What could be gleaned from all this talk about the fair has nothing to do with the fair but the truth is that the OFs are getting old.

The discussion was about how long it took the OFs to get around the fair, and the people they met sitting on the benches. One good reason for this is that many of the OFs went on Senior Day, so what did they expect to see other than more seniors wandering around the fair looking at stuff and commenting, “Oh, we had this (or that) when I was young.”

Some even said that some of the items came after they were young; they were using older items than those on display when they were younger.

Some OFs were heard to say, “Look Mildred, there we are,” and the retort, “Look, you old goat, that’s us” as they watched other older couples walk by with their canes, arm in arm, helping each other tour the grounds. The OFs are wondering if the older generation is getting more numerous, or is it that the OFs hang out with other OFs so everybody seems old?

As mentioned, this was Senior Day and, if the OFs were to go on a Friday night, they might be out of place. The OFs would see all the young people showing off their skimpy clothes with their belly buttons hanging out and many of these buttons should never see the light of day.

“That could be why they are out at night,” one OF added.

Maybe the OFs should start dressing like that — this would then scare the living daylights out of the younger generation and in defense they would start covering up. The OFs can hear it now: “Grandma, you can’t dress like that and go out!”

The OFs can hear the reply, “Hey kid, it is not illegal; Grandma can strut her stuff too, you know.”

The guys are just as bad, with ratty-looking beards on guys who, if they lived to be 100, could never grow a beard. They sport unwashed hair, and butt cracks are on display.

So here comes Grandpa at the fair, with at least a beard that is a beard, unwashed hair, teeth out, and hairy butt crack on display. The OFs bet that, if there were parades of the kids’ parents, and grandparents in the attire some of the kids wear, there would soon be an end to the strange get-ups that can only appeal to those who are dressed like them.

This scribe didn’t even mention the tats that will soon be nothing more than black blobs. The fair is a lot of fun sometimes, just for sitting on a bench and watching humanity pass by. Ah yes, and the OFs are part of it.

Proprietary products

The OFs elevated their topic of discussion to proprietary products. Manufacturers that make a product many other manufacturers make will construct this merchandise so that the expendable parts fit only their machine, or product.

The OFs discussed lawn mowers in particular. Most all rotary mowers use blades; the way blades are attached to the machines are all different.

Some have a hole; some have a diamond; some have a helix; some have a large hole with two smaller holes, or even three smaller holes; some are raised in the center — it goes on and on. The OFs think there should be one type of blade that is universal to all mowers.

There is so much more that this can apply to. The OFs were thinking of chainsaws and proprietary chainsaw blades. So much of what many products use are expendable and have no real function in how these creations work, the OFs are wondering why this can’t be done.

Look what happened to Kodak, Polaroid, Beta, and many other companies because they were bull-headed and insisted that their expendable products would only work on their equipment. They then constructed their own goods so other manufacturers of expendable equipment would not work on their equipment.

One OF who works on lawn mowers brought up not only blades, but drive wheels on self-propelled lawn mowers (for the most part) being different. “They all do the same thing,” this OF said, “One does not give better performance than the other — just like blades.”

A second OF said this can carry over into so many other products like vacuum cleaners, coffee makers, mixers, and many household products, and even tools.

All aboard

The discussion changed to boats as one OF told of going to a regatta in the Thousand Islands. The OF reported taking a ride in a seven-passenger Hacker boat — exactly what model he did not say. (This scribe was sent to the Internet, and searched Google images for Hacker boats.  Wow! What boats!)

The OF reported that, on the trip, they came upon a large tanker plying the river and the ship was generating a huge wake. Judging by how high the OF held his hands from the floor, the other OFs estimated the wake was four to five feet, and the OF reporting the story said the waves from the wake were close together.

He noticed that the pilot of the boat made no attempt to maneuver away from the wake; instead, he headed right into it. close to the ship itself. The OF also said the pilot did not gun the engine to raise the bow of the Hacker so he hit the first wave dead on.

The OF said the second wave washed over the boat and soaked everybody, plus this wave placed a couple of inches of water into the boat. The OF said he asked why this pilot made no maneuvers to avoid the wake, or why he did not gun the engine to raise the bow. The pilot answered only one of these questions and said gunning the engine on a Hacker does not raise the bow.

The OFs were wondering how old this skipper was and if that tactic was not maybe just a tad on the deliberate side. The OFs hoped this OF did not tip the pilot.

Now for the alibi report and this scribe’s wife suggested that it should be reported everyone was here but it’s easier to look it up and report who was not here. This scribe thought that would not sit well with law enforcement. All the OFs who got up and made it to the Your Way Café on a beautiful day were: Miner Stevens (who opened the place up), Roger Chapman, Henry Witt, Bill Bartholomew, Dave Williams, Bill Lichliter, Robie Osterman, George Washburn, Harold Guest, John Rossmann, Pete Whitbeck, Chuck Aelesio, Richard Frank, Glenn Patterson, Mark Traver, Tanner Spohn (Mark’s grandson), Roger Shafer, Gerry Irwin, Mace Porter, Wayne Gaul, Lou Schenck, Jack Norray, Jim Rissacher, Don Wood, Sonny Mercer, Duncan Bellinger, Bob Benninger, Bob Fink, Herb Sawotka, Art Frament, Gary Bates, Bob Benac, Rich Donnelly, Bob Lassome, Ted Willsey, Duane Wagonbaugh, Mike Willsey, Gerry Willsey, Gerry Chartier, Harold Grippen, and me.

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