On a very damp, raw day for April 7, the Old Men of the Mountain headed up the mountain to the Hilltown Café, in Rensselaerville to meet and eat.

Much of the chat this morning was quite repetitive of chats that have gone on before, i.e., worms; honey; honeybees, where is spring (with the desire for that spring enthusiasm); and finally, a few new — not really new but different — takes on some old topics. 

One OF who used to do his own maple syrup said he hasn’t made any syrup in the last few years, and was telling about all the work involved in processing the sap into syrup. One reason for his not processing the syrup is because at one time he boiled the sap evaporator too long, and somehow the OF scorched the evaporator.

The OF then explained that he took the evaporator to George Gobel to have it repaired. The other OFs had a quizzical look on their faces as he was telling this story because they equated the name George Gobel with George Gobel, the well-known comedian, and not the George Gobel who lives in the Hilltowns and has a welding shop.

For the under-50 crowd, George Gobel was a very funny comedian who had his own show on T.V. George Gobel had a “crew cut” or “flattop” hairstyle, which stemmed from being a pilot in World War II.

“Well, I’ll be a dirty bird” was a George Gobel euphemism that was a very popular catchphrase in the 1950s and ’60s.

WhytheJapanesedidn’tconquerOklahoma.wmv is a very funny clip with George Gobel, Johnny Carson, Dean Martin, and Bob Hope. In this clip, keep your eye on Dean Martin.

George Gobel died in 1991 after undergoing heart surgery.

Anyway, getting back to the OF and his syrup, the OF said that Gobel Welding repaired his evaporator to a like-new condition. This OF said he is thinking about making syrup again but it will be a lot of work digging all this equipment out from where he stashed it a few years ago.

To the OFs now, that is the key (it will be a lot of work).  If it involves a lot of work, the OFs now back off.

Winter water woes

Because this winter, while not the worst we’ve seen, is right up there with one of the worst, the OFs were talking about water problems. Not only have some of the OFs had water problems but we hear stories about a lot of others who have been in the same predicament.

Some water problems were not of the winter’s doing but just parts of their water systems decided to wear out and repairing them now became a winter situation. One OF who lives in the village and uses village water had the snowplow break the valve off at the line going into his home from the main line.

So the OF is without water, and the Department of Public Works decided to move that valve further back so the plow and valve would not come together again. Now the OF’s lawn is all torn up.

Another OF had to change a water pump that went bad, and the pump-repair person was standing in snow up to his knees for hours while doing the job, but at least the well was away from the house. Read on.

Another OF told of a friend who drilled his well and then built the house around it, concluding that this was a smart idea because the well would never freeze. That is true, but pumps do go bad from things other than freezing, and this one did.

The OF said, in order to pull the pump from the deep well, they had to cut holes in the floors and through the ceiling to facilitate the process.

Pranks of old

From last week we talked about pranks we pulled as YFs and these are pranks of old. Continuing this conversation, we noted the occurrences took place more than 50 or 65 years ago.

This particular prank is a classic and it was not revealed for over 50 years because it was done by one person who never mentioned it or told a soul until a class reunion some 50 years in the making. This prank the whole school knew about, and the whole community of Schoharie did also when it happened.

The OF in question just happens to be a classmate of an OF who eats breakfast with the rest of our distinguished group of OFs. In order to perfect this prank, the OF in question (when he was a YF) disguised his voice, which was not hard for him to do since he had lost the high-pitched voice of adolescence when he was in third grade.

This YF called the Schoharie Stone Quarry, which was directly behind the school, and ordered in the name of the school maintenance superintendent, two loads of stone. The YF directed the quarry where to dump the stone, giving the reason that the school was going to repair the drive and it required the delivery first thing in the morning. This way the school could have the job done by the end of the day.

The quarry did as directed; not knowing that, by dumping the stone where they were told to dump it, the stone would block all the school busses from getting out. And it did. In panic mode, school had to be canceled, and parents notified. 

In this case, no damage was done, no one hurt, just a bunch of ticked-off school officials, and the stone was used to repair the bus area, and the test that the YF was trying to get out of was given the next day. So there, the school won, and the YF had only one day’s reprieve.


Once again, The Old Men of the Mountain must offer condolences to family and friends of another member who has passed away. Ted Pelkey entered into the final, resting peace we all must venture into some day; there is no escaping it.

Teddy was 96 years old and he often said he had been on this planet long enough.

The OFs who hauled their creaky frames up the mountain to the Hilltown Café in Rensselaerville for their candlelight breakfast with enjoyable repartee were: Frank Pauli, Harold Guest, John Rossmann, Robie Osterman, Karl Remmers, Miner Stevens, Dave Williams, Bob Snyder, Jack Norray, Lou Schenk, Mace Porter, Otis Lawyer, Glenn Patterson, Chuck Aleseio, Mark Traver, Jim Heiser, Elwood Vanderbilt, Gil Zabel, Ted Willsey and his daughter Sally, Bill Krause, and me.


The Old Men of the Mountain met at the Home Front Café in Altamont on the last day of March 2015 and early in the morning it was not too pleasant. The air was cold and the wind was blowing, and the OFs queried, “So what else is new?” At least the Home Front was warm, and had the wake-up smell of breakfast in the air.

Quite often, it is noted how the OFs arrive at the restaurant of the day and what type of transportation they’re using. Tuesday morning, one of the “gang” (as a couple OFs have noted the OMOTM have been called by some of their younger friends) showed up with his passengers in a new Nissan Leaf — a zero-emission car. That alone takes years off being an OMOTM just by the jump into today’s technology.

This vehicle is fully electric, can be charged at home overnight (we don’t know how much that costs in electricity) and it is ready to go the next day provided it is just running around town. At least there are no gas or oil changes to contend with.

There is one question though: How much of the battery will it take to operate the heater and air conditioner?  Those two things are energy sucker-uppers.

 The body ages faster than the mind

The OFs began discussing how old they are.  This topic does not come up often; it is not something the OFs think about much — only when they get up in the morning and have to get the body cranked up.

After that, it is a personal thing and, once the body gets going, age by the numbers is basically gone, and age by the mind takes over. The age on getting up says, “Boy, my 80-year-old body creaks like an old pirate ship in a stiff breeze.”

Once going ,the mind thinks the OF is a 50-year-old. That can get many OFs into trouble because that sack of grain the OFs used to lift (still 100 pounds) now weighs a ton to the OFs of 80 years.  Eighty vs. 50 takes over now.

Listening to the OFs say their ages Tuesday morning around one end of the table lets all the OFs know why we are the OMOTM number-wise, but 50 mind-wise.

The age discussion worked its way into retirement and retirement plans. When the OFs were young, retiring, and retirement plans were not even thought of. Many worked on the farm; at that time, the job security was perpetual, from father to son or daughter, and so on.

Somewhere along the line, that changed. The OFs thought it was a byproduct of World War II. A lot of the people of the era before World War II are having tough times now because they are older and body parts are wearing out.

The cost of keeping these people wired together is going out of sight. Many OFs have been retired 20 or more years, and have really learned to manage their money because there is not much money coming in now.

Cemeteries from on high

The OFs went from age, to retirement, to cemeteries. Now that is a progression that is fitting for OMOTM.

One OF mentioned this is the time of year to look for old cemeteries from a low, slow-flying plane like a Piper J3, or some home-built aircraft.  From the plane — and some of the OFs have done this — the OF is able to see stone-wall fences meandering through the woods to nowhere. 

You might even see the stone fences and old cemeteries by driving down the highway now, because it is possible to look deep into the woods where there are no leaves on the underbrush.

These old family burial plots contain many of the names of the people of the Hilltowns and may fill in the blanks of much of the history of the area. These same cemeteries (location and history) could also explain the reason for some of the stone-wall fences, and why they are where they are.

It was also mentioned that some old cemeteries are abandoned because the family has died out, or those connected with the cemetery have left and moved away.  Therefore, it is the responsibility of the town to maintain these plots.

But they can’t do that if they don’t know where these places are. An OF was wondering if it would be a cool project to locate, catalogue, and map as many of these old burial grounds as could be found.

That also may facilitate finding the reasons for all the ghost stories of the hills, maybe even spot a few ghosts.  They are around, you know.

“The old barn,” writes John R. Williams who painted this picture, “is akin to many older people. They’re like old barns out in the field left alone to collapse, taking all their knowledge with them.”


 Lonely old barns

Without realizing what is going on with the barn in New Scotland by the golf club, the OFs talked about the demise of so many older barns in the hills. The farms are gone, and the barns sit so lonely and no one pays any attention to them.

There is no preventative maintenance and no immediate damage repair — the barns take the brunt of it. Finally, the poor things just give up and collapse.

The reason the OFs can relate to these old structures, with all their history, is because the old barn is akin to many older people.  They’re like old barns out in the field left alone to collapse, taking all their knowledge with them.

The OFs did discuss how individuals are restoring a few of the structures. The old post-and-beam barns held together with wooden pegs have been battling the elements for centuries and one OF said many are still as square as when they were built.

One OF thought that these abandoned buildings may still be teeming with life. There are birds finding refuge in their rafters; squirrels, chipmunks, and field mice roaming freely in their stone foundations; and snakes might be raising their young under the old decaying floor boards.

This painting by John R. Williams depicts Jacob VanArnum, a Revolutionary War captain, by his family’s cemetery in Guilderland, southeast of Altamont.  The old Dutch barn still stands on Brandle Road as does the cemetery.


Even after collapsing, the old barn will still offer shelter to all these field critters. One OF said: Don’t forget all the bugs and beetles that will feed off the barn’s decaying structure, then the skunks come and coons, and that decaying barn becomes a world unto its own.

An OF concluded with it being a good thing we at the breakfast table are old barns but we sure are being well-maintained and nourished — look at some of the breakfasts these OFs are packing away.

Those OFs who made it to the Home Front Café in Altamont, and who may not still be square, but who have not fallen down yet, were: Karl Remmers, Dick Ogsbury, Henry Witt, Roger Chapman, George Washburn, Robie Osterman, Bill Lichliter, John Rossmann, Harold Guest, Mark Traver, Glenn Patterson, Chuck Aleseio, Frank Pauli, Lou Schenck, Bill Krause, Bob Benninger, Bob Fink, Elwood Vanderbilt, Harold Grippen, Ted Willsey (2), Jim Rissacher (2), and me.


The Old Men of the Mountain gather on Tuesday every week at a roundtable series of restaurants. The OFs refer to this as spreading the wealth.

These restaurants are spaced throughout the area like a clock and, as the OFs rotate through the clock, they are able to tell where the next breakfast will be if they miss one or even two. This Tuesday, which was March 24, the OFs gathered at the Chuck Wagon Diner in Princetown.

Any OF that missed the breakfast this past Tuesday will know where the next one is by this constant rotation. Why is this important? The reason is the OFs can’t remember a thing so it is necessary to keep it simple. Read on.

Two OFs planned a trip off the Hill to go to the doctor. The price of gas has gone down but the OFs remember when gas was 29 cents a gallon; now $2.55 a gallon still seems excessive to the OFs so this prompts them to accomplish as much as they can into one trip.

The doctor’s appointment was going to be coupled with grocery shopping, getting the car washed, and a couple of other errands the OF could not remember. However, the main reason for the trip was to go to the doctor, and, when the OFs arrived at the doctor’s office, they found they were there at the right time but the wrong day.

Another OF who has to make real plans to go anywhere (because he requires transportation) also was planning trips around a doctor’s appointment, only this OF not only had things to do but also had time constraints thrown in. This OF thought (and the key word here is thought) that his appointment was for his annual physical, with a prostate check included for good measure.

This OF was all prepped mentally for his appointment for the “oil and filter change” (as the one doing the tattling put it) only to find out that it was the wrong kind of physical he was expecting and the wrong doctor. He was supposed to be at the eye doctor for a checkup with the retina specialist, and again, as the tattler told it, the wrong area of the body was going to be poked.

We OFs have to be saved from ourselves — in many cases, it is a good thing there are people watching over us.

 Remembering Iwo Jima

We, as a nation, have just celebrated the 75th anniversary battle of Iwo Jima during World War II. That is the battle where the iconic photograph was taken of the Marines raising the flag, which is now also a very famous statue.

The OFs have a member who was on that island immediately after the initial attack; there were still pockets of resistance from the enemy. This OF was a bulldozer operator and does not talk about the war much.

This scribe has known this OF for a long time. The OF is a licensed plumber and electrician and this scribe has used his services on a number of occasions and only knew he was in the service. That was it.

At the breakfast Tuesday morning, there was another OF who had to tattle. All one of the OFs mentioned to this scribe was, “You know the OF that was the licensed electrician and plumber was in the battle of Iwo Jima” and that was all the OF said.

That was enough to make this scribe ask the OF that was in the battle about any recollections he might have.  This OF that was asked said he was there about a month and what he still remembers is the smell, and the smell was of dead bodies because part of his job was to dig trenches where all the dead bodies were placed and then he had to cover them up.

Although not spoken out loud, but implied, it was more or less a joint burial of American and Japanese. Warriors of two nations joined in a final everlasting peace, resting side by side in a communal hole in the ground. That kind of experience is something not many of us would want to remember or talk about either.

Pulling pranks

The pranks the OFs pulled in their early days would today have us in prison, or at least fined. One OF told how, in his one-room school, they caught a skunk and put it in the schoolhouse, and the skunk, in panic, sprayed the whole place.

This OF said it was days before they could get back into that schoolhouse. This OF did not relate if the parents got together and had school held at one of their homes. Apparently not, because the OF would have mentioned it.

Another OF told of how they tied a chicken to the steering wheel of a car and two of the young OFs laid down on the front seat and one operated the clutch, brake, and gas while the other leaned across him and steered.

Two other young OFs sat in the back seat and told the other two where to go. This setup gave the appearance that the chicken was driving the car. They drove the car through the village of Gallupville, and then drove up to West Berne, and Berne, where the drivers would again duck down so it would look like the chicken was driving the car.

If this had any impact or not, the young OFs never knew. No one ever said, “Hey, did you see the chicken driving the car through Gallupville yesterday,” or something to that effect, but it was fun to tell the story in school the next day.

Once this olive was out of the jar, many more stories along these lines were told. This scribe will save those for a later date, when the scribe’s notes from a breakfast are boring, but that is rare with these OFs.

Those OFs who made it to the Chuck Wagon and getting a little too old to pull many pranks (and nowadays some of the OFs’ tickers could not even handle a good prank) were: Karl Remmers, Dick Ogsbury, Roger Chapman, Robie Osterman, George Washburn, Bill Lichliter, Miner Stevens, John Rossmann, Frank Pauli, Chuck Aleseio, Otis Lawyer, Glenn Patterson, Jim Rissacher, Jack Norray, Lou Schenck, Harold Guest, Warren Willsey, Ted Willsey, Elwood Vanderbilt, Harold Grippen, Mike Willsey, Gerry Chartier, and me.


On March 17, St. Patrick’s Day, the Old Men of the Mountain met at the Duanesburg Diner; the waitresses were dressed in green, and the room the OFs gather in was festooned with green shamrocks and other St. Patty’s Day decorations.

A few of the OFs wore green; one even had a bright green necklace around his neck, similar to the beads thrown in New Orleans and other places that have Mardi Gras festivities before Ash Wednesday.

A routine question asked of the OFs by many other OFs is, “What are your plans for the day? Do you have anything to do?” The answers are generally vague, or met with a blank stare, as “Do? Do what?” Many of the OFs offer smart remarks like, “Take a nap,” which is true in most cases.

A common reply is list what doctors the OF or his wife have on the schedule for this day or week. Some really have something planned, places to go, and people to see.

An OF said he has to check the to-do list that is posted on the refrigerator. This OF thinks that quite often there are so many chores listed that the neighbors sneak in and add to the list because the neighbors know the OF is retired and will be home with “nothing to do.”

The OF says the handwriting of the weird chores are poor attempts at forgery. These notes say things like, “Take care of Blanche’s cats and let them out.” That message is one that has the worst attempts of his wife’s writing.

Yeah, we get those types of jobs on our to-do list but they are funneled through the old lady so the messages come from a bonafide source. One OF said it isn’t possible to put a to-do list on his refrigerator because, with all the pictures of relatives and grandkids, there isn’t any room.

The OF said that once he put a picture of a nude pinup on the refrigerator among all the other relatives, kids and grandkids and it wasn’t noticed at all. The OF said, after a year, he took it down and threw it away.

Gardeners get ready

The OFs who have gardens are talking about getting ready for the planting season and some have all ready started their plants. These are the OFs who are really into gardening and start plants likes peppers, tomatoes, and even some flowers from seed.

One OF mentioned he has purchased a worm composting system. According to this OF, this is a self-perpetuating system because the worms are prolific and multiply quickly.  One thousand worms become 2,000 worms in a hurry.

This OF says they will compost anything. When one tray of compost becomes ready, it is time to start another tray and the worms will turn anything that is compostable into dirt, even newspaper, and cardboard.

Comparing prices

Occasionally the OFs start comparing prices they pay for similar items.  This morning the discussion was on cable TV, specifically, Time Warner.

The outcome was that not one OF was paying the same for cable that the other was. Some were close but no cigar.  It seemed to be the variety of packages offered and what each OF has.

The same inconsistency was observed with car insurance. Some of the OFs shop for car insurance all the time, while others stick with an agent they know. This is where there are large differences.

The OFs did not converse about their coverage and their deductibles. Neither did they get into the ages of the vehicles involved. Some of their vehicles may be clunkers and others may be top-of-the-line vehicles.

One day, this scribe thinks the OFs should have an insurance party where the OFs can bring in information from their policies and compare apples to apples.

This also may be a plan of attack for the cable bills.  We should gather all our bills, check and see what is what and show up en mass at the Time Warner kiosks in Colonie Center and sign in as one organization, “The Old Men of the Mountain.”

When the name is called, all the OFs there go to the representative as a group, with our canes, one good eye, limps, and hearing aids that don’t work. This might scare the be-jeepers out of the clerk. The OFs would probably hear “Manager” in a panic tone emanate from the clerk feeling he or she was being swarmed by the undead.

Living in the Age of Google

The OFs who are on computers (and that is many more than people think, many OFs also have smartphones, and there is a good group of OFs who own the latest tech gadgets) play with Google maps. The OFs think it is fun to google friends and relatives, and places in the news with Google maps.

One OF said, while you guys are googling other people and places, they in turn are googling you. One OF added that the places depicted on Google are not very current. This OF said that he has googled his place and the shot used is years old.

He said that plane could fly over when his yard was a mess; however, it could look like the gardens at the Governor’s house in Williamsburg now. The information is definitely not real time.

With all this new technology going on with drones, cameras, with lenses that can take a picture of a match being lit on the moon, and computer maps, the world is nothing but one great big peep show. Where an OF once could take his wrinkled old body out in the backyard and run around naked, he is now going to show up on somebody’s computer in Stockholm, Sweden.


 The OMOTM would like to offer their condolences to Harold Grippen and family on the loss of their son and brother.

The OFs who showed up at the Duanesburg Diner in Duanesburg, and fully clothed (thank goodness ) were: Miner Stevens, Roger Chapman, Karl Remmers, Dick Ogsbury, Robie Osterman, George Washburn, Ken Weaver, Lou Schenck, Jack Norray, Mace Porter, Chuck Aleseio, Glenn Patterson, Mark Traver, Otis Lawyer, John Rossmann, Harold Guest, Frank Pauli, Bob Benninger, Bob Fink, Mike Willsey, Gerry Chartier, Harold Grippen, and me.


On March 10, the Old Men of the Mountain met at the Country Café in Schoharie. Finally some decent weather, but the OFs that make the breakfast — make the breakfast.  Not many will come out of the woodwork just because it is nice out; they will come anyway.

The places that the OFs frequent are always staffed, the cooks are there, the waitresses are there, the restaurants are open and warm — all this regardless of the weather. Dedicated people own and operate these establishments (they have to be) because the OFs start banging on the doors at 7 a.m., canes in hand and hungry.

The local area has seen its share of fires during this miserable winter.  Each time winter stories come up, the OFs say this: “We have seen bad winters before but for some reason this one is a doozy.”

The latest go-round was the fire on Jay Street in Schenectady, then the one in the town of Bethlehem at the industrial park — two biggies on the same night.  Then there was a fire in Reidsville about the same time. The OFs are wondering where the next one is going to pop up.

Some of the OFs say they are double checking their woodstoves, wood piles, and furnaces, and many are unplugging their electric appliances. The OFs are just being cautious, but not paranoid. One OF mentioned the strain this must put on organizations that assist people in these types of personal tragedies.

Another OF mentioned how neighbors help out when something like this happens. The OF said it is not only small communities like the Hilltowns, but the individual neighborhoods of larger cities possesses the helpful spirit for those in need.

One OF noted that neighborhoods are similar to a collection of small towns bunched together to form a city, so he could see why this impulse to help those you know that are in trouble happens. It doesn’t make any difference if the one in trouble is on a farm in the Hilltowns, or in the middle of Manhattan, or Tokyo, or Sao Palo.

Pinochle pals

The OFs started talking about playing cards, especially pinochle. Some of the OFs travel to visit another OF who is having serious physical therapy and does not have the use of his legs, so the OFs visit and play pinochle with him.

Some of the OFs were saying that the OF who can’t walk partners up with a relative and they think these two have secret signals because the remaining OFs have yet to win a game. These OFs said they came close to winning the last time but didn’t make it.

Pinochle was a card came popular in the military, and at the work place; hands are fast and challenging. At lunchtime, it was possible to get many hands in before it was time to go back to work.

The OFs said that the pinochle game was a form of release on the troop ships going over to the front. Most of the soldiers spent their time on “deck” to get away from the smell of the “hold.” That sentiment was echoed by other OFs in the same boat.

One OF said they came around every morning and swabbed the sleeping areas, but it still smelled like “puke.” Another OF said he spent only one night in the hold and along with almost everyone else he slept on deck and played pinochle.

There is another card game played by seniors that these OFs have heard of, but they did not play it.  That game is called Hand and Foot and one game might last for hours. It’s a very popular game in Florida and is played by many retirees. 

Big Brother big time

The coming event of cameras at the red lights in Albany was another topic of discussion. Tuesday morning, the OFs were all over the lot with their thought processes, time jumping from one minute to the next. We heard about going to battle an enemy way back when the OFs knew what they were up against, to red-light cameras not even installed yet.

Quantum leaps have nothing on the OFs; they do it all the time.

The OFs seldom go to Albany anyway but now they will be especially sure the trip is really necessary. Trusting government, outside of where you can go to the town supervisor’s home or the local town board member’s and hash out your problem, is not in the OF vocabulary.

This is Big Brother big time. The officials can give all the holly golly they want on what these cameras will do to protect the public, but trust them?  No way.

One OF said it is just a money grab. This OF says they will adjust the yellow to just a quick flash, then nail you for running the red light.

Another OF thinks they can alter the film and, if they are not making enough money, they will have the camera showing a car running red when the light was actually green. One OF suggested staying out of Albany altogether, or find alternate routes that may take a little longer, but at least the OF will be able to avoid those cameras and not get caught in their nefarious trap.

Grateful for camaraderie

Many of the OFs have mentioned how ad-hoc organizations like the OMOTM have certain camaraderie among those that belong to these made-up groups.  These factions are just like the Elks, or Moose, or Masons, or the Veterans of Foreign Wars, or the American Legion (to name a few), including churches or the local bridge clubs, which have an unmentioned togetherness.

One OF said he would like to thank the group for being the group. In essence, what the OF was talking about was how many take the familiar for granted, for those we know, and fail to say thank you for being there.

This scribe thinks this is way too true and agrees with the OF who brought this up; this OF and all the other OFs should thank each other just for being there.

Those OFs who hauled their aged butts to the Country Café on Main Street in Schoharie and plopped them down for a hearty breakfast were: Dick Ogsbury, Karl Remmers, Glenn Patterson, Otis Lawyer, John Rossmann, Robie Osterman, George Washburn, Mark Traver, Harold Guest, Frank Pauli, Roger Chapman, Lou Schenck, Mace Porter, Jack Norray, Miner Stevens, Bob Fink, Bob Benninger, Mike Willsey, Harold Grippen, Ted Willsey, Gerry Chartier, and me.


On March 3, The Old Men of the Mountain met at Mrs. K’s Restaurant in Middleburgh.

Beware the ides of March, we are told. The ides of March, was March 15, way back in Julius Cesar’s time; however, other months had ides, which, in ancient Roman times, were the 15th day of May, July, and October, and the 13th day of the other, shorter months.

The soothsayer told Julius Cesar to beware the ides of March, and we all know what happened then. How the ides of March became hooked onto the weather we don’t know; how that rodent became a foreteller of the winter is also in question; however, right or wrong, that snaggle-toothed varmint predicted six more weeks of winter.

This winter seems like six is going to be on the short side — to the OFs, it looks like 10 more weeks would be a better number. 

The OFs continued their discussion on the weather.  Part of this discussion was the amount of snow that is protecting the nasty ticks. This bit of information was in the newspaper and the newspaper said that this spring ticks are going to be on the severe side.

The OFs also mentioned the frozen water-pipe situation again particularly because Cobleskill is on a boil-water advisory right now — for the second time. One OF mentioned that the same reasoning about snow protecting the ticks may apply to snow protecting water pipes: The removal of the snow on the streets is what may be causing main water lines to freeze.

Snow is a pretty good insulator by itself. But, still, in many places, the frost is down quite far this winter especially where there is open ground. 

 The OFs are still blaming the weather people (who really have nothing to do with the weather we get) because of their interpretation of the “models” and “charts,” which causes all of the hubbub. Generally, the weather people are OK but, when they miss a big one, it generates lots of problems.

On Tuesday, the OFs complained about the use of the word “overspread” by the weather people.  Case in point: It is dry as a bone out and the weather people say, “Rain will overspread the area,” and the OFs say, not possible.

In order to “overspread” anything, whether it is rain, snow, salt, or pepper, there has to be a predetermined something already there. In this case, an arbitrary number of inches of water already has to be on the ground — it can’t be dry and “overspread.” In this case, rain will “spread over the area” until it reaches that arbitrary, predetermined figure then it can “overspread” the area.

One OF used the analogy of shaking salt on his eggs. He said when the eggs are served to him, he spreads salt on them, but, if the cap falls off the shaker, then he has really “overspread” his eggs with salt but not until he has “spread” as much salt on the eggs as he likes; that is the predetermined amount.  Anything more than that is “overspreading.”

Along with the cold weather, the OFs were talking about keeping warm. Those who burn wood, and planned on a historical use for them (on the amount they would require for a winter season), are finding that this year they are running low. Some of the OFs figure they may even run out so they are looking at some of the OFs who may have excess wood, or some they could buy, in case it arrives close to the point of running out and a cold spring.

A few of the OFs used to burn wood, but, as the OFs get to be older OFs, they have given it up. Burning wood is nice heat, but it is a lot of work. It is much easier to have the oil truck pull up and have the driver fill up the tank, and then all the OF has to do is turn up the thermostat and pay the bill.

Reading maps is becoming a lost art

Old maps were a new topic discussed by the OFs.  This is unusual because this scribe does not think this has been touched on before.

The maps the OFs were talking about were the Geological Survey maps. One OF said he had a collection of every section for New York State. That is a lot of maps.

Old survey maps of localities are interesting, one OF said, because they show houses that are no longer there. People who are serious bottle collectors can use the maps to locate these now-gone homes and use them for dig sites for old bottles.

Another OF said that, back at that time, many family cemeteries were around, and these old maps can also be used to find these cemeteries. Some of these old maps can be used for those that do gravestone rubbings as a hobby, and some for finding where Great-Great Uncle Harry was buried.

All the knowledge on how to read maps of any kind may soon disappear, unless you happen to be a Boy Scout or Girl Scout. Tuesday, one OF said, all you need is a global positioning system; it was added those things aren’t always right either.

High-decibel din

It was also noted at Tuesday’s breakfast that the chatter at the OMOTM breakfast is a tad on the loud side. One OF noted it is because, at the ages of most of the OGs, hearing is a problem, so the speech decibels have to be raised to be sure the person next to you can hear.

If each OF raises his voice so the people around him can hear, it becomes loud in a hurry at the gathering of OFs. This must drive other patrons in the restaurants nuts because, even though they might not have hearing problems, they have to join the shouting match so the ones they are with can hear.

What a cycle. The OFs who wear hearing aids say they aren’t worth a darn in situations like this and leave them home.

Those OFs who found their way to Mrs. K’s Restaurant in Middleburgh by using geographical maps from the 1940s and not getting lost were: George Sokol, Harold Guest, Frank Pauli, Glenn Patterson, Mark Traver, Chuck Aleseio, Mark Traver, Roger Shafer, Roger Chapman, Steve Kelly, John Rossmann, George Washburn, Robie Osterman, Jim Rissacher, Don Wood, Jack Norray, Lou Schenck, Mace Porter, Bill Krause, Ted Willsey, Bob Benninger, Bob Fink, Elwood Vanderbilt, Harold Grippen, and me.


— Photo from the Fireman’s Association of the State of New York Museum of Firefighting

Wooden pipes were once commonplace: The Old Men of the Mountain talked about the craftsmanship of creating them.

The Middleburgh Diner was given the opportunity to wait on the Old Men of the Mountain on Tuesday, Feb. 24.

It was double digits below zero for most of the OMOTM when they rubbed the sleep from their eyes this particular Tuesday morning. The OFs keep commenting on the coldest day of the winter, then along comes another week, and it has the coldest day of the winter.

That is true though, but this scribe will have to be careful to add “up till this breakfast” it has been the coldest day of the winter, or the hottest day of the summer because, even though we continually live in the past by about 80 milliseconds, we are not living in the future. With that being the case, all should be preceded by “so far” such and such has happened; we know nothing about the next second.

The news is full of stories about people being without water, and the OFs talked about local areas like Cobleskill and Central Bridge being without water because of broken water mains — these areas are over the hill in Brigadoon-land and rarely make the news.

The water-main break in Central Bridge was in pipes that have been under the ground since 1876. The OFs were wondering if they were the old-fashioned wooden pipes the likes of those that are in museums. Could be, the OFs thought.

Then the OFs began discussing on how the craftsmen of that day made those wooden pipes. One OF said he has a set of drill bits from that period and some have extensions that can be added together. Another OF suggested they might use the lumber from the sycamore trees, which are hollow in the center. 

This scribe went to Google, and those wooden water pipes are all over the place. It shows how many different styles there were, and also showed drilled ones using the extensions like the ones the OF has. Online sources note how many different ways these wooden pipes were connected, the most common being the taper, and these pipes even had Ts to carry water in different directions.

The ingenuity of our forefathers to make do with what they had (in some cases) puts the current generation to shame. At one point, one OF reported that his daughter said, if she didn’t have her hair dryer, she would kill herself, life wouldn’t be worth living without that dryer. The OFs knows this is kids’ rhetoric, because it isn’t only hair dryers they can’t live without.

The OFs’ question is: Have we progressed or have we slid downhill so far we can’t see the top? 

Free lunch for seniors

In the Hilltowns, and from what this scribe understands, it is not only for Hilltown seniors but all seniors in Albany County, the OFs can now go to lunch at the Hilltown senior center on Route 443 in Berne. Lunches will be available at noon on Monday, Tuesday, and Friday.

According to the OFs that have been there, the lunches are free but there is a basket for a goodwill offering for those seniors who are in a position to do so. One of the days is Tuesday; now the OFs can eat out almost all day and on the cheap too.

The OFs also gave a phone number; if any seniors have a question, that number is 872-9400. Some OFs took exception to being labeled seniors because some aren’t.

“Well, then you are excluded and not invited,” the OF who was giving this information explained.

“Why?” the other OF asked. “Are there going to be senior police at the door checking ID?”

Oh dear, another rankle brewing.

Blood relations

Living on the Hill, and as mentioned above in Brigadoon-land, it was found that the way OFs are connected by blood to other OFs in such roundabout ways gets scary. Mention just one ancestor going back only as far as an OF’s grandfather and the connections start.

Except for the few outsiders who migrate to the Hills and the valley of Schoharie, it begins to break down to one big happy family. Except that in some cases “happy” doesn’t really apply.

Chore report

Last week, we talked about a man’s barn, shed, or garage being his castle, and the house belonging to the wife. Almost a continuation of this is who does the dishes and the laundry.

It is surprising how many OFs do the dishes, and some do their own laundry. One OF knew what he was doing in the laundry department, but the others, well, that is another story.

They throw everything together and eventually it all turns a bluish-gray color. This must be a carryover from the military or college.

Some OFs do a lot of the housework, but not the laundry. These OFs don’t know wool from silk, or cotton from polyester.

Just like shopping, most OFs said their wives feel and touch everything, and they’ll know if the zipper will stick and it takes them forever to find anything. Then a lot of the time, when they get it home, it won’t go with anything so they take it back.

Lord help the OFs who go on shopping trips. One OF mentioned he has a couple of pairs of shoes and he doesn’t need 20 pairs.

Another OF said he has four pockets in his pants, and generally two on his shirt so he does not need 15 or more pocketbooks. The OFs don’t quite understand how the shoes have to match the pocketbook, the pocketbook has to match the ensemble, and that includes the earrings, and other jewelry.

One OF said that his wife wears contacts, and she has them in different colors. The OF continued that she wouldn’t be caught dead in a brown outfit with blue eyes.

Under the weather

The topic of the weather came up as it seems to be coming up in many conversations other than the OMOTM’s breakfast. It’s the weather at the mall, the weather at Wally-world, the weather at the grocery store, the weather at the hardware store; the OFs can’t escape the weather. As one OF put it, it is bad but not as bad as it could be.

The OFs who made it to the Middleburgh Diner in Middleburgh (and in their own various shades of gray) were: John Rossmann, George Washburn, Harold Guest, Roger Chapman, Glenn Patterson, Otis Lawyer, Frank Pauli, Robie Osterman, Mark Traver, Chuck Aleseio, Mace Porter, Lou Schenck, Jack Norray, Bill Krause, Steve Kelly, Roger Shafer, Mike Willsey, Warren Willsey, and me.


— Photo from John R. Williams

A soldier’s salute: With a plastic pail for a helmet, Cowin Wilbur built an aircraft carrier on the table at his mother’s eatery, which entertained the Old Men of the Mountain. Glenn Patterson is hidden behind the carrier, and Mark Traver is smiling at the far right. “He is a loquacious young lad, where as his sister is very pleasant but quiet,” noted John R. Williams of the children on school vacation. He went on about Cowin’s construction project, “It is supposed to be aircraft carrier, and, doggone it, it looks like an aircraft carrier. Notice the little green soldiers he has placed around. Trying not to lose our youthful imagination takes conscientious effort. Daydreaming helps.”

Tuesday, Feb. 17, the Old Men of the Mountain met at the Hilltown Café in Rensselaerville.

Rensselaerville is perched approximately 1,600 feet in the air so, for the OFs, it is all up hill to get there even though some OFs start out at 1,400 feet but those OFs have to go down and then up again.

The OFs expected more snow but nope, the snowfall looked just like the snow that fell at 1,400 feet or 680 feet. However, though the winter has been a tad nasty, the roads in the Hilltowns have been pretty darn good, and so it was on Tuesday morning.

The weather doomsayers on TV and radio would have us all hibernate. The OFs have seen winters like this and have had to go out in it. If an OF has a medical problem where the cold air will affect him; it is best to stay indoors; otherwise, bundle up and get out, but don’t be stupid about it.

The OFs commend the road crews, the firefighters, the emergency medical technicians, the power company repair crews, the public works repair crews, and the farmers. The OFs also think those who have to go to work in hospitals, and those who work with or volunteer for the homeless shelters in this cold should also be commended. There are many others who just get out and about in the cold.

Snow — that is another story. The OFs say, if it is unessential, stay off the roads so the road crews can clean things up. A big joke to the OFs are all the TV stations’ reporters being in the “do as I say, but not as I do” class of people. Here they are telling the OFs to stay off the roads and where are they?  They are on the roads and in the way.

Drones could be a valuable tool

The OFs talked about drones and the new knee-jerk rules that are being applied and other rules or regulations being bandied about concerning these drones. The OFs think that TV and radio stations should have licensed pilots and drones on hand for accidents, weather, fires, and other instances where publicizing emergencies would be of benefit to the general public.

The use of drones, the OFs think, would be a valuable tool and people wouldn’t have to go thousands of feet up to do it. The operators of the drones would not be in harm’s way.

The OFs noted that the newer cameras, along with the cameras on phones and tablets, are exceptionally good. Couple this with the drones and, to the OFs, it seems natural for them to be used by the police, news agencies, and hospital and medical staff, to name a few.

This scribe added: How about emergency responders with a drone flying ahead with a mounted remote TV camera and a receiver in the emergency vehicle? The EMTs would be able to see pending trouble spots and maneuver around them.  How slick would that be?

A few of the OFs have been Radio Controlled (RC) airplane flyers, and think the development of drones in many cases is a plus; however, the OFs also realize there are those who are going to use this new technology for nefarious purposes and spoil the sport for everyone else including some with legitimate use.

Look how all the hackers have spoiled the Internet. Hardly anyone trusts the Internet anymore. Some of the OFs never got into using the Internet or computers and they may be the smart ones.

The hacking that has come to light that bothers one OF who takes many medications is where the hackers can now do their thing and hack into your medical records and change your prescription. This OF said he read that the government wants all doctors to use electronic transfer of prescriptions.

These guys are just generating another boondoggle that is going to cause more problems than it solves. This OF can’t understand the logic behind it. This OF wants to use cash, a checkbook, a savings passbook, and have his prescriptions in his hand.

“What in the world is the matter with that?” the OF asked. “How can the government force me to go electronic? Right on our money it says ‘legal tender,’ and, by golly, they had better take it or I will call a cop.”

The rest of this conversation will be reported at a later date.

When to retire?

The OFs are OFs and one of the discussions Tuesday morning was what age is a good retirement age. We have OFs who retired from the military after 20 or so years.  That placed these OFs’ first retirement in their 40s, and one is now close to 90 and going strong.

Retirement age to some OFs is not a specified number; some OFs are still working. One OF thought that, if you really like what you are doing, why retire?

Some OFs thought that health had a lot to do with it. If you feel good, and can retire, you should retire and enjoy it.

Why should I retire if I feel rotten and know I am not going to get any better? This OF said retiring and not feeling like getting up in the morning is for the birds; stay working and croak on the job. This OF felt that way he would be less of a burden to the family.

When to go into a home?

Being a burden to the family and then being put in a home is a big concern of many of the OFs. Some of the OFs, though, say: When I become a burden, put me in the home.

Others say that this is easy to say now but, when the time comes, these OFs bet the other OFs will change their tune or a least think twice about being shuffled off to the home.

Again, with the ages of the OFs, this can become a sensitive subject. Some are dealing with it right now. It is not easy.

This scribe says that life’s orchard is not just a crate of apples, but apples, oranges, grapefruit, plums, grapes, pomegranates, star fruit, and mangos — all thrown into the same crate. How it sorts out at the end is different for everyone.

Surviving strange crashes

On a more upbeat note, the OFs talked about the two accidents in the area that were amazing. One accident was where a sport utility went off a bridge, fell approximately 30 feet, landed on its roof, and the occupants crawled out and were basically OK.

The other one was where the driver had a flat tire on a bridge, stepped over the guide rail to avoid traffic, slipped and fell 50 feet to the ground, got up, crawled up the bank back to where his vehicle was, and was hit by a tractor trailer.

The OFs said these people had to be young because the OFs’ bones can’t handle a fall off a step stool. One OF said age has nothing to do with it; it was just not their time.

Mourning Don

Tuesday was also a sad day for the Old Men of the Mountain. Those Old Men of the Mountain who could attended the funeral of a faithful member of the OMOTM who passed away.

The OMOTM offer their condolences to the family and friends of Don Moser whose face and folded hands while passing on his wisdom and stories will be missed at breakfast in the morning. 

The Old Men of the Mountain who made it to the Hilltown Café, and were entertained by the proprietor’s son because there was no school, were: Robie Osterman, George Washburn, Harold Guest, Roger Chapman, Frank Pauli, John Rossmann, Jack Norray, Lou Schenck, Mace Porter, Bill Krause, Mark Traver, Glenn Patterson, Chuck Aleseio, Mike Willsey, Warren Willsey, Ted Willsey, Henry Whipple, Otis Lawyer, Bill Rice, Elwood Vanderbilt, Harold Grippen, Jim Rissacher, Guest Gary Taylor, and me.


— From the koshersamurai website
The bumblebee bat, the world’s smallest mammal, weighs about as much as a penny. It lives in limestone caves in Burma and Thailand and is threatened by deforestation.

The Home Front Café in Altamont on Tuesday, Feb. 10, was open and welcomed the Old Men of the Mountain with open arms.  The proprietor was there with his self-proclaimed ratty clothes, which the OFs could understand very well, as all the OFs are accustomed to the same basic ratty-clothes syndrome.

To many of the OFs, the ratty clothes are the most comfortable, and because they are already ratty it is not necessary to worry about spilling anything on them from mustard to motor oil to paint and turpentine.

The proprietor admitted, though, that the shop is his and the house is the wife’s.  A man’s home is his castle — baloney: The home belongs to the distaff side.

In other words, the OFs came up with the right way to label how domestic life really is. The stable is the king’s, and the castle belongs to the queen.

The proprietor admitted that the ratty clothes never make it to the house; he changes in the mudroom. That is not a bad idea.  A guy’s clothes full of diesel fuel, or gas, or turpentine or even sawdust can stink up a house royally.

The OFs had to admit that sometimes clothes can become too ratty — hence, dangerous. Wearing oil-soaked coveralls day in and day out, then take the hose from an oxygen bottle of acetylene torch set to blow off some grime, then get near an open flame and — whoosh; there had better be a fire extinguisher handy, or else the local “Digger Odell’s” calendar with the phone number on it should be close by.

Battling ice

The OFs mentioned that we are having a perfect winter for roof ice dams. One OF mentioned that he has already had a problem with water in the living room from backed-up runoff produced by the ice dams.

Another OF said it is how your house is positioned, and the way the wind blows, that causes these icicles. Still another OG advised us to get out early and rake the snow off the roof — that also helps.

That is fine if the OF is physically able to do that, or the house is low enough. If the house is an old country home, two stories tall, that is another thing.

One OF recommended moving downstairs and not heating the upstairs might help to keep the snow so it doesn’t melt from underneath and icicles don’t form. The OFs have been through many winters and all have different ways of handling the weather of the Northeast. Each seems quite different, but all of them seem to work.

Battling snow

This next story concerns an OF who started his Cub Cadet tractor up with the snow blower attachment on it and then he proceeded to clean his driveway. Simple, right?

The OFs do something like this all the time. This OF had the driveway cleared and was out in the road cleaning it up and the tractor died. That yellow machine stopped right there in the road.

What the @#$%$# is wrong with this thing? The OF got off and checked the tractor all over and then noticed it was out of gas. Duh!

Most OFs check the gas in the lawn mower, chainsaw, weed whacker, and snow blowers before they start out. This OF went to the garage and found he happened to have a couple of cups of gas in the gas can, just enough to get the tractor started and out of the road then back to the garage. Darn good thing this OF doesn’t fly a plane.

The OFs had to advise the OG that it is important to check your equipment before it is used.

This OF said, “Hey, once you fill a snow blower or tractor up with gas that’s it.” He actually said, with a twinkle in his good eye, “You only have to do that once, right.”

Battling bees

Even though it is winter, somehow the OFs began talking about hornets, and bees, and being chased by these critters, and really getting stung.

It was decided among the OFs that the hornets in the ground were the nastiest. They do not like to be messed with. One OF mentioned the honeybees from Russia; they, too, do not like to be bothered.

This same OF mentioned he saw what he believed was a column of bees leaving a series of hives not just one hive. This OF said the column of bees was three to four feet in diameter and reached higher than the trees, which he guessed were 30 to 40 feet tall.

He checked with the beekeeper and he was right — the bees were all gone. The OFs wondered what spooked the bees to take flight and desert those hives. (Scribe’s note, the English language is at time strange. Bees live in hives, and people get hives. Not being too swift on this type of thing, this scribe wonders: What is the connection?)

This conversation prompted an OF to add that the smallest mammal known is the bumblebee bat. Now, what again prompted this? How the mind rattles things around and ties weird parts of a conversation into other weird parts of a completely different conversation. (There the OFs go again: A bat hits a ball, and a bat eats bugs, go figure).

Those OMOTM that showed up at the Home Front Café in Altamont, and in halfway decent clothes except the OF with the battery-acid-eaten pants (and yet another story) were: Roger Chapman, Robie Osterman, George Washburn, John Rossmann, Frank Pauli, Mace Porter, Lou Schenck, Jack Norray, Chuck Aleseio,  Otis Lawyer, Glenn Patterson, Mark Traver, Harold Guest, Bill Krause, Elwood Vanderbilt, Harold Grippen, Mike Willsey, Warren Willsey, Bob Benninger, Bob Fink, Henry Whipple, Rev. Jay Francis, and me.


On Tuesday, Feb. 3, the Old Men of the Mountain met at the Chuck Wagon Diner in Princetown.

There were two things that were on the special side of last Tuesday morning’s breakfast.  One is that they (whoever they are) say that the rodent in Punxsutawney saw his shadow. The eyes of that animal have to be pretty sharp to be able to see his shadow through all the snow and sleet that was in that area on Tuesday.

One OF asked: How can he not see his shadow with all those TV lights glaring from the stations covering the event.

The second thing was (as one OF put it): Only the hardy OFs showed up for Tuesday’s breakfast. That may or may not be true.

The OFs who did make it found the roads in good shape, but it was cold in the valleys. One OF reported they went through 12 degrees below zero, and another said that, when he left his home on the top of the hill, it was plus two degrees, and at the bottom of the hill it was minus five degrees.

Other than that, the road crews are to be commended on the conditions of the roads in the Hilltowns and surrounding environs. All the cars the OFs encountered (with the rare occasion of some jerk probably late for work) were moving about 40 miles an hour and they kept at safe distances from other vehicles.

At least where the OFs were headed — Princetown — it was not that bad, just a normal Northeast winter morning, zero degrees, and snow.

Bridge builders

The hiking OMOTM were discussing bridge-building again. The new bridge they were talking about covers quite a span. The beams for the bridge are 40 feet so the OFs were discussing how to tackle a job of this size.

This bridge is to be located at Minekill, which was developed years ago as part of the Gilboa hydroelectric project. Many of the OFs have visited the Minekill State Park, and the Blenheim-Gilboa visitors’ center at Lansing Manor.

Like Thacher Park, this park also has many interesting events going on and in the summer it is worth the trip. The winter may be a little hairy unless the OFs don’t mind driving winter roads through the mountains.

Check it out on the net, and see some of the areas that the hikers of the OFs help maintain.

Solar seekers

The OFs talked about solar panels, and one of the OFs explained how he has covered the south section of his roof with solar panels. This OF clarified that he rents the panels for a certain amount of money a month, and the installation cost him nothing.

He has not received his first statement yet to see how he is doing; that is how new the system is. If this scribe can decipher his notes, the OF rents these solar units at a certain price for a given period of time.

I believe the OF said 20 years. (The OF hopes he makes 20 years. The secret to long life is to set goals far away into the future then try to make it.) And he gets to use all the electricity for free.

What he saves in his power bill should either pay for all his utilities or come close to it. This OF made a good pitch for those with south-facing roofs.

Flood fixers

The OFs also talked about Schoharie, including those counties and towns that were affected by Tropical Storm Irene in 2011, and how these places are still feeling the punches that storm wrought. One OF mentioned this is similar to the tremendous ice storm that hit Plattsburgh and the small towns in that locality many years ago; the damage was still visible years later.

Even now some of the OFs who travel that way say a few repairs are still not made. This was brought about with a discussion on the Parrott House, which precipitated from a discussion on how many people were are in Schoharie with the murder trial going on at the courthouse that was brought there as a change of venue from Oneonta. (Boy, how conversations tie seemingly unrelated events together.)

The Parrott House was built in 1870 and was known as the Eagle Hotel.  A fire that same year that destroyed several buildings, started in the hay barn there, and the proprietor was William Parrott Jr.

The OFs can’t quite remember that far back (1870) but they do remember when the Parrott House was more or less the place to see and be seen, with the bowling alley in the basement where, as youngsters, some of the OFs set pins. Square dances, Christmas parties and all sorts of special events were held at the Parrott House.

Sometimes, over the years, the food was great and other times it was not so hot. That all depended on the owners and who was in the kitchen.

Now the Parrott House just sits there looking so sad, waiting for a buyer. Hence the discussion of the flood.

Weather watchers

The winter weather came up again, and many of the OFs remembered how they didn’t mind the snow and the cold a few years back. The winter activities were fun and invigorating.

Ice-skating was one activity particularly enjoyed and the village of Schoharie came up with a new, lighted ice skating rink. The OFs remembered shoveling snow off the pond, and making places to skate. They recall having bonfires and hot chocolate and skating.

Ah, the remembrances of tobogganing — the OFs don’t know if tobogganing is done much anymore. Skiing with long wooden skis held on by the OFs’ farmer boots, with felt liners and wool socks and toasty feet, and just springs for bindings.

We were towed up to the top of the hill with a rope tow wrapped around a tractor tire.  One OF thought we had more fun that way than kids do today with their fancy expensive outfits, being more concerned about how they look than having fun and learning to ski.

The OFs who made to the Chuck Wagon in Princetown, by not being scared by the weather guys, and appreciating the hard work by the road crews, whether they worked for the town, county, or state, were: Jack Norray, Lou Schenck, Robie Osterman, Mace Porter, Mark Traver, Glenn Patterson, Otis Lawyer, John Rossmann, Harold Guest, Bob Benninger, Bob Fink, Harold Grippen, Gil Zabel, Elwood Vanderbilt, and me.