Tuesday, Oct. 18, was a rare day because the Old Men of the Mountain locale had not lost the beautiful colors of fall to either being blown off, or taken down by a hard rain shortly after showing off their colorful foliage for this fall season. This year, the weather hung in there for quite some time so the Old Men of the Mountain could get out (along with many others) and enjoy the show.

On Tuesday, the OMOTM drove to Schoharie to have breakfast at the Your Way Café while it was still dark. Along with the early morning dark and the sun just waking up, there was not much to see outside the range of the headlights, but going home from the Your Way Café the OFs were able to drive through tunnels of color.


Lithium batteries

One OF gave what was like a report or a lecture on how lithium batteries were made and what went into making one. If the source of information is legit, and it seems so, this type of battery manufacturer uses pretty nasty stuff to produce one.

Seems like the same battle between the biggies and who has the most clout politically because money was not the problem. For instance, Firestone and Ford argued about what material they should use to make tires.

Ford again and farmers disagreed with the steel companies on what to make car bodies out of, soybeans or steel. Tesla and Edison bickered on whether to use AC or DC; no matter what the world choices are, the world just keeps rolling along.

The OF’s dissertation was interesting. The OFs do talk about things other than old cars, trucks, farms, and machinery.



Schenectady had very interesting early inhabitants. Edison, Steinmetz, Westinghouse — and one OF at the breakfast was quite familiar with Westinghouse. The birthplace of George Westinghouse was in Old Central Bridge in Schoharie County.

Westinghouse was the inventor of the air brake and, as this OF resided in Central Bridge for some time, he knew a lot about Westinghouse. The OF is quite a historian and is reasonably versed on the history of the locality.


Revolutionary raids

Talking about Westinghouse led to another discussion on little-known history. One OF discussed the Brant raid on Schoharie County during the American Revolution.

The fertile land of the county was very important to the Revolution especially in supplying food to George Washington and his army. Brant subsequently burned many of the homes and crops during raids on the county.

This is well-known history but the rest of the story is not. The OFs talking about all this were in agreement that most of the wooden homes were burned; however, the buildings of stone or brick were left standing.

These included the Reformed Church (Old Stone Fort) and George Mann’s residence (George Mann Tory Tavern), which were spared basically because of what (or who) they were, and the construction of the buildings.

One wooden building was spared because of who lived in that building and were neither Tories nor revolutionaries. The building housed slaves who worked the land and the Indians did not burn this place.

The way the OFs explained it is that now the building is being restored and has not been visible because of the vegetation that had grown around it. This undergrowth has been cleared and the structure is now visible.

A true split-rail fence has also been constructed around the site. This scribe cannot find this on Google to check it out but it seems these OFs know all about it and they are from the area. Sounds plausible, and similar to the Schenectady massacre.


Social Security

Of course, a concern to all the Old Men of the Mountain is Social Security. At this time of such high inflation and prices on many items, which seem to be going up daily, the OMOTM have had to cut back on items that are to some necessities, like medicines, and groceries, throw in gas to get to treatments, and any little extra they can get helps.

The OFs understand Social Security is supposed to go up 8.7 percent in 2023. The OFs don’t want to wish their life away but they would like to see 2023 get here in a hurry.

The OFs think they will have to see how things work out for 2023, or even late 2022, to see what the inflation rate will be like. One OF said right now he does not think the 8.7 is going to cut the mustard.

Although the OF also added he is not going to look a gift horse in the mouth. The OF said he is too old, hurts too much, and he has no idea how the new technology works to get another job to augment his income.

Besides, the OF said, it now takes him two to three hours just to get dressed in the morning and sometimes he says he announces to himself, “To heck with it” and mogs around in his slippers, PJs, and bathrobe all day and has a good time doing it.

“Saves gas,” the OF said. “If Walmart would let greeters dress like that, I might consider taking a job there.”

Then another OF said, “Hey, dressed like that you would be considered an elite some of the getups the people at Walmart wear.”

The OFs want to show up at the Your Way Café in Schoharie in their Hydrogen fuel-celled powered vehicles and do away with all the lithium, and fossil fueled stuff and these Old Men of the Mountain were: Doug Marshal, Wally Guest, Harold Guest, Roger Shafer, Joe Rack, Glenn Patterson, Mark Traver, Paul Nelson, Miner Stevens, Rick LaGrange, Wayne Gaul, Ted Feurer, Jake Herzog, Bill Lichliter, George Washburn, Duncan Bellinger, Marty Herzog, Paul Whitbeck, Pete Whitbeck, Bob Donnelly, Dave Hodgetts, Paul Guiton, Lou Schenck, Herb Bohrmann, Rev. Jay Francis, Steve Vanderbilt, and me.

The Enterprise — Marcello Iaia
Not only are the businesses in Middleburgh decorated for Halloween, the houses are too. This display is reminiscent of “The Little Shop of Horrors.”

Tuesday, Oct. 11, 2022; can the holidays be far behind? Just six short weeks away is Thanksgiving — OK plus a few days. Then always four short weeks away from that is Christmas, then one week until New Year’s.

The words to September Song now mean a lot. Oh, the days dwindle down to a precious few and, as we age, the days seem to have only 12 hours in them; they just fly by. However, the Old Men of the Mountain still manage to gather and, on the 11th, the OMOTM gathered at Mrs. K’s restaurant in Middleburgh.

The days are really getting shorter with their daylight hours until Dec. 21/22 and then they will start going the other way. With only 12-hour days, those days of December arrive much sooner. Is that a plus?

The OFs discussed distances; this scribe has this one note in his little notebook and all it says is “distances.” The reason for this word was discussion of the strange sensation that familiar ways seem shorter.

The OFs thought this was odd but, to all of the ones in on this part of the conversation, it was true. Google or the GPS may send the OFs on a different route, which in miles and time is shorter, but not familiar, and for some reason it seems when using these directions the OF is going all around cock robin’s barn to arrive at the OF’s destination.

When checking the clock and odometer, it was quicker and shorter but did not seem like it was. The familiar way seemed quicker and shorter; however, it wasn’t. One OF said he hates it when Google is right.

Another OF commented he travels to the same places quite often and sometimes it is so automatic he finds himself pulling into the parking lot and has no recollection of the drive over. The OF said his wife piles into the vehicle and said we are going to Kohl’s. OK, the OF says, and that is when it happens.

All of a sudden, the wife is getting out of the car at Kohl’s — what happened to all the time? The OFs said they do it so often they just wonder what goes on between the house and their familiar destination. I didn’t hit anybody with my car so I had to be conscious, the OF said; the time is just lost. To this OF, time and space is just a matter of consciousness.

Oct. 31st is Halloween. Halloween, for some reason, is just a day but, with all the parties and hoopla about the day, it should be designated a national holiday.

Now, there is a cause the OFs could champion. “All Hallows Eve Day” we would call it, and the OFs are sure they could get the backing of all the card, candy, and costume companies behind them.

The OFs commented on how the streets of Middleburgh were decorated with scenes in front of each business. There was a theme and each business expressed their idea of the theme with scenes made from straw and costumes. Worth a trip just to check them out and vote for which one in your opinion was best.


Heavenly diner

Every now and then, a new list of the OMOTM with phone numbers and emails is composed. This was a good time to collect the information to update the list.

The snowbirds have not flown, and the summer travelers for most part are back so the list was sent around to the OFs for any changes or updates. In going over the list sent around, the OFs noted how many on the old list are no longer with us but instead are with the OFs on the restaurant cloud in the sky doing the same thing. They are probably looking down on the OFs at Mrs. K’s.


Hunter’s moon

The use of conversations about the drive to the restaurants is quite often. This is not unusual because sometimes the ride over has interesting events happen.

The ride home cannot be reported on because how is the scribe going to gather any information unless he is at each OF’s home when they get there? This breakfast, it was the hunter’s moon and how bright it was.

Some OFs encountered fog, then nothing, but the moon was so bright it could light the way at night, then fog again. All in all, it was going to be a nice day.


Mystery word

Another stand-alone word on the scribe’s pad is “west.” Now that rings no bells.

It is a good thing this scribe is not a regular reporter. The scribe’s notes many times are rather skimpy and don’t jog too much in the way of worthwhile information.

Is west because of the sun, or “go west ,young man, go west,” or is it even west? Maybe it should be “rest.”

Who knows? This scribe’s writing is getting pretty ugly with all the arthritis. Maybe it is a good thing real reporters use recorders.

The Old Men of the Mountain who arrived at Mrs. K’s Restaurant in Middleburgh and, as the warlocks they are, parked all their brooms outside where the decorations were already there so these brooms weren’t even noticed. The coven was already underway and the attendees were: Rick LaGrange, Roger Shafer, Joe Rack, Doug Marshal, Glenn Patterson, Wally Guest, Harold Guest, Ted Feurer, Jake Herzog, Jake Lederman, Bill Lichliter, Robie Osterman, George Washburn, Warren Willsey, Russ Pokorny, Frank Dees, Ed Goff, Bob Donnelly, Dave Hodgetts, Elwood Vanderbilt, Lou Schenck, Jack Norray, Paul Guiton, Duncan Bellinger, Paul Whitbeck, and me.

Once upon a time (which now seems a long time ago but then again it is not so long ago) a few at that time not so old, Old Men of the Mountain would gather in the kitchen of one of the OMOTM. The wife of this OF got tired of this and refused to keep serving these OGs coffee and kicked them out of the house.

The OFs milled around outside and came to a serious conclusion: “Now what?”

The OFs (not really old yet) piled into one of the OF’s vehicles and headed off to a restaurant so they could still be waited on for their cups of coffee. This turned into a really good idea, and it appeased the old lady because the OFs were out of the house, out from underfoot, and she could have a relaxing cup of coffee without having to listen to these old guys lie to each other.

This Tuesday, Oct. 4, the anniversary of the infamous October snowstorm, the Old Men of the Mountain met at the Middleburgh Diner in Middleburgh where they now had started to gather around 7 a.m. instead of 9:30 or 10 like in the beginning.

The original group was small, retired, and easygoing, but as more friends joined the fraternal brothers of OFs they had things to do and places to go, so the original OFs acquiesced to the OFs who had things to do and places to go and started meeting earlier.

Eventually, the OFs were at the doors of some of the restaurants, waiting for them to open up. The old farmer conditioning had kicked in. To many, the sliding back of the manger door, the lowing of the cows, was a pleasant call to the early hours of the morning.


Judging Judge

Now, not many of the OMOTM are farmers, but there are a few who know what all this means, because at the breakfast this past Tuesday morning, one of the first topics was, “When was Aaron Judge going to hit number 62?”

As of Tuesday morning’s breakfast, this achievement had not yet been done. Some thought that, because of the pressure, Judge was way off his stride and wasn’t going to make it, while others felt some pitcher was going to make a mistake and cough one up close to where Judge could at least get part of the barrel of the bat on it and would hit number 62.

Some would just like to see him hit the ball and get the batting title.


Ian hits home

The OFs discussed Hurricane Ian in Florida for quite some time and how it impacted that area so badly. Some of the OFs had property in the locations where the storm hit.

One even showed pictures of his condo reduced to rubble.

Another OF owned property at one time, and then that got into a legal mess and does not know if he still owns it or not. Nothing has ever been done with it, and the OF said now he is glad they never built on it. The land is still that — just land. The plot is in what would be a suburb of Englewood.

Many of the OFs have friends or relatives smack-dab in the middle of where this hurricane came inland. Sanibel/Captiva, Fort Myers, Punta Gorda, and Rotunda were some of the places mentioned and, from all appearances, these places took a direct hit.

One OF said, “We have our blizzards but I will take them in place of a hurricane like this thing was.”

Another mentioned we had Irene, but even though that was bad and many people lost a lot, it was nothing compared to what the hurricane in Florida did. Not only this one but hurricanes in general do a great deal of damage. Andrew was another, which hit Homestead, Florida in 1992, and was the costliest until Ian came along.

Blizzards, the OFs seem to be able to battle, but they certainly are not looking forward to the next one.


Gender issues with naming

Since we were talking about disasters, how about all these fires? It seems Mother Nature has quite a repertoire: fire, wind, and water seem to be her arsenal.

How about, now that it has been determined nature is a woman, there can be a whole lot of shaking going on. Yeah, if that lady wants to let us know who is in charge, Mother Nature has all the weapons.

Who gave God the masculine nomenclature when it is Mother Earth, Mother Nature, and to cap it off ships, planes, trains, and cars, etc. are generally called “she?” It seems somewhere we got this naming thing wrong.


Inflation questions

With winter coming on, the price of heating fuel came up.

One OF asked, “How come fuel oil is more than gasoline?”

This OF said his last oil bill was over $800. Who has this kind of money?

Then an OF asked another question, “Who is getting all this money?”

The questions kept coming. One asked how can groceries jump so much so fast? One week Gatorade is $5.49 the next it is $6.49, and muffins are four for $4.69 one week and the next week the same muffins are $5.69. This rip-off money is going somewhere.

One OF said we should watch for the politicians building mansions and buying yachts; there has to be a bottom to the hole all this money seems to be thrown into. There the big-shot politicians are waiting, one OF commented, not the elected officials that we work with every day.

Some of those take every cent they can and give it away to those that really need it. When and where this changes the OF didn’t know, and with some it never does.

Those Old Men of the Mountain who would like to manage the Yankees and make what a big league ball player makes (and that is any kind of ball, basket, tennis, foot, whatever) had breakfast at the Middleburgh Diner and they were: Marty Herzog, Wally Guest, Harold Guest, Wayne Gaul, Ted Feurer (who has hiked 1,000 miles of the Appalachian Trail), Robie Osterman, George Washburn, Bill Lichliter, Jake Herzog, Duncan Bellinger, Rev. Jay Francis, Lou Schenck, Jack Norray, and me.

— Photo from John R. Williams

Elwood Vanderbilt, who is now 95 years old, celebrated his birthday with the other Old Men of the Mountain last Tuesday at Mrs. K’s restaurant in Middleburgh.

The day is the same, but the day itself is never the same, so this Tuesday, Sept. 20, the Old Men of the Mountain were at Mrs. K’s restaurant in Middleburgh. The prettiest part of the year is coming up with the trees changing and all the fall flowers showing off.

The colors of spring are fine but not equal to the colors of fall. One set of colors lets the OFs know that the blast of winter is on its way; the other set lets the OFs know it is over.

The Old Men of the Mountain met in Middleburgh to celebrate an OF whose birthday was on the 21st but was reaching the milestone of 95 years old. The OMOTM does have its share of nonagenarians.

Elwood Vanderbilt will be 95 but is not our oldest member right now. The OMOTM’s oldest member is Mike Willsey at 97. The term OFs fits the group well.

Mrs. K had a cake for Elwood on this occasion and this cake was beautiful. Some of these cakes are works of art and it is a shame to cut into them and eat them.

The odd part is: We all know where these sweet repasts wind up. That makes it more of a shame.

To be 95 or 97 and still lucid is great. Elwood does manage with a walker but, as mentioned many times, there are OFs who rattle their canes and park their walkers as they come to breakfast. One of these nice, crisp fall days the OMOTM should have an OF walker race.


Single OFs share cooking tips

The OMOTM have another sub-group, and they are OFs without a partner. This led to the question: How do those living alone (either in their own home or in an apartment) handle their meals?

This came up as a topic at the breakfast table. It was strange, with no communication or get-together; it was found that many do the same thing.

One OF has sectioned plates and does all his cooking on one day. The OF then portions these sections off in a rotation so he isn’t eating the same thing day after day.

The OF says the rotation is kept interesting that way. Then the OF places the sections of food in the freezer and thaws them and eats them without having to cook every day.

Another OF cooks all his food on one day but prepares lots of the same thing then has it every day until it is gone. Then he starts another but different batch and does the same thing. Not quite as adventurous as others but achieves the same thing.

Others were taking hints because they eat out most of the time and were beginning to find it’s too expensive now to do that. The OF were beginning to really mutter about the cost of common commodities yet their income has not gone up any.

Remember when our mothers and maybe even the OFs’ wives saved cooking grease and reused this grease especially if it had a lot of bacon grease in it?

Well, some of the OFs do not mind cooking and, judging by what they have, they are doing a good job of it. These OF are still saving the grease (especially bacon) and claim they really use it.

Sounds good to a lot of other OFs, even those who are not allowed to have it because their cardiologists say it is a no-no. An often repeated comment is: Why are so many no-nos so good?

So, whatever the OFs are cooking, when they are preparing their meals they should keep it up, because the group is a real rowdy bunch of OFs and that takes energy, and food equates to energy, and as one OF said, “What is this calorie thing anyway?”

Continuing on with cooking — many of the OFs order eggs at breakfast and one OF inquired offhandedly, “I wonder,” the OF said, “How many chickens are there in the world?”

The OF added that he bet there would be a ton of zeros after the number.

That is a thought, but the OFs weren’t going to lose any sleep over it, until one other OF said he wondered how many gallons of fuel were in all the gas tanks, ships, planes, trains, homes, and industry fuel tanks.

Talk about zeros behind a number — chew on that one for a while. That brought up a remark from someone else mentioning, “Well, as long as we are chewing, how many sticks of gum are being chewed on right now?”

This conversation could go on for quite a while.

Those who traveled to Mrs. K’s in Middleburgh to celebrate one of the OFs who has made 95 and some of these are 90-plus were: Robbie Osterman, Rick LaGrange, Doug Marshall, Ted Feurer, Marty Herzog, Jake Lederman, Joe Rack, Glenn Patterson, Mark Traver, Ken Parks, Wally Guest, Harold Guest, Roger Shafer, Frank Dees, Paul Whitbeck, Pete Whitbeck, Gerry Chartier, Jake Herzog, Duncan Bellinger with his guests from Germany - Reiner Ahren, & Fredrich Ahren, Paul Muller, Russ Pokorny, Warren Willsey, Lou Schenck, Jack Norray, Herb Bahrmann, Bob Donnelly with guest Terry Ayres & Jeremiah Hending, Dave Hodgetts, Allen DeFazzo, John Dap, Frank Weber, Elwood Vanderbilt of course, and me.

John R. Williams imagines this could be “the OFs in front of the Altamont Station waiting to load up for their trip to the Your Way Café in Schoharie.”

On Tuesday, Sept. 13, the Old Men of the Mountain met at the Your Way Café in the outskirts of beautiful downtown Schoharie not far from the “Old Stone Fort.” The fort was originally a Dutch Reformed Church but, during the Revolution, it was blockaded and used as a fort. It was briefly attacked.

Sometime after the Revolution, the blockade was removed and it became a Dutch Reformed Church again. However, many of you readers already know this and probably a lot more.

On the way to the breakfast, early in the morning, it was foggy, with rain. Neither circumstance was too hard, or too thick, in the way of being early fall, end of summer, early a.m. nostalgic.

Some of the OFs come off the mountain either by Canaday Hill, or wind up on Route 443. Those using 443, just before it connects with Route 30, would come across what appeared to be either a town truck, or county truck with flashing lights in the west-bound lane.

As the cars drove around the truck, the riders would see a good-sized buck deer in the road still alive, but severely wounded, and a car in a driveway with some damage.

Reporting this little common incident had the OFs start talking about deer. This has been a subject the group has talked about many times; however, on this occasion, the discussion turned to: “Do deer have four stomachs like a cow?”

One OF thought they did, most didn’t know, even though they have killed deer and skinned them out. They had never stopped to count the guts.

One OF said he knew that deer do chew their cuds like a cow. That was a good clue. This scribe looked it up. Deer do have a four-chambered stomach and digest their food much like a cow.

Now you must remember that this is a group known as The Old Men of the Mountain.

Being that, one OF asked the question “What is the difference between a cow chewing its cud and a girl chewing gum?”

None of the OGs answered and one finally said, “What is the difference?”

And the OF who had posed the question replied, “It’s the thoughtful look on the face of the cow.”


Bridges with character

The OMOTM have a new member with a well-known county name. Some of the OFs began bringing up people with the same name and who they were and what they did. Then other common county names popped up.

Then names somehow led to a short conversation on bridges and one of these bridges was at the North end of the Old Stone Fort where the bridge crossed Fox Creek on Route 30. It seemed at that time bridges, especially small ones, had character, and even some of the larger ones displayed this characteristic.

Today there are some large beautiful bridges but they lack character.

When the OFs were young, even a culvert had character and each one seemed different. Today, so many bridges seem to be just extensions of the roadway and oftentimes the drivers don’t even know they are on a bridge.

On the Taconic, one OF said, the bridges were works of art, but most of those were built by the Civilian Conservation Corps in the thirties.

Today, it was suggested, most are in a hurry to get to where they are going so that it just doesn’t pay to put the time and effort into this type of construction. Just build it rugged with straight lines, right angles, and call it good enough for government work and go on to the next.

Another OF said beautifying the roadways may slow people down; then again, it may slow some down but not others, and the gawkers will get plowed in the back by the “we are in a hurry guys.”

“What we need,” one OF interjected, “along with the passing lane is a slow-speed lane so some can enjoy the ride.”

“Well,” another OF added, “the roads will have to be nearly 72 feet wide, one lane for the walkers, another for the bicycles, another for the gawkers, one for two people in a car, one for egress or ingress, one for passing, and one for high speed, and don’t forget one for trucks. Why not just take the road less traveled?”

That is a rather common statement, and the ruts of that road are worn by the wheels of the drivers over 70, but they do meet some intelligent young folks along the way.


Trains of old

One breakfast group table discussed trains of old, particularly the engine on display in Pennsylvania. This was the Big Boy, which was the largest steam engine ever built and they built 25 of them.

One OF brought in pictures of the engine that is there in Pennsylvania. The Big Boy is on display in other museums in other states and the OFs think if anyone is interested in machinery this one chunk of machinery is to be checked out.

Many think the articulated bus, or farm and construction equipment being articulated is neat. Well, for neat, the Big Boy was also articulated so it could make some of the turns.

Many don’t realize that this massive piece was built right here in the American Locomotive Company in Schenectady. Remember Schenectady? The city that lights and hauls the world.

    Those Old Men of the Mountain who made it to the Your Way Café in their little railroad hand-cars with rubber wheels were: Roger Shafer, Glenn Patterson, Joe Rack, Mark Traver, Wally Guest, Harold Guest, Doug Marshall, Miner Stevens, George VanWie, Jake Lederman, Ted Feurer, Wayne Gaul, Rick LaGrange, Frank Dees, Russ Pokorny, Bill Lichliter, Robie Osterman, George Washburn, Pete Whitbeck, Jake Herzog, Marty Herzog, Gerry Chartier, Paul Whitbeck, Paul Muller, Bob Donnelly, Elwood Vanderbilt, Dave Hodgetts, Lou Schenck, Duncan Bellinger, Herb Bahrmann, Rev. Jay Francis, Frank Weber, and me.

On Tuesday, Sept. 6, the Old Men of the Mountain had an unusual meeting at Mrs. K’s Restaurant in Middleburgh. The proprietor of the restaurant was on vacation in Maine where she unfortunately had a medical event and was taken to the hospital in York, Maine.

The irony of this is that this scribe was at Cape Porpoise in Maine sometime back and had a medical event and was taken to the hospital in York, Maine.

The proprietor of the restaurant had her problem evaluated and fixed. The scribe (as is usual with this OF) remembers the hospital couldn’t find what was going on and instructed him to see his doctor when he got home.

In this case, the OF’s doctor said he had a whopping case of solar neuralgia and the medicine was to wear a hat. This scribe does, and the neuralgia is gone.

The proprietor then related a story to the OMOTM about her experience at this hospital with another patient, who the proprietor thought was a regular. The proprietor did not know if the patient was inebriated or had a mental condition, but he came into her room and started up what seemed to be a normal conversation.

Then this character sat at the edge of the proprietor’s bed and continued to talk. Then before she knew it he tried to get into bed with her and his whole demeanor changed. All this was going on while the proprietor’s husband was sitting on the other side of the curtain.

The proprietor said her husband was getting ready to take care of the situation and she said she would handle it and went to the nurse’s desk and reported what was going on. They (hospital security) of course did take care of it and the visitor was taken away.

As the proprietor said, “You can’t make this stuff up.”

Welcome to Maine.


Back to school

School is back; some of the OMOTM met school buses on the road Tuesday morning. Going back to school caused two reactions from the OFs — some say, “No way” while others would like to be that age.

One OF said he would like to go back to school as a junior but have the knowledge he now knows about women and to heck with the school work.

Another OF said he learned what he knows more naturally than from books. There is a big question here. What about reading, writing, and arithmetic? Sometimes it is hard to remember when we learned to read, write, and add, multiply, and divide.


COVID not over

At Mrs. K’s, there was another event. One OF felt fine at the table having his coffee but, when the OF got up, he did not feel so well. When paying his bill, the OF felt a little wobbly and by the time the OF got to the front door he had to sit down.

The OF did not sit for too long and felt worse. It wasn’t long before the ambulance was called and the OF took an ambulance ride to St. Peter’s while other OFs took his vehicle to his home.

St. Peter’s emergency drop-off was packed with ambulances. It was raining as the ambulance from Middleburgh unloaded the OF in the rain, out on the drive. Great way to start.

Inside, according to the OF, the gurneys from the ambulances were lined up in the hallway in the order they arrived at the emergency room. It was quite a while before the Middleburgh group was first in line.

Once in the hospital, the OF said, he watched the show in the emergency room area for 12 hours, on a gurney, in a hallway, and he saw how dedicated the people who work there are. They treat everyone from addicts to people banged up from head to toe, complete weirdoes, and from really old people to crying toddlers.

Occasionally, someone would come and check out the OFand take the OF’s vitals. Eventually, the OF found out he was waiting for a room because he was being admitted and the hotel was full.

The OF said he had something wrong but the doctors could not figure it out. One doctor, the OF said, thought it would be best to do a CT scan, while following up on the heart, which was fine, but the symptoms weren’t.

Finally, the following morning, there was a room and the OF was taken there and the OF said, before he was even in the room, he was whisked to have the CT scan.

The hospital had the OF all wired up to check out his heart, yet all the evidence noted there was nothing the matter with his heart. Eventually, they had the CT scan report and a doctor came and told the OF he had blood clots on the lungs.

Both lungs had clots going all around on the bottom. The doctor asked if the OF had had his COVID shots — and the OF did have them and was boosted. However, the OF said he did get COVID and had quite a time getting over it.

The doctor said he wasn’t over it yet. The clots were a result of COVID and he might have three to six months to go.

The OF said, “What a bummer; I knew I wasn’t feeling normal.”

The OF said he felt OK but not normal. “Ya know what I mean?”

One OF answered, “You OF, you never were normal, so how could you tell?”

Another OF suggested The OMOTM should purchase one of these yellow buses and have someone go around and gather everyone up and bring them to the breakfast. That would be some chore because to gather up Rick LaGrange, Doug Marshall, Harold Guest, Wally Guest, Otis Lawyer, with guest Don Martin, Glenn Patterson, Mark Traver, Joe Rack, Ken Parks, Duncan Bellinger, Wayne Gaul, Ted Feurer, Robbie Osterman, George Washburn, Bill Lichliter, Pete Whitbeck, Jake Herzog, Frank Dees, Marty Herzog, Russ Pokorny, Herb Bahrmann, Jack Norray, Lou Schenck, Bob Donnelly, Elwood Vanderbilt, and me, would be one heck of a route.

As we get older, the days of the week seem to become bunched up. The week seems to be filled up with Mondays or Tuesdays or whatever day routine commitments are made.

It seems like, when one is finished, there is an immediate time to go to another. So it was on Tuesday, the Sept. 30; the next thing you know it will be Tuesday, Oct. 6, but still in September the Old Men of the Mountain were at the Middleburgh Diner in Middleburgh.

The OMOTM must drive their doctors crazy because in the morning most of these OFs pack away some awesome meals and none of it the good stuff. Hey! At the ages of these OFs, who cares?

Let the OFs eat and be happy. Or as one OF puts it, “We got this far on what we ate so maybe doctors should be eating what the OFs eat.”

To go along with this attitude, one OF brought one of his grandsons as a guest. The grandson is a senior at Brigham Young University in Provo, Utah.

This somehow brought up a conversation about kids and grandkids. The OF who brought the grandson said he had 19 grandkids and four great-grandkids.

An OF sitting kitty-corner to this OF piped up that he had 17 great-grandkids, and one was just born and is the first-born great-grandkid to carry on the family name.

For a while, Christmas at these homes must have been a zoo. Also, neither one of these OFs attempted to run off the names of all these siblings.

Farmers generally work from sunrise to sunset, 12 hours and longer days are normal, but now we know what the farmer does for relaxation.


Drought, floods , and fires

This scribe has a note that right now makes little sense. The note says “Old Lawns.”

It took some time for those two words to sink in but they finally worked their way through the caverns of the brain to tell what they meant. It was not so much about lawns as it was how dry it has been (which everyone knows) and how ponds and wells are beginning to dry up, let alone how so many brown lawns are popping up in the areas the OFs’ haunt.

All the people in the Northeast know we are in great need of a good soaking rainfall, not these few thunderstorms that can drop an inch in an hour but only cover two or three square miles.

One OF said every little bit helps, so don’t complain too much about the more violent storms that go through.

Another OG thought that the world was drying out to get ready for the big fire, to which still another OG said, “Put the brakes on that one — how about Tennessee, Arkansas, Texas and a few others? Those guys are looking for the next big flood.”

Another OG said this planet has been around for a long time and had many changes; even the area we OFs live in now was once under ice. The Pine Bush was part of a lake and that was not that long ago.

This OF said, “Don’t sweat it. Eventually this ball is going to tip and we will all fall off.”


Bigger worries

This particular OF is not worried about that kind of stuff. This OF’s concern is technology and what is going to happen when the world becomes a moneyless society and everything is done by phone.

The OF is afraid even credit and debit cards will be useless and all anyone will have to do is point a phone at a screen and the transaction is done.

The OF said he has trouble with a simple flip phone; to this OF, that type of technology is complicated enough for him. Everyone staring at a back-lit screen is driving this OF nuts.

Eventually, the OF thinks, people are going to evolve into having only one eye because they will be so focused on a single point. Who knows, the old goat may be right because stranger things have happened. The idea is not foreign; look at the Odyssey by Homer.


Making plans

To this scribe, it is good to hear so many of the OFs making plans to do this or that, go here or there, or purchase something big. All of this may or may not happen.

It is the planning that is important right now. Forget what might happen in the next few weeks — plan ahead.

As mentioned before, one OF is planning on quite a trip a few months down the line. Others are planning the trip to their winter digs.

One OF not only planned on downsizing but did it and found out, in that case, all the planning in the world came nowhere near what happened when it actually happened.

Another OF can hardly walk, has the routine aches and pains, has trouble walking down an incline, even a short one. The OF said, by the end of it, he has to run, and he can’t run. (What fun these OFs have.)

The OF just purchased a new 75 horsepower John Deere. What in the world is he going to do with that? Hey, it is his money, so what!

The Old Men of the Mountain who made it to the Middleburgh Diner in Middleburgh and parked their John Deere B’s, Farmall M’s, Oliver 60’s, Allis-Chalmers B’s, even a Fordson out back were: Harold Guest, Wally Guest, Doug Marshall, Miner Stevens, with grandson Brian Mclaughlin, Wayne Gaul, Ted Feurer, Jake Lederman, Ed Goff, Bill Lichliter, George Washburn, Robie Osterman, Pete Whitbeck, Otis Lawyer, Herb Bahrmann, Lou Schenck, Jack Norray, Richard Vanderbilt, Bob Donnelly, Elwood Vanderbilt, and me.

Do you know what day it is — do you know what day it is? Nope, it is not Wednesday; it is Tuesday, Aug. 16, and the Old Men of the Mountain met at the Your Way Café in Schoharie.

This Tuesday, the scribe made it and the notes will be firsthand, if that means anything. Only one hearing aid is working, and even that doesn’t mean much — it is still all noise and this scribe tries to filter out words here and there.

One conversation was on the Yankee baseball team and how they seem to be falling apart. It looks like there are a few Yankee fans in the group, but the Mets did not seem to have any, at least any that were as vocal as the Yankee fans.

Apparently the Yankee baseball team was cleaning house and way ahead in league standings. Then, according to these fans, they (top Yankee bigwigs) thought there were better players out there and so the Yankees went after them. Now the team with all these new hot-shot players is worse than the ones that got them on top in the first place.

These fans think management should have left well enough alone and the team would still be going great guns. Then again, what does the scribe know at his age? At the ages of the OFs, none of them could hit a 90-mile-an-hour fastball.


Fickle weather

Rain this year is a scarce commodity in many areas of the country, and in other areas way too much rain is falling. One local storm was discussed at Tuesday’s breakfast and this storm apparently hit one very small area in Schoharie County.

One OF said it was right over his house; another OF who doesn’t live that far away did not get a drop. The first OF said there was thunder, lighting, wind, and rain by the bucket for about 20 or so minutes, and then it was done.

Gone! Leaving sunshine and wet grass like someone turned off a faucet and turned on the heat.


Driving discourse

Another OF told of his planning for taking a thousand-mile trip to visit relatives that he has not seen in years. It is good to plan trips like this while the OFs are young enough to drive and still enjoy it.

Driving, to many of the OFs, is getting to be nothing but a chore. Too many cars are on the road, and all these cars seem to know where they are going and have to get there in a minute or so.

One OF thought differently. This OF said he has observed driving habits for a long time, and part of his job was driving. This OF said that most drivers behave themselves; it is the occasional jerk that causes all the problems.

Watch a busy street out of a window and note how most vehicles behave the same way in terms of their speed, stopping distance, start-up, and all the drivers’ abilities. This is regardless of age, sex, race, education, or physical ability. On an interstate, it is basically the same.

But don’t forget everyone should watch out for the occasional “jerk.” (The scribe’s wife says, when we OFs were young-uns, weren’t we all jerks, and in more ways than one, she added.)


Flea markets return

It seems the “pandemic” as it is now termed, was more pronounced than when the OFs were going through it. Some of the OFs feel we are still in it.

However, a good number of OFs in our group are flea-market aficionados and say many of their haunts are back in business. Who would have thought during the two years of COVID that this type of business would also become a victim and dry up? But, according to some of the OFs the flea markets are back and seem to be doing well.

The OFs are happy that the number of vendors and those attending the place where fleas can be purchased have also increased. One OF said he thinks any events like this are well attended because people are just glad to get out.

Another OF mentioned he thought that flea markets, garage and estate sales, and auctions will do well right now because buying used items is going to be the thing to do, mostly because buying new is too expensive.

One OF who knows quite a bit about this example of merchandising says it always has been this way. This OF said there are a lot of good, used, high-ticketed items out there that many people miss out on.

The OF said, if young people are looking to furnish their first place, the best store to go to is the auction house and bid against a dealer. The OF said, that way, the young people will generally be able to purchase good used items at less than cheap new items in a regular store.

This scribe thinks this is much easier said than done. It might be best to go with someone who knows the ropes before jumping into this game on the first shot.

Those OFs who were so old that they are old enough to be auctioned off as antiques but instead were at the Your Way Café in Schoharie were: Jake Lederman, Wayne Gaul, Ted Feurer, Rick LaGrange, Miner Stevens (who was voted the oldest person with a beard at the Knox bicentennial; Miner was at the breakfast sans beard), Joe Rack, Mark Traver, Glenn Patterson, Doug Marshall, Jake Herzog, Marty Herzog, Pete Whitbeck, Bill Lichliter, Robie Osterman, George Washburn, Duncan Bellinger, Bob Donnelly, Dave Hodgetts, Elwood Vanderbilt, Rev. Jay Francis, Lou Schenck, Jack Norray, Ed Goff, Johnny Dap, and me.

This is so far a two-parter; it will be the meeting of the Old Men of the Mountain at the Chuck Wagon in Princetown on July 26 and the one at the Middleburgh Diner on Aug. 2. Even though it’s hot, the summers just seem to fly by.
Many say it is already August and there is nothing anyone can do about it. August is August, and September is September; no one can say they are not ready yet. It is here.

On July 22, the OMOTM had their annual (or it is becoming an annual) event, a picnic hosted by a gracious OMOTM that allows the OFs to come to his cabin on Warner Lake, then park and stomp all over his lawn.

According to the OFs in attendance, the weather was hot but in the shade and on the water it was more than tolerable. The reports stated that the Old Men of the Mountain and the wives who made it to this situation had a good time, with conversation, boat rides, food to pass, and the host preparing the burgers and dogs.

Like one OF said, “We are too old to have this much fun.”

However, no OF has ever heard that, once anyone becomes 80, fun stops. Maybe it becomes better because at that age fun is more appreciated.

One of the topics at the picnic was the use of air-conditioning. What an invention that is, especially with a summer like this.

Now last summer was a different story. Take the two summers and average them out and it is not that bad. This is how figures can lie if looking for a place to move to.

The area looks good when figuring in the averages; however, no one says freeze one summer or cook the next summer, shovel snow over the OF’s head one winter, mow the lawn in January the next.

Ah! The Northeast! At least we are not burning up, or washing away in a flood, or blowing away in a hurricane.


Hearing aids

The breakfast for July 26 was at the Chuck Wagon in Princetown and, by the reports forwarded to this scribe, most of the discussion was typical for a gathering of OGs. The reports of the OMOTM have reported many times on hearing aids.

This time there was a unique description on the OFs leaning in to listen to the conversations. This is understandable to those who wear hearing aids.

The OF reporting commented that we should all just pass notes back and forth. Not a bad idea. At least that way there would be fewer mistakes in the conversation by the OFs not hearing the right word.

Sometimes this scribe bets there are as many as four or five interpretations of the same conversation because of the misunderstanding of the same word.


Food for thought

At the Middleburgh Diner on Aug. 2, the early topic (of course) was food, and often the OMOTM mentioned food because that is what the gathering is all about — breakfast, and not having to get your own.

It was brought up who has the best, and also the worst of the morning’s repast. One breakfast item mentioned was waffles (best and not so hot) but it was also mentioned that not all restaurants have waffles.

Some years back, there was a restaurant the OMOTM frequented called the Alley Cat, and on occasion when strawberries were in season they had waffles with strawberries and whipped cream. At one time, when this was on the white/black board as a breakfast special, a few of the OFs ordered that for breakfast.

At that time, we had an OF who, in his bibs, carried a complete tool box in one pocket; a whole design package in another; and pens, pencils, rulers, etc. in another. In this pocket, the OF had what he called his boarding house-reach fork. This fork extended to about two feet so the OF was able to reach just about anywhere on the table.

This OF ordered the waffle with strawberries and Cool Whip; when the breakfast arrived, the OF whipped out his ruler and measured the offering. That thing measured 8 inches high. Have that for breakfast and the OF was able to skip lunch. The OMOTM have not seen that type of waffle for breakfast since the Alley Cat.



Eating out as the OFs do is getting to be a serious chunk of the budget nowadays. This is understandable because the OFs know what it costs to produce food, with all the increases thrown in.

The grocery stores and restaurants can’t sell at a loss for many items, so guess who pays in the end? The OMOTM, and all the others.

The problem is, most of the OFs pay more, but their income stays the same. Duh, the OMOTM want to know — does anyone see a problem here?


What a mess!

The problems with the rain in the central-eastern part of the country brought up more discussion on our own Irene flooding but the problems there made Irene look like the bathtub overflowed. What a mess!

The OFs say the country is dealing with the two worst scenarios: fire and water at the same time.



It has been brought to our attention that one of the Old Men of the Mountain has passed on. Bob Benninger has died and is another OMOTM going to join the band of OGs in the clouds for breakfast on eternal Tuesdays.

As this is a report for a couple of Tuesdays the list of names for protection will be omitted and those who got into trouble and planned on using the OMOTM as an alibi are on their own.

On Tuesday, July 19, The Old Men of the Mountain met at the Your Way Café in Schoharie.

When traveling, many of the OFs (along with many others) drive right past restaurants and diners like those the OMOTM frequent. The thought, by some, is that they are not too sure how clean these places are or what the food is like.

One OF said that he thinks those travelers are missing out on some great places. Still another said that he has found it both ways.

Some eateries (like the ones the OFs visit) are great, but others are just like what the OFs fear — greasy spoons, torn seats, surly waitresses, and food and flies on the same plate. One OF said places like that are fronts for whatever is going on in the back.

“Yeah,” another OG answered, “could be.”

The OF added he looks where there are a lot of trucks, or pickup trucks parked, and eats where he finds lots of these trucks.

A third OF said most of these guys don’t put up with any nonsense; they want a clean place, lots of good but not fancy food, and maybe one or two good-looking waitresses. To which another OF replies that he doesn’t care, he will take a waiter, or a mom or grandma, as long as they are pleasant and efficient.

The question still remained: How does anyone know if waiting on table is their first time through? Good question was the answer; that is part of the thrill of the trip, unless someone has told the OF where to go before he starts out.

Many OFs have been trapped by signs along the roadway. Stop where the signs suggest and the place is a dive.


Dearth of young volunteers

It has been mentioned over and over in this little report how the OMOTM is loaded with volunteers for this, that, and the other thing. Some of these OFs were talking about how volunteering has fallen off. All the OFs were wondering why this was so.

It seemed to be that it was harking back to the internet and too many young people, at the age they are encouraged to volunteer, are working their thumbs on their smartphones.

One OF did say there are some that do volunteer and he mentioned a recent experience he had with the Boy Scouts helping out. But (the “but” still remains) there do seem to be fewer young people volunteering and the OFs are concerned.


On the tongue of the taster

Sometimes this scribe comments on the breakfasts the OMOTM put away. Tuesday morning was maybe a winner.

One OF was telling how another OF prepares his oatmeal. According to the OF (snitching on the other OF), by the time the OF gets done with the add-ons, oatmeal is a minor ingredient.

He winds up with only one of these ingredients being oatmeal, the rest being honey, fruit, and peanut butter. That must be a weird taste sensation; then again each to their own taste as well as their eyesight. Beauty is in the eye of the beholder, so it must go: Taste is on the tongue of the taster.


Baler fire

There was some discussion on a local fire; one OF asked another OF a simple question, “I hear there was a fire up your way yesterday?”

“Yeah,” the OF answered, “It was me.”

That perked everybody’s ears up. The OF said it was his baler that caught on fire.

Odd the OFs talked about balers last week and now we have a baler catching on fire.

The OF said he tried to extinguish the fire himself but it was too hot to get close enough to be able to do that so he called the fire department. The OF said everyone showed up, police, ambulance, fire trucks, the whole ball of wax.

The way things are this summer no one wants a field of hay to start burning and work its way into the woods. As was said just recently, what a mess.


Drought drama

There was a brief discussion on wildlife. Somehow this was connected to the volunteering but was a side track that didn’t seem to connect.

Some of the usual watering holes, which are tucked off on the trails, that birds and animals would frequent are drying up, and the same creatures are going to the bigger ponds. So th OFs are reporting seeing, at times, deer-like cows at farmer’s ponds around the area, and some of these ponds are getting low.

It is not like situations like this haven’t happened in the past where wells and ponds have gone dry. According to the OFs, we are close, really close, but not there yet.

It is time to let the car get dirty and forget washing it for a while. Let the lawn turn yellow or brown — it will come back. Hey! Brown is the new green.

The Old Men of the Mountain who met at the Your Way Café (and lucky for the OMOTM no OMOTM way of eating was peanut butter on oatmeal) were: Mark Traver, Glenn Patterson, Joe Rack, Doug Marshall, Wally Guest, Harold Guest, Miner Stevens, Rick LaGrange, Jake Herzog, Marty Herzog, Duncan Bellinger, Robie Osterman, Pete Whitbeck, Frank Dees, Bill Lichliter, Herb Bahrmann, Lou Schenck, Warren Willsey, Jack Norray, Russ Pokorny, Dave Wood, Dave Hodgetts, Bob Donnelly, Gerry Chartier, John Dap, and me.