Archive » August 2013 » Columns

Caregiving is a tough job. It’s especially tough when the one you’re caring for has Alzheimer’s disease or some form of dementia.

The Alzheimer’s Foundation of America estimates that as many as 5.1 million Americans may have Alzheimer's disease and one to four family members act as caregivers for each individual with Alzheimer's disease.

The need is great            

In response to this growing problem, the Northeastern New York Chapter of the Alzheimer’s Association is again partnering with Community Caregivers and the Bethlehem Public Library to hold a series of programs for caregivers.

Brief descriptions follow; for more information, see our website at All of these programs are free, but registration is required:

Know the 10 Signs: Early Detection Matters on Sept. 6 — A 1-hour interactive workshop outlining the 10 warning signs of Alzheimer's disease; separates myth from reality and addresses commonly held fears about Alzheimer's and dementia;

Memory Loss, Dementia, and Alzheimer's Disease: The Basics on Sept. 20 — A 1-hour overview of dementia and Alzheimer's disease and their progression;

Improving Communication on Oct. 4 — A 1-hour program outlining the causes of common communication issues, barriers we create, and tips and strategies for communicating with someone with Alzheimer's disease or a related dementia;

Validation Theory and Therapeutic Fibbing on Oct. 18 — A 90-minute interactive discussion about how to use validation to enter the world of a person with Alzheimer's disease. Your loved one may not be able to come back and live in your reality, but you can take trips to hers or his;

Recognizing and Coping with Caregiver Stress on Nov. 8 — A 60- to 90-minute program discussing what causes those who care for individuals with Alzheimer's and dementia to experience emotional and physical stress. The program also addresses how to handle the stress effectively and how humor can help; and

Holiday Hints for Caregivers on Nov. 22 — A one-hour discussion about how to better manage responsibilities during the busy holiday season to make the experience as positive as possible for you and your loved one.

Make plans to attend

The series drew record attendance last year (at the Guilderland Public Library), so plan to register early. Contact Tonya Garmley at 867-4999, ext. 200 or


One time, I had a long-term thing going via phone with a female deejay from a college radio station. I was a big a fan and we'd developed quite a rapport.

Then we decided to meet, and I brought along my buddy. Despite our friendship, once she met my buddy, she was "off me" and "on to" him quicker than you can say "and now for a message from our sponsor."  Strike one.

Then there was another girl that I liked. Again, we'd been friends for a while and I wouldn't have minded if it went further. One day, I introduced her to another one of my buddies and that was it for me. She even wound up marrying him. Strike two.

Finall,y I went to a bar with a guy I work with. There was a barmaid there. Before we even sat down, she took out a slip of paper, wrote down her number, handed it to my friend, and said, "Call me."

Even though I wasn't interested in her, I'll call it strike three anyway just as a matter of principle. I mean, it starts to hurt after a while.

Guess what the common denominator in these three incidents was, and I'll give you a hint it's not that I'm that bad looking or un-funny or don't use deodorant. All three of my buddies who "got the girl" have blue eyes.

Yep, big shiny blue orbs like "Old Blue Eyes" Frank Sinatra himself. If I didn't see it happen so many times, I wouldn't have believed it, but twice is a coincidence and three times is a trend as the saying goes.

What really sticks in your craw about something like this is there's really not much you can do about it. You are what you are, warts and all, including having non-blue eyes.

Yes, you can try and change things about yourself (plastic surgeons, for example, make a fantastic living) but truly you are what you are. The bigger question is, why does something seemingly so trivial like eye color make such a difference to the ladies? I've given it some thought, as you can imagine.

If you walk around any office, you can't help but notice the wallpaper or background on all the computer screens, and the wall calendars and hanging photos. Many times, it'll be a picture of a sunny shore with perfectly blue water, or a cozy blue lake, along with the requisite clear blue sky, of course.

Blue is not only beautiful, but there's something calming about it as well. When your eyes remind a gal of the heavenly beauty of nature, you're one lucky dude, I'd say.

Then there's the scarcity factor. I haven't verified this, but I'd have to think there are many more guys with brown eyes than with blue.

That means that a blue-eyed guy is kind of rare, maybe not as rare as a blue lobster but rare all the same. So, like gold, blue eyes not only look good but they're relatively scarce, which can only increase their attractiveness.

Interestingly, when you're sad, you're said to be "blue," but if, when I was younger, I was getting the kind of action that my blue-eyed buddies were getting, I'd have written to Random House and told them to at least add an alternate definition for blue, for Pete's sake.

They say the eyes are a portal to the soul; must be the soul looks a lot better through a blue filter!

Remember the Bobby Vinton song "She Wore Blue Velvet?” Well, now you know why she did — she was obviously hoping to match up with a guy with blue eyes.

Now, I'm not saying ladies are shallow or anything like that in giving a guy's eye color such high regard. We all know guys can be much more shallow than that

But, as a brown-eyed guy who had better jobs and was funnier than not one, not two, but three guys who, seemingly only because of their annoyingly blue peepers, got the girl, it just gets frustrating after a while. Maybe if Van Morrison had sang about a Brown-Eyed Guy instead of a Brown-Eyed Girl, things would have been different — who knows, but I doubt it.

I know online dating sites are immensely popular. They spend lots and lots of money trying to come up with algorithms that can predict a good match. I can save them a ton of money right now — just add a check box to say if you have blue eyes or not.

From what I've seen, that should streamline the process big time. Let's face it, there has to be a physical connection for two people to hit if off anyway.

Apparently, for ladies, blue eyes is one very desirable trait in a guy. I've seen it with my own eyes, pardon the pun.

Now I'd like to end with some disclaimers, being that this is a sensitive issue:

— If you happen to be married to me, know that none of the ladies involved were as charming or sweet or intelligent or beautiful as you;

— If you happen to be a guy with blue eyes, know that I hate you (only kidding — not!);

— If you happen to be a lady, consider giving a guy with brown eyes a chance. Just like your cat, a guy with brown eyes can give you unconditional love if you'll only let him, and you won't even have to clean his litter box.

Crystal Gayle had a huge hit with "Don't it Make my Brown Eyes Blue." Well, don't it?

Over the past two months, Community Caregivers has added six people to its board of directors. The all-volunteer organization, which has been providing services to people in the towns of Berne, Bethlehem, Guilderland, Knox, and New Scotland for many years, recently expanded its service area into the city of Albany.

The organization is pleased to welcome the following new directors:

Girish Bhatia is the president and chief executive officer of GCOM Software Inc. GCOM Software provides services to the state of New York and New York City. The company was nominated as the fastest-growing company in the Capital Region in 2010, 2011 and 2012. Girish and his staff of over 200 serve the information-technology needs of the commercial and public sector.

Cindy Bulger is a resident of Delmar who retired in 2011 after a 35-year nursing career focused on critical care, home care, and public health. Cindy’s home-care experience includes seven years with the Albany Visiting Nurse Association and four years of hospital-affiliated adult home care at Overlook Hospital in Summit, N.J. Cindy is also a volunteer in the Habitat for Humanity ReStores and the Albany County Medical Reserve Corps.

— Joann Dunham Estes of Clifton Park is managing director of Computer Aid Inc. CAI is a global I.T. service firm that is actively engaged in managing over 100 Fortune 1000 companies and government agencies around the world. Prior to her work with CAI, Joann was a regional sales vice president, Government Solutions Sector for ACS, a Xerox Company in Clifton Park. Joann’s expertise in business development, strategic planning, and partnerships within the state and local public sectors is welcome on the board.

Mary Scanlan of Glenmont founded the Scanlan Communications Group in 1989. Her contributions to the arts, government, and the field of communications are extensive. Mary gained national media experience as an editor at Harper's Bazaar. She also served as director of Public Information for the New York State Department of Social Services under governors Hugh L. Carey and Mario Cuomo. Mary has written professional articles and her personal essays have been broadcast on the local National Public Radio affiliate. Mary has served on the board of directors of the Affording Housing Council of the City of Albany, Upper Hudson Planned Parenthood, and DePaul Housing Management.

Nicole Stein resides in Guilderland and has been the vice president for marketing at the State Employees’ Federal Credit Union since 2010. Prior to joining SEFCU in 2008, Nicole's professional experience spanned marketing and public-relations agencies and not-for-profit organizations. Nicole's community involvement is extensive. She currently serves on the board of directors of Rensselaer County Chamber of Commerce and previously sat on the boards of the Daughters of Sarah Jewish Foundation, the AIDS Council of Northeastern NY, and the Hebrew Academy of the Capital District. Nicole is also a past president of the American Marketing Association, NY Capital Region Chapter.

Carolyn Sutliff lives in Selkirk and is a Certified Financial Planner and Managing Director - Investments with Wells Fargo Advisors. A long-time supporter of Community Caregivers, Carolyn has also been active in the Boy Scouts and the Girl Scouts and served as trustee of the Methodist Church in Pleasantville, N.Y. Carolyn helped found the Habitat for Humanity Chapter in Westchester County and continues to be supportive of its work. Carolyn also served on the Investment Committee of the United Way, focusing on senior issues.

Editor’s note: Mary Neumann is on the Community Caregivers Publicity Committee.

— Parents: don’t buy the idea that your children “go through a phase” when they misbehave. If you do, your kids will try to get away with murder until they are in their “senior-citizen phase.”

— Parents: don’t let your children say “I want” whether it be cereal, Cabbage Patch dolls, or motorcycles. But this means that you, too, might have to take the word out of your vocabulary.

— Partners: don’t accuse your partner of having changed. Of course, he or she has. So have you. What you are really complaining about is that your partner is developing a mind of his or her own.

— Parents: Want to cut down on friction with your children? Give them two choices on everything from what to wear to what to eat or do. (Story before or after bath? Carrots or potatoes? snowsuit or wool pants?).

— Partners: Do not refer to your kids as “my children” in front of your partner.

— Partners: Do not tell him or her (or anyone else) to “relax” when they are upset. It will upset them even more.

— Parents: Do not dangle dessert as reward or punishment. If your child is not hungry let her or him leave the table (but do not call back for dessert).

— Partners: Never say, “What you should do is…” You might say: “ I would do it this way” or “Have you considered…?”

— Partners: Do not run down you partner’s parents no matter what the provocation. Your partner can do it; it’s different when you try.

— Men: Understand that most women like sex when everything is calm, clean, and friendly.

— Women: Understand that most men like sex even when they’re mad, sad, or angry.

— Men: Consider that most women like declarations of love during sex.

— Women: consider that many men want to concentrate on what they’re doing and will make declaration of love before (and sometimes after) sex.

— Adult children: don’t agree with everything your elderly parents say. Fight with them occasionally; it keeps the juices flowing.

— Parents: Never hit a baby because it is crying. It is crying because it is in need of something. Hitting will make the baby give up hope.

— Parents: If you must hit your child, do it when you’re angry. But discuss your anger later.

— Men: Don’t ridicule you partner’s need for emotional connections (telephoning, talking, writing.) This is the stuff that makes your relationship good.

— Women: Try to accept your partner’s inability or reluctance to express feelings. It’s a male disease. (Praise your boys differently.)

— Parents: apologize to your children if you have been wrong (every time!).

— Parents: If your child uses a swear word you do not like, first explain the meaning of the word, then give the reason for your objection.

— People: Cats scratch when you do something they don’t like, not because they are unreliable.

— People: Dogs have a sense of fairness. If you are unfair, you will break their spirit.

— People: do not criticize other people’s religion unless you can demonstrate beyond a doubt that your God has made you into a perfect person.


Community Caregivers is pleased and honored to announce it has received a $2,000 grant from Berkshire Bank. The award was presented to help the organization fulfill several key aspects of its mission, specifically providing services to low- and moderate-income individuals and educating caregivers.

The grant is particularly helpful as Community Caregivers expands into the city of Albany. 

The organization’s neighbors-helping-neighbors service model initially served the community of Altamont. Over the years, its service area grew to include Berne, Bethlehem, Guilderland, Knox and New Scotland. Following a grant from thestate’s Department of Health in 2012, Community Caregivers began providing services in several neighborhoods in the city of Albany.

“We are very pleased to have a new community partner, and I thank Berkshire Bank for their generosity. The funds will be put to very good use,” said Tom Tipple, Executive Director of Community Caregivers.

Berkshire Bank is also expanding its presence in the Albany area. Based in Pittsfield, Mass., Berkshire Bank now has more than 20 branches in the Capital District. 

Editor’s note: Mary Neumann is on the Community Caregivers’ Publicity Committee.


The day of July 30, the Old Men of the Mountain met at the Blue Star Café in Schoharie. It might be the weather, but many of the OFs are getting up earlier, and earlier.

As mentioned before, the original meeting time was 9 a.m. or so. Then, as the group grew larger, more of the OFs had things to do other than lay in bed and go to eat in the middle of the morning, so some OGs started coming earlier so they could get things done.

Now it almost seems that some should have keys to the restaurants so they can open it up and at least get the coffee ready.

This is a good thing!

It shows the OFs are out and about with projects to get done, and not rocking-chair bound. However, some of the OFs do show up not shaven, and look like they just tumbled out of bed, met their ride, and made it to the breakfast. This scribe wonders how many of the OFs are going to crawl back in bed when they get home from the breakfast.

What’s in a name?

Many parents agonize over what to name their kids. The parents, and their grandparents interfere; friends make suggestions. The new parents purchase books on names.

Some parents make sure the initials don't come up with something really screwy, or obscene. Most of the OFs have gone through this (as did their parents for them), trying to get the name right.

One OF mentioned that names can affect a person into adulthood and beyond; some names are a hindrance for getting ahead in life no matter how smart or talented the kid is. Then there is always the pressure to name them after Uncle Charlie, or Aunt Sarah.

One OF said he has two friends that changed their names for just that reason. The parents of these two tried to be too cute and hung a moniker on one of them that plagued him all through school.

This man said he changed his name as soon as he was legally able to do so. To get away from these memories, he joined the military. Now that his name was legally changed, everything had his new name on it and that is how everyone knew him. His life changed immediately and for the better.

One OF mentioned that he was in the third grade before he knew his name was John, and not Jack.

The names reported on the bottom of this little report carries some OFs’ names that, if you went to look them up in the phone book by the name listed, you would never find them, but that is the name they go by and people know them.

Another OF said that, when he was young, all he knew was the name his grandparents called him, and subsequently his own parents, and, when he went to school, the teacher called him by his real name and he did not answer because he thought it was somebody else. After all the names were called he told the teacher she didn't call him.

The teacher then asked him, “What is your name?”

He told her the name he went by and was used to; the teacher put two and two together and never called him by his real name again. Good for her.

Another group of OFs were talking about the exploits of a common friend and it was assumed that maybe they were talking about two different people.  However, once the conversation was sorted out, it turned out they were talking about the same person after all.  The person in question had one name that was given as a first name, but he went by his second name.

Yet another OF has a relative that has the real name of “Hugh,” but no one used that name; they used his middle name. When this young lad went to school, again the teacher called him by his given name “Hugh,” and at first the young man did not know who she was talking to. (Similar to the above scenario.)

But this teacher continued to call him Hugh, enough so that the kid was not too happy about going to school. When the mother noticed this reluctance to go to school, she asked him why.

The little boy said, "That teacher won't call me by my name she keeps calling me ‘Few’.”

So his Mom went and had a talk with the teacher, but by that time the kid had decided that "Few" was OK and when his mother told him she had a talk with the teacher, he told her, “That's OK, because I told the teacher it was OK to call me "Few" if she wanted to.” 

One OG said, “How about people with only one name? Look at Liberace or Cher, and a whole wagonload of others.”

This prompted the scribe to look these two up, and with a name like Wladziu Valentino Liberace or Cherilyn Sarkisian, the scribe might also have decided to go with only one name.

One OG mentioned that, when he was younger, he didn't mind being called Johnny, but, when he got older and in the service, he hated being called Johnny, and wanted to be called John.

Another OF said that happens a lot — Ron and Ronnie, Sam and Sammy, Ted and Teddy. To this OF, a “y” sound at the end of your name sounds like people are calling the cat.

Still another OG said, “That’s not so bad. How about Johnny Carson or Sammy Sosa? Some even called President Regan ‘Ronnie’.”

Then there are nicknames.

One OG said, “For the most part, we have no control over that. The use of initials is something else we have no control over.”

TJ, and BJ, and JB, are some friends of his and now this OF has to think hard to remember what their real names are. It is a wonder anyone can keep track of us.

Now one practical OG had to chime in, “No matter what we call ourselves, or what other people call us, the IRS will find us no matter what we are called.”

Fair time

It is fair time, and the OFs were talking about the fairs in the area — like the Sunshine Fair going on right now in Cobleskill. The problem is that this fair and the Saratoga fair are a little early for produce to be shown because much of it isn't ready yet.

The OFs say the term “country” has gone out of a few of the fairs. Cobleskill is the closest fair that still caters to farmers.

It is the opinion of the OFs the Altamont fair, located in Albany County, is definitely not farm friendly.  The OFs feel that those in charge seem to want to turn all the land in the county into housing developments, and they are doing their best to make it hard on farmers who will eventually give up and leave the farm and then the developers can take over.

Many of the OFs now go to the fair to eat grease. Fair time equates to the stomach growling and rumbling to the beat of "feed me grease, feed me grease," and it keeps doing this until it is satisfied with a fair-made sausage and pepper sandwich, followed with fried dough and a Coke.

One OF said he goes and spends a ton of money to get into the fair, and then he spends twice as much on a sausage-and-pepper sandwich (which has grease running out of it and down his elbows) as it is worth, and then asks himself, “Am I having fun now?”  He answers himself, “Well, now it is a habit, but 10 years ago it would have been loads of fun, and back then I wouldn't need the Prevacid.”

Those OFs who made it to the Blue Star Café in Schoharie, and not eating sausage and peppers for breakfast, were: Dave Williams, Bill Bartholomew, (and me) with our guests ( Art Williams, Hugh Williams, Jarrett Williams), Mark Traver, Jim Heiser, Roger Chapman, Roger Shafer, Steve Kelly, Glenn Paterson, Otis Lawyer, John Rossmann, Frank Pauli, Harold Guest, Miner Stevens, Robie Osterman, George Washburn, Jay Taylor, Art Frament, Bob Benac, Herb Swabota, Bill Krause, Ken Hughes, Don Moser, Lou Schenck, Gary Porter, Mace Porter, Jack Norray, Don Woods, Duncan Bellinger, Duane Wagenbaugh, Bob Lassome, Rich Donnelly, Elwood Vanderbilt, Harold Grippen, Mike Willsey, Ted Willsey, Jim Rissacher, Gerry Chartier,  and Steve McDermott.

— Photo by Nancy Lawson

Paying homage to a chess great, Peter Henner visited the grave of Bobby Fischer on his recent trip to Iceland.


This year, The Icelandic Chess Federation decided to contest the national championship in an open tournament (the Icelandic Open), not only open to all Icelandic players, but also to foreigners.

Four foreign players, including one American, myself, traveled to Iceland to play in this tournament.

Iceland is, per capita, the strongest chess-playing country in the world. Although the population of the country is only 300,000, it has 12 Grandmasters and 13 International Masters.

The country is also famous for hosting the 1972 world championship match between the American Bobby Fischer, and the Soviet Boris Spassky. Fischer spent his last years in Iceland, which graciously provided a home for him after his legal troubles made him persona non grata in the United States.

He is buried in the churchyard of a small rural church, outside of the small city of Selfoss, about 50 miles from Reykjavík.

In many ways, European tournaments are far more civilized then tournaments in the United States. Boards, sets, and clocks are routinely provided, and the boards are set up in advance by the tournament organizers.

The time control uses an “increment” — at the Icelandic Open, 30 seconds — which is automatically added to a player’s time after each move. This means that a player will have a minimum of 30 seconds for every move, which eliminates the horrible time pressure scrambles common to United States tournaments where a player may need to make a number of moves virtually instantaneously.

The increment also means that a player is required to record all of his moves since, as the tournament director explained to me, a player has time to write down his moves. Both players are required to sign and turn in their score sheets, which have carbon copies for the players themselves.

On one occasion, the setting sun was an obvious problem for the players and the organizers scrambled to put up screens for us; this would not have happened at a United States tournament.

Although I was somewhat nervous about possible differences in chess tournament customs (I even e-mailed the tournament website to ask if there was a dress code in the tournament), the scene was generally very familiar to me, except for the amazing lack of conflict and the smoothness of operations.

All the pairings were done by computer immediately after the conclusion of the round; there were no arguments about pairings. Only once in 10 rounds did I hear any arguments at all. Players were generally very polite and courteous, far more than in United States’ tournaments.

The tournament was played on the 20th floor of one of Reykjavík’s tallest buildings, with spectacular views of the surrounding city, harbor, and mountains — at least on the occasional periods of time when it was clear outside; it rains a lot in Iceland. The chess federation was given the site for free, and, while it was very spacious, it was also an unfinished floor with bare concrete walls and the absence of insulation did create a noise problem since the room for analysis was separated from the main tournament room only by a curtain. 

Schenectady teams lead Capital District Chess League

The Schenectady A team has clinched first place in the Capital District Chess League with a score of 4 ½ – ½, with one match left against the Albany A team. Its club rival, the Schenectady Geezers, finished second with a score of 4-2.

The Geezers were undefeated, at 3-0, and defeated the Uncle Sam Club with the help of a lucky win on first board when Phil Thomas tried too hard to win a drawn game and lost. Uncle Sam also finished with 4-2, but placed third on the basis of fewer game points.

However, the Geezers lost to the Albany A team, and then lost a tough match to the Schenectady A team, 2 ½ - 1 ½. There were draws between Phil Sells and Peter Michelman on Board 1, Carl Adamec and Jon Leisner on Board 2, and John Phillips and Dilip Aaron on Board 4. The only decisive game was on Board 3, where Bobby Rotter returned from a long absence from tournament play, to defeat the Geezers Michael Mockler.

The Albany A club is fourth at 3-2. Even if Albany defeats the Schenectady A to finish at 4-2, it cannot gain enough game points to catch Uncle Sam. Albany A is followed by RPI at 2 ½ - 3 ½, the Capital Region team at 1-5, and Albany B, also at 1-5.

Follow-up on the news

My March 21 column described a tragic situation, where Georgian IM Salome Melia was trying to raise money for an operation for a rare medical condition that threatened the life of her five-month-old daughter. There was a tremendous worldwide response to the fund-raising effort. Ms. Melia thanked everyone and announced that the surgery was scheduled for April 2, in Germany. However, neither any chess website, nor Ms. Melia’s Facebook page has any further information. It is good to know that the chess community rallied to Ms. Melia’s aid, and we can only hope that the surgery was a success. 


I have been writing this column for over three years. As some readers may know, I have recently commenced an indefinite sabbatical from my law practice, to devote the bulk of my time to other activities, including tournament chess, training for a marathon, and scholarly and creative writing.

I will also take a sabbatical from writing this column, at least for this  summer (when there is not too much chess news anyway), and possibly for the rest of this year.

This week's problem

The Uncle Sam Club’s fourth board, Dr. Chibbzo Ilonze, was the Most Valuable Player in the Capital District Chess League this year, with a perfect score of 6-0. As an unrated player, he was able to play fourth board, and, while he did defeat some very strong players, and obtain a performance rating of over 2200, we did not have the opportunity of seeing him play against other top players.

Unfortunately, Dr. Ilonze was only in the area for medical studies for this academic year, and he will be leaving the Capital District soon.

In his last game in the CDCL, he defeated the Geezers’ John Phillips. While Dr. Ilonze played a very strong game, he missed a forced win, which caused the ENYCA blogger Bill Little to comment, “Moves like this … lead me to question if Dr.  Ilonze is actually a 2200 player  [because] a Master is unlikely to miss the killing move  ____.”  See if you can find this killing move yourself.  

Before anything starts, this scribe has some old business to attend to. The scribe had an important date last Tuesday and left the breakfast a tad early, so now he must report that there were two attendees that arrived after he left.

So these men do not get into any trouble at home, or by some legal or illegal circumstance, please take note that they were at the breakfast on July 16. These OFs were Mike Willsey and Harold Grippen whose names did not appear on the roster of those in attendance last week.

The Old Men of the Mountain met this Tuesday, July 23, at the Country Café in Schoharie. The breakfast Tuesday morning had one of the largest number of OFs packed in any of the restaurants we frequent, and the names this time should total 35 plus one guest. (The poor waitress — she was not the guest).

With this number in attendance, one OF found a place in Cobleskill that would make the baseball-style caps with an OMOTM logo that the OMOTM wear on occasion. The OFs have had caps like this for awhile but many have been lost, or have gotten so cruddy they are not fit to wear in public, so this OF took orders for those who want to replace them, and for those who had never had one in the first place.

This OF could not have had a larger contingent of OFs to make his pitch to as he took this order — he sure wasn’t missing many OGs. 

At one time, an OF took the time to glue pins to the back of the New Hampshire quarter which depicted the "Old Man of the Mountain" as its centerpiece. This OF brought in enough of these "Old Man of the Mountain” pins to hand to all the OFs.

Many of the OFs took the pin and pinned it to the cap. Some of the OFs still wear this combination on their heads, especially if they go somewhere important. 

Maybe it’s a good thing that enough of these quarters were minted because the "Old Man of the Mountain" will be remembered for a long time especially in coin collectors’ collections.  Now, sadly, the face on the mountain is gone and it’s just a pile of rocks at the base of the cliff.

Neighborliness is a two-way street

One of the conversations we held was on good neighbors versus pain-in-the-butt neighbors. It was stated that this is a two-way street, and basically came down to this point — if you mind your own business, and respect those around you, then the OFs think things should turn out all right.

One problem that sets neighbors off is animals — especially dogs. That is one problem that the OFs can understand. Many people have dogs (including the OFs) but some people have curs, and therein lies the problem.

Yankees in the cellar?

A brief topic of conversation was about the Yankees; some OFs thought the Yankees are going to wind up in the cellar unless they somehow learn to hit the ball.

The OFs realize that the team is made up now of some triple-A players and, when they run out on the field with a name that is completely unfamiliar, and they don't look old enough to shave, the OFs slap their foreheads and say, “Oh no, where did he come from — has he graduated high school yet?”

Then some other OFs say to have faith because there is a lot of baseball left to be played, and the next Nick Swisher might be in triple-A and running out on the field.

Corn as high as an elephant’s eye

Remember the wet weather we had just a little while back? The OFs said this rainy weather was tough on their gardens; it is still the case, except for the corn.

As one OF said, “Boy, has that corn shot up. The local sweet corn may already be ready.”

The OF noticed much of the field corn tasseled out overnight. One OF mentioned that, when the farm stands open and the local fresh vegetables and fruits are ready, that is good eating.

The store-bought tomatoes are bright red, uniform in size, and taste like cardboard. A fresh local tomato, lumpy and off color, is a tomato and has a tomato taste.

One OF said a simple grilled-cheese sandwich with a fresh local tomato on it is better than a fifty-buck dinner in some fancy restaurant.

Another OG said that a couple of ears of local sweet corn, and a hamburger or a hotdog, some watermelon, and a cold beer — now that's a meal to write home about.

“All power”

Many of the OFs have an ongoing conversation on how the government is sticking its nose in our business. The original intent of government at its most basic level was to protect the people from threats, both within and without.

“Well, that has sure gone by the boards,” one OF opined.

Another OG added, “Now it seems you can't go to the bathroom because the government wants to pull down your pants, and allow you only two pieces of toilet paper.”

“It’s all power,” one more OF said, “and power is all a bully wants.  Power over a group, or an individual.”

You get the idea where this is headed but that is enough of that.

Those OFs who made it to the Country Café and just about filled up both rooms were: Glenn Patterson, Jim Heiser, Robie Osterman, John Rossmann, Harold Guest, Roger Shafer, Steve Kelly, Mark Traver, George Washburn, Dave Williams, Bill Bartholomew, Miner Stevens, Roger Chapman, Bill Krause, Harold Grippen, Mike Willsey, Duane Wagenbaugh, Art Frament, Bob Benac, Roger Fairchild, Herb Swaboda, Jay Taylor, Gary Porter, Mace Porter, Maynard Porter, Tom Filkins, Jack Norray, Lou Schenck, Duncan Bellinger, Ted Willsey (and guest Denise), Elwood Vanderbilt, Bob Lassome, Rich Donnelly, Jim Rissacher, and me.