By John R. Williams
On Tuesday, Jan. 29, the Old Men of the Mountain met at the Country Café in Schoharie. The weather outside was frightful, but the fire was so delightful that some of the OFs decided not to chance it and so they stayed in by the fire.
It is understandable with some of these OGs because it was a little tricky walking in spots. Some of the OGs have trouble walking when they are on dry ground and, for them, Tuesday’s choice to stay in was not a bad idea. Even so, these OGs do get out and about when they can.
The roads were fine but there were areas on the sidewalks where it was just a glare of ice, and glare is the operative word here. One fellow did take a spill, and another person, much, much younger than the OFs, put on quite a dance to maintain his equilibrium but he did.
Once anyone gets past 60 years old, falling is one of their major fears, and, at the ages of the OFs, this fear becomes even greater. Some of the OFs have only one good eye, or are on canes, or wear orthopedic shoes, or wear hearing aids (among other things) and all affecting the OFs balance so much so that at times people may think they are drunk by the way they waddle. (Well maybe one OF is — hmmm — these factors make for a good excuse.)
All the OFs who made it did saunter into the Country Café where it was worth the trip; the banter and breakfast was a great pick-me-up from some of the gloom of gray winter days.
Dissolve the village?
A topic that the OFs spoke about was what is going on in Middleburgh? Why do they want to dissolve the village? Is it a money thing, or does it have something to do with the flood, or is it just a political maneuver that the OFs don’t understand?
The vote is supposed to be early February, but as far as the OFs know there is nothing out there as far as information goes, and a lot of the information is just rumor.
This next discussion is nothing new to our wives, girlfriends, or kids. The OFs declared that they are rather set in their ways!
Many of the OFs have had 80-plus years for this cement to harden. One OF said it is important to keep the area between the ears fluid and not let it harden up like the rest of their bodies.
A few OFs said to try and learn something new every day, to which one OG said, “Yeah, they all say that but I bet those that say it don’t do it.”
Then one more OG said that he tries to learn something that might take a year just to keep his mind going. This OG suggested we change our routine; brush our teeth with our left hand for a month, put on the opposite shoe first, wear bright colors, buy a couple of pairs of kaki pants instead of jeans, grow a beard, shave off a beard, and do things differently like take a diverse route home.
This OF said, “Don’t let your brain atrophy like your body does because, when the brain is kept fluid, no matter what happens to the rest of our bodies, we will be more interesting persons to be around.”
Plowing bare roads?
This year, the OFs noticed that for some reason the snowplows seem to be plowing bare road. One OG said he can hear the plow coming from half a mile away, sparks a-flying from under the blade.
The other OFs in unison joined in, in agreement.
“There must be some reason for it,” one OF said, but he doesn’t know what the reason is.
It is not just one town or place. The OFs from Cobleskill, Schoharie, Knox, Berne, most all over, said the same thing. One OF said that at three o’clock in the morning he hears them coming.
Then another OG threw in a thought — he bets the operator says, “Hey, if I have to be up and out here at this time in the morning, I am going to wake all you (nasty word) up too.”
Another OF said that might be a true statement for the C-130 pilots on their early morning training missions also. One OF said that he must sleep sounder than the rest of these guys because that plane goes right over his house (often so low he can see the pilot) but he doesn’t hear the plane or the plows at night.
BKW principal off base
We touched on the problem at Berne-Knox-Westerlo, and think the principal was totally wrong. The kid, as the OFs understand it, was in study hall.
Big whoop, the OFs remembered what went on when they were that age in study hall.
“Parents,” an OF said, “have a tendency to forget what they did when they were that age and in school.”
So what’s new? To hear some parents talk today, schools must have been loaded with saints when the parents of today’s kids trod the halls. The OFs think the rules in schools are necessary but they should have well-thought-out guidelines.
In this case, the phone should have been taken away, put in the teacher’s desk in a baggie with the kid’s name on it, and given back to him when he left whatever class it is.
That phone should never leave the kid’s sight without a warrant. What if it were the parent’s phone and there was personal information and some photos between husband and wife? In our opinion, this principal was way off base.
As long as we are what-iffing here — what if there were communications on planes to blow up the school on that phone?
“Then the principal would be a hero,” one OF added.
“That is a good point,” another OG said, “So the guidelines should be that any confiscated phone would be taken by the teacher and the contents of the phone examined in front of the parents, and the student. I bet that would stop all this phone shenanigans in school,” the OF continued.
The OFs have mentioned this subject before (hair growing where it is not supposed to) i.e., the advent of wrinkles that turn into actual crevices, which makes shaving a tough job. The OF can’t stretch his neck far enough to get all the wrinkles out so the whiskers can come in contact with the razor.
Who knows what else is lurking in the canyons of the OF’s skin? Anybody looking for a lost ATV?
The Old Men of the Mountain who made it to the Country Café in Schoharie who were well fed, and sorry they didn’t bring their skates, were: Roger Shafer, Mark Traver, Steve Kelly, Jim Heiser, Glenn Patterson, Roger Chapman, John Rossmann, Harold Guest, Frank Pauli, Dave Williams, Otis Lawyer, George Washburn, Robie Osterman, Bill Krause, Henry Whipple, Bill Rice, Jack Norray, Lou Schenck, Mace Porter, Gary Porter, Elwood Vanderbilt, Jim Rissacher, Harold Grippen, Mike Willsey, and me.