By John E. Williams
On Tuesday, March 5, the Old Men of the Mountain met at the Home Front Café in Altamont.
A brief discussion was held on the timing of the get together. Some OFs arrive as early as 7 a.m., and others closer to 9 a.m. As the group grew in numbers, the habits and the activities of the OFs also grew.
Some of the OFs have places to go and things to do so they are the early birds. Then there are the OFs who are more relaxed, sleep in, and just want to sit around and shoot the baloney. (Is bologna that has been shot Swiss bologna because it is now full of holes?)
The restaurants do accommodate the OFs no matter when they arrive and it might even make it easier on the restaurant’s staff because they do not have to serve 20 or so breakfasts all at once.
The OFs noticed that, as they have aged, they are less supple than when they were 50 or so. This makes exiting a vehicle not as graceful as it once was.
One OF mentioned it is not us not being able to bend like we used to, but the cars are smaller. This OF said he has bumped his head getting in and out of the car more times than he wants to remember, and one OG said, “We know that and you have hit your head once too many times because you can’t remember anything now anyhow”.
A couple of other OFs mentioned that we are out of the demographic of design because we are too old. They do not make clothes or cars, or lots of other things for older people because there are not enough of us OFs to market to.
“Yeah,” one OG said, “but we have the money, real money; the young snots are operating on credit cards. Until Singer came along,” he went on, referring to Isaac Singer who improved the sewing machine for home use and sold them at the exorbitant price of $100 on an installment payment basis, “there was no such thing as time payments. That still does not make me bend any better, or make it easier to get out of a chair. Bring back the bench seat, higher cars, and cars that look like cars, not these cookie-cutter things we have now where it is almost impossible to tell one make of car from another.”
“You’re just jealous,” one OF remarked, “because you want to bend like people younger than you — let’s face it, ’tain’t gonna happen, and right now, on the wave of life we are in, we are spending all our money on doctors and pills.” (Note last week’s column).
Was it the Bible?
On another subject, those OFs who watched The Bible on the History Channel, and who knew something about the Bible, were disappointed. At least the first show was the Bible according to the History Channel, not the Bible according to the Bible.
Some of the OFs left it halfway through, and some stuck it out. Most will watch Part Two just to see if they are any better at presenting it.
The scribe thinks this has been brought up before (but he is not sure) and this is about the C-130 plane that goes over the Helderbergs on a regular basis. The OFs do not know this for sure but it must be some type of either training exercise, or pilot’s monthly flight checks, but the plane (as it passes over many of the OFs’ domiciles) flies really, really low.
At times, it is possible to see the pilots — many of the OFs wave as it goes by, and a few swear the pilots wave back.
This C-130 has a distinctive sound and the OFs know when it is coming. Sometimes the weather is so bad the OGs can hear the plane but can’t see it.
One OF said that one day when the weather was really bad, he could hear it go over and said, if he were on the roof of his house, he could probably reach out and touch it.
A second OF mentioned that, as the plane passes over the escarpment at Thacher Park, it may be 300 to 400 feet in the air. But at your house (in less than a minute), it will be back at 1,100 or so feet in the air because the escarpment is about 700 feet high.
Another OF said some of the commercial flights seem low when they go over the mountain and they must have the same situation as they prepare to land at either Albany or Schenectady. Once they clear the escarpment, they now have about 1,500 feet plus the plane’s altitude over the mountain.
“No wonder they seem low,” one OF said. “I didn’t think about that.”
One OF wondered if they ever offer trips on that C-130 as it makes these runs over our hills. He exclaimed, “Boy I would like to take a ride in it just to see what it is like, just to meet the guys that fly it, and the crews that keep it going. Their trips to Greenland and Antarctica must be real adventures.”
Another OG retorted, “If I was younger, yes, I would like to go up for a fly-over, but now I think I would just be in the way. Maybe a couple of loops around on their local training or pilot check’s missions would be all I would want.”
Those OFs that made it to the Home Front in Altamont and all came in a vehicle — none on foot, or by horse, or by air — were: Bill Krause, Robie Osterman, Roger Chapman, Roger Shafer, Steve Kelly, John Rossmann, Harold Guest, Otis Lawyer, Mark Travis, Glenn Patterson, Jim Heiser, Mace Porter, Gary Porter, Jack Norray, Lou Schenck, Don Moser, Ted Willsey, Elwood Vanderbilt, Gerry Chartier, Harold Grippen, Mike Willsey, Jim Rissacher, and me.