The OFs’ motto: Tinker with the old to keep it running
The 27th of May, may be our one day of summer! Mark the calendar — it reached 87 degrees, and we had a hot day later on with high humidity.
On Tuesday, this day in May, the Old Men of the Mountain met at the Middleburg Diner in Middleburgh. The Middelburg Diner and the Duanesburg Diner in the Duanesburg are the only two restaurants the OMOTM travel to that have their locations in their names. All the others do not; however, some hint at it.
Anyone who is unaware of where the restaurants would be have to google the location, or ask a friend, or use a GPS system, but most of the OFs are a little suspect of that.
The OFs began discussing personalities; we each have one to some degree or other so the OFs then talked about the degree of personalities. This scribe must point out the OFs have rather high degrees of personality. The OFs state their opinions without rancor and that places them in a class of personalities that makes for harmonious conversations even with divergent opinions.
The OGs continued the conversation of yards and yard work of the last couple of weeks like there were no days in between the Tuesday breakfasts. These chats were much alike (we are OFs and the same stories told over and over are expected and normal, and to the OFs with short attention spans, even though the stories may be old, to them they are new) but keeping equipment going was the topic this past Tuesday morning.
Another aside about being OFs is just that many of these OGs lived through the Depression, World War II, and the times when there were enough possessions but still everyone was poor by today’s standards. Nobody knew they were poor because everyone was poor.
That little tidbit of information leads to why the OFs keep old machinery running and just don’t run out and buy new when something starts giving the OFs fits. Tinker with this old paraphernalia and get it going again is the OFs motto.
The magic screwdriver
One OF mentioned that he has a number of old lawnmowers a weed whacker, chainsaws, and equipment with other small engines. Somehow they had all decided they were tired of working and so they decided to quit.
A couple of OFs are geniuses when it comes to small engine repair, and one of these OFs was working on one of the lawnmowers, and he wasn’t quite done fixing it.
The OF who had all this equipment was like many other OFs who don’t know a thing about small-engine repair; sometimes, if they do know a few things about repairing them, they find they do not have the patience to mess with them.
One day, this particular OF took a small screwdriver and said he would try adjusting one of the mowers because it wasn’t running anyway. The OF adjusted a screw, pulled the rope, and brraaapp, son of a gun, it started.
“Holy cow,” the OF said. “I guess I will try another.”
So, he took the magic screwdriver and adjusted another motor that wouldn’t run and brraaapp, away it went running like clockwork. The OF said he then looked at the screwdriver in his hand and tried fixing a chainsaw that hadn’t run.
He turned the screw to what he thought was right, pulled the rope, and, slap your butt, there was another brraaapp, and it was purring like a kitten.
The OF said, “Now that is what I would call a good day.”
To have all the lawn equipment up and running is essential to many of the OFs. The OFs have manicured lawns, and they look good, but to show off is not the reason for having these types of lawns. Most of the OFs live in the country, and the OFs maintain their lawns to keep the creepy-crawlies down and away from the house.
Mowing the lawn keeps these critters down because they breed and live in tall grass. One OF said, not only the crawly things, but the little flying critters, too. Another OF said we should keep plants and shrubs away from around the outside of the house because they bring the unwanted guests into your home also.
There were quite a few “Oh no’s” from some of the OFs now that it is the beginning of the political ad season. Now is the time, at least with the big-position politicos, that the politicians who have the most bucks will bombard the radio and TV with ads “to try and convince the 10 people who haven’t already made up their minds,” one OF said.
A second OF opined, “The media loves this. Look at the bucks it reels in for them.”
In one OF’s opinion elections nowadays are not won, they are bought.
“Well, weren’t they in the old days also?” retorted one OF. “Only back then they handed out five-dollar bills, and cigars.”
“To which ‘back then,’ ” another OF said, “five bucks was worth something. Now you might just as well give a guy a quarter, and that won’t even buy a pack of gum — a lot of votes that’ll getcha.”
Changes in bathing
The OFs dropped that subject and went back to discussing bathrooms and how our bathrooms have changed over the years.
An OF said that he can understand that because he has trouble lifting his leg over the side of the tub to take a shower. It seems to be that, at our ages, a house does need two bathrooms — one with a tub for the soakers, and another with a walk-in shower for the OF who wants to be rained on.
In the good old days, the OFs took a bar of homemade soap, and went to the creek or pond.
One OF said, “You OGs have to remember we were YFs then.”
“What did our parents do?” an OF asked. None could really remember.
Those OFs who have lots of wrinkles from all that lye in the homemade soap and who had breakfast at the Middleburg Diner, in Middleburgh, were: Robie Osterman, George Washburn, Dave Williams, Mark Traver, Glenn Patterson, Jim Heiser, Harold Guest, Roger Shafer, Otis Lawyer, John Rossmann, Frank Pauli, Steve Kelly, Duncan Bellinger, Henry Whipple, Bill Rice, Andy Tinning, Miner Stevens, Bob Benac, Art Frament, Lou Schenck, Mace Porter, Gary Porter, Ted Willsey, Bob Lassome, Jack Norray, Jim Rissacher, Ken Hughes, Bill Krause, Mike Willsey, Gerry Chartier, Harold Grippen, Roger Chapman, and me.