First, I have to get the weather and date out of the way. The Old Men of the Mountain traveled to Middleburgh again to have breakfast with Loretta and Patty, at Mrs. K's Restaurant in Middleburgh, on Tuesday, Sept. 10.

Our area of the country has had a decent stretch of nice weather and some of the OFs are waiting for the other shoe to drop. Pessimists. The OFs also commented that this is the year of golden rod and teasel. The fields are bright yellow with these weeds.

The village of Schoharie had its garage-sale days on Saturday, Sept. 7, and some of the OFs were there. No matter how old the OFs get, it seems they always need something "and want to get it ‘cheap’." Why not?

How much longer have the OFs got to use whatever it is — why buy "new?"

Right now, this scribe needs four wheels for something he is building; this scribe thought he had some wheels but can't find them, or they have already been used. So the scribe checked out old lawn mowers at the sale so he could take the wheels off the mower and take the rest of the mower away to the landfill in case some one needs a small engine. Couldn't find any.

Like one OF said, "That is what garage sales are for, aren't they?"

"No,” another OF said, “I use the dump — why even spend five bucks for something someone is going to throw away anyway?"

The Navy, then and now

Some of the OFs who were in the Navy sat alongside each other and began to tell us what it was like to have been in the Navy 50 years ago. One of the OFs just had a tour of a new aircraft carrier because one of his relatives is now in the Navy and is assigned to the George H. W. Bush carrier.

This OF was also on a carrier many years ago — the USS Wasp. So these old Navy guys who are now OFs compared the two time periods of then and now.

It must be said there is a difference. You can't stop progress. 

These OFs mentioned sleeping on canvas bunks that would stretch as time went on, so occasionally they would apparently gather the canvas bunks up, and throw them over the side and drag them through the water. This little maneuver would shrink the canvas so they were tight again and the guy in the bottom bunk wouldn't have the guy in the top bunk sleeping right on his face.

The new carrier (the Bush) has fiberglass bunks with mattresses and privacy curtains, each separated with a little bulkhead that has two buttons — one for heat and one for air.

The Wasp was a little over 300 feet long; the Bush is a little over 1,000 feet long and carries about 6,000 thousand people. The Wasp had no Ladies Quarters; the Bush does. (Now, there is a big difference, the OFs said.)

The Bush has a MacDonald’s, a Wendy’s, and a Starbucks. The Wasp had tin cups and beef jerky. The Bush has two nuclear steam engines; the Wasp had a paddle wheel. 

The OF said that the Wasp had F-4U Corsairs and Grumman dive bombers; the Bush has jets. The OF said those flying off the Wasp landed with engines cut and, if they missed with the hook, the plane flew into a big net and was then pushed overboard. The Bush has the newest jets and the OF said they land full bore and, if they miss, they just juice it and come around again.

One thing the OF said a couple of times is — the Bush has no guns. The OF did not elaborate on how the carrier defends itself.  It must have something like heat-seeking rockets, or something newer.

The Wasp had all sorts of guns and gunners, but maybe with the older, slow-flying prop planes, that was sufficient.  However, with jets coming at you at 600-plus miles per hour, training a gun on this jet would be a trick. In World War I the pilots would shoot at each other with pistols.

The OFs continued with their then-and-now conversation on being in the Navy. Being in the military means a lot to some because these OFs wear caps identifying the types of ships they were on.

Flooded with memories

Somehow, the OFs still talk about the floods (from tropical storms Irene and Lee) that happened in Schoharie County in 2011 and they remember so many different stories and how it is still incomprehensible that there was so much water pouring from the heavens.

The OFs were talking the water damage done with ponds giving way, and culverts and roads being washed out at elevations from 1,200 to 2,200 feet. It seems that, when the OFs visit the restaurants in Middleburgh and Schoharie, a memory of the flood comes up each time.

Like many of the OFs say, it is hard to realize that we are sitting in a restaurant where at the time of the flood the water would have been over our heads. It still doesn't seem real.

This prompted talk of unusual high water that the OFs have encountered in their travels in the west and Midwest.  Arizona and Colorado were mentioned specifically.

One OF said he was caught in one of these "gully washers." This OF implied that the water comes just like someone turned on the tap because, even though it might not have rained where you are, it may have rained high up in the mountains, and the water comes rushing off those mountains and into the gullies.

“Some road signs,” the OF said, “tell you to abandon your car immediately and climb to higher ground when water starts building up in these dry gullies.”

Reunions of all sorts

High School reunions were another topic brought up.  Why, this scribe failed to catch, but this particular topic did come up.

Some of the classes seemed to have kids in them with a good group of genes because one OF said his class was missing some members but not many. Another OF said his class was just the opposite, that, out of the total number of kids in his class, half are gone.

College was not mentioned.  Probably because the high school reunions seem to mean more since most of the kids graduated with whatever OF they grew up with from kindergarten. College was a melting pot; friends were made but it was rare that you even knew the parents.

Military reunions, again, are different for the reason that these guys and the OFs went to hell and back with each other and there were also some had friends who never returned. That makes for a different kind of bond.

Those attending the breakfast at Mrs. K's restaurant in Middleburgh where the Class of 1952 from Schoharie had its reunion (my goodness, that was 61 years ago) were: Robie Osterman, George Washburn, Miner Stevens, Jim Heiser, Glenn Patterson, Otis Lawyer, Steve Kelly, Harold Guest, Bill Bartholomew, Dave Williams, Mark Traver, Frank Pauli, Roger Shafer, Roger Chapman, Duncan Bellinger, Art Frament, Bob Benac, Don Wood, Ken Hughes, Gary Porter, Mace Porter, Joe Liebier, Duane Wagenbaugh, Bob Lassome, Rich Donnelly, Elwood Vanderbilt, Harold Grippen, Gerry Chartier, Mike Willsey, and me.


Tuesday, Sept. 3, the Old Men of the Mountain met at the Middleburgh Diner in Middleburgh. Middleburgh became Middleburgh because it was the middle fort of three forts in Schoharie. It was called Fort Defyance and was the only one to hold during the Revolution.

The “burgh” was added later on (German for “hamlet”) so now you know it was the Middle Hamlet and how it got its name.

The OFs were mentioning again the aches and pains that come with the golden years. (Golden — yeah right!)  One OF said he lies in bed as long as he can in the morning because while lying there — for the most part — he doesn't hurt. Then the OF said he is forced to get up to leave some of the golden years in the toilet.

One OF said he walks bent in half for the first half-hour of the day until all of his joints become moveable and then he slowly straightens up like a flower reaching for the sun. Then the OF said he is pretty good for the rest of the day. This OF says each day he doesn’t reach for the Tylenol is a winner, and, when he reaches a whole week without the stuff, he marks the calendar.

Most of the OFs can relate to this. Some, though, have the morning Aleve as a routine.

“Ah, tough it out,” one OF said.

And another OF said, “Why? The pills are there and, if I don't hurt, so what?”

No real answer to that one.

Weed watch

Then, one OF said that, in the Hills, the marijuana plants are coming in and the helicopters are flying all over, trying to find the weed, and it is a weed.

One OF raised the question that, if the birds and the wind spread these weed seeds like they spread goldenrod, purple loosestrife, milkweed, and plants like that, and if there are enough marijuana plants around, will the same thing take place?  Will we have that stuff growing like ragweed, or aster — all over the place.

One OF said, “Hey, if that happens and it crops up on your land and you don't know it, or want it, and get caught with it, will you still wind up in the clink?”

“Good question,” an OF said. “That would be a good thing for some of us to check up on and see how the plant is propagated.”

A few OFs came back with the reply to “just check out marijuana” on the computer to see how it multiplies.

Responding were a few, “Not me, or me — with the way the cops and the government are now tied in to each machine, the sheriff would be at your door the next day asking questions.”

“Well, check it out in the library, write it down but don’t take the book out because Madam Librarian may have the same mandate to report to the authorities anyone that checks out these kinds of books.”

One OF said, “Yeah, we are way ahead of 1984.”

Trash or treasure?         

The subject of the difference between junk and collectibles came up, and there is a fine line here. To some, what looks like complete junk to others is "Rusty Gold.”

Somewhere along the line, junk is junk. Piles of completely useless stuff like broken beds, old mattresses, pails with no bails or bottoms rusted out, overstuffed chairs that reek with mold — that is junk. But a rusty old engine, a one-lunger that is salvageable, that is Rusty Gold.

“Where is the line drawn?” one OF said, “Between hoarding and collecting, and who draws that line? Just because to one person he/she doesn't like the looks of what another person has lying around, to them and others it is valuable and collectable, and contains a certain amount of history with each piece.”

Rusty Gold.

Old tires scattered about that are of no apparent or esthetic value can be considered junk, but let some artist do the same thing and it is considered art and people come to look at it and say how great it is. 

One OF said, “Give me a break. Junk is junk, and Rusty Gold is Rusty Gold, but sometimes it is hard to differentiate, who is to say?” 

Then another OF said something profound, and that was, “When it starts to become a health hazard to the collector, and the people around, then it is time for a third party to intervene.”

That is true.  Rats and other vermin bring a lot of nasty things, but the stuff that brings these pests is more likely to be garbage, and stuff like that is not Rusty Gold. Interesting conversation.

There are always two sides to any story and this is one of them.

“Is anything really clear cut?” one OF mused.

“Well,” one OF commented, “There is death and taxes; that is generally considered to be clear cut.”

A different OF said that the other OF had it backwards.  “It should be taxes and death,” he said, “Because my taxes are going to be the death of me — especially my new school tax bill.”

Those attending the breakfast at the Middleburgh Diner in Middleburgh, and not coming by helicopter were: Miner Stevens, Frank Pauli, Harold Guest, Roger Chapman, George Washburn, David Williams, Robie Osterman, William Bartholomew, Jim Heiser, John Rossmann, Roger Shafer, Don Woods, Herb Sawotka, Bob Benac, Mack Porter, Ken Hughes, Lou Schenck, Jack Norray, Bill Krause, Duncan Bellinger, Duane Wagenbaugh, Bob Lassome, Joe Liebier, Rich Donnelly, Elwood Vanderbilt, Harold Grippen, Ted Willsey, Jim Rissacher, Mike Willsey and guests Ray Bradt, and granddaughter Rena Bradt, and me.

This Tuesday, Aug. 27, was the day to shuffle off to Rensselaerville, and it wasn't raining or snowing, but there was elevation fog in spots, which maintained the weather conditions for the ride to the Hilltown Café in the hills of Rensselaerville. The OFs are sure the weather is saved just for the Tuesday when it is the Old Men of the Mountain’s turn to attack the Hilltown Café.

Tuesday morning, the OFs were talking about cows getting drunk on apples. Some of the OFs had the same experience and it is when cows eat lots of apples that have some degree of rottenness, and alcohol is already forming in the apple. One OF told how his father told the OF and his brothers (who were YFs at the time) to clear the orchard of the fallen apples because he was going to pasture the cows there.

Reasonable request — so the YFs went at it. The OF said they had quite a collection of rag bags on a wagon to put the apples in. The YFs filled rag bag after rag bag and dragged them to the stone-wall fence that separated the orchard from the farm road that went down to the creek and fields out back, and then they set these bags on the other side of the fence.

The cows were then let into the orchard — but did they graze on the grass?  No! 

These cows went right to the stone-wall fence and ate apples out of the rag bags like eating grain at the manger. When the cows were brought into the barnyard to be milked, they were drunk out of their minds, because the apples had a chance to ferment in the rag bags and were just about pre-apple jack.

The mooing was not just moo, but moOOooOO..Ooooo; then they would start over and most of them were doing the same thing, mooing like some animal sing-along.

The lead cow would walk up to the barn door, and not go in the barn; it would stagger around and try again. The other cows would just wobble from side to side and wait for the lead cow to go in, and still it did not.

The Yfs’ father was going nuts, hollering at the cows, hollering at the kids, then hollering at the cows again. Finally, one cow went through the door but it wasn't the lead cow. The other cows followed but, once in the barn, they were confused as to which was their stanchion and so they just milled around inside the barn, pooping all over the place with runny, awful smelling excrement.

There were a couple of pluses to this, the cow barn was in need of being white-washed anyway, and the bedding straw was a couple of days old, because the cows had no intention of using the gutter.

Once the cows were in the stanchions and milking began, another experience started.  The cows never stopped swishing their manure-soaked tails, and getting swatted in the back and face with one of these things is no fun. 

The milk had a weird aroma. It was three days before the milk could be shipped.

The OF said that, as YFs, they did what their father told them to do; he never told them what to do with the apples once they were in the bags and out of the orchard.

Another OF had the same experience but not quite to the same degree. Their cows ate the apples off the ground and the ones that again were starting to rot were ready to go into pre-applejack so the cows became a little tipsy and were laying down under the trees with stupid looks on their faces.

Making applejack

A couple of OFs mentioned that they have their cider presses ready to roll and then they will actually press cider as the apples become ready. One has an old wooden press, and the other has a more modern stainless-steel press.

Other OFs could remember pressing cider with the old wooden ones and a large hand crank that drove a screw to press the apples. The apples that got the cows drunk with the pre-applejack led to stories of the real stuff.

One OF told the story of making applejack, and he made it by leaving the cider in the keg until it froze solid. Only it doesn't freeze solid. As it keeps freezing, the alcohol content keeps increasing and that doesn't freeze.

The keg had a copper tube going to the center that had screw caps on it.  One cap was on the outside of the keg and one on the inside so that no fluid would get in the tube. When the keg was sufficiently frozen, the plugs were unscrewed and out came applejack. Proof content of the alcohol is anybody’s guess, only whatever alcohol content it was, that applejack was potent.

Some OFs used the skimming process where the ice on top was skimmed off and the jack would freeze again. The skimming was done until how much ice was formed on the top led to what the alcohol content might be.  The more ice, the lower the alcohol content.

The brother of one OF was building a new house up on the side of a hill with quite a drive going up to where the house was being built. When they were pouring the foundation for the house and the pour was finished, the OF’s brother invited the last concrete truck driver in for a break before he went back to the plant. The OF said his brother offered the truck driver a sip of his homemade applejack. (The tube to the center of the keg-type applejack is how it was made.) By the way, applejack looks like crystal-clear water.

The OF said his sister-in-law said she didn't think this was a good idea, but the OF’s brother said, “Hey, just a spoonful won't hurt.”

The truck driver took the spoonful and commented on how smooth and good it was and asked if he could have another sip. The OF’s brother got a glass and gave the driver a quarter of a glass full, and the driver sat at the table and slowly drank the applejack as they just sat around the table and talked about the job. The truck driver then said he thought he should be getting back and went to get up and found he couldn't move.

Applejack has that way of sneaking up on the drinker. The concrete-truck driver forced his way up by pushing on the table so hard it almost flipped, then he stumbled, semi-walked, and finally crawled his way to the truck.

The OF’s brother said he should wait awhile before heading out. All the while, the OF’s sister-in-law was jawing at them both, with a whole bunch of “I told you so's” and “You are going to get the man killed.”

The truck driver never made it down the driveway; he drove the truck off the side of the driveway and it rolled over, wheels in the air. The driver was not hurt because the whole event happened in slow motion.

The concrete company had to send out a huge wrecker to right the truck, which really wasn't hurt because, once it was back on its wheels, they were able to drive it back to the plant, but not with the truck driver who delivered the load of concrete.  He still had trouble standing up.

To top it off, the OF said his brother said the tow truck operator said, “I want some of what he had.”

The sister-in-law threw up her hands and went back in the house. 

This happened all because of a simple little glass of applejack. An apple a day will keep the doctor away, but the OFs said three or four bags of apples squeezed and fermented and nothing added, just apples, will bring the doctor in a hurry. Or worse yet, even only halfway to jack can cause the farmer to lose three or four days pay from the milk check.

Other topics

Other topics of the day were Christmas gifts, and kids, and how hard it is to break traditions once the kids get older.

Talk then resumed around Lyme disease (again) and also retirements out the window when the recession hit in the 1980s; New York State, and local taxes; and legislators who just don't care, because if a homeowner gets ticked and says he will move out of the state, someone will buy his house and nothing changes, so the legislators say “So what, go.”

Plus other topics, like always, and those OMOTM who traveled to the Hilltown Café in Rensselaerville to participate in these conversations were: (There are so many names here that it could be the column by itself) Bob Benac, Jack Benac, Herb Swabota, Art Frament, Roger Fairchild, Jay Taylor, Bill Krause, George Washburn, Robie Osterman, John Rossmann, Frank Pauli, Harold Guest, Roger Chapman, Miner Stevens, Jim Heiser, Glenn Patterson, Mark Traver, Henry Whipple, Bill Rice, Mace Porter, Gary Porter, Lou Schenck, Jack Norray, Ken Hughes, Steve McDonald , Duane Wagenbaugh, Bob Lassome, Rich Donnelly, Joe Lobier, Ted Willsey, Gerry Chartier, Harold Grippen, Mike Willsey, Elwood Vanderbilt, Jim Rissacher, and me.


Ah Tuesday morning, and a beautiful start to a beautiful day on Aug. 20, at least in the little corner of this planet that the Old Men of the Mountain call home. The OFs can imagine there are parts of this sphere where it wasn't quite so nice to wake up on Tuesday morning.

However, whatever it is, wherever it is, the OMOTM met at the Home Front Café in Altamont and covered many topics — fishing being one of them.

Not all the OFs fish but some do, and, just like any hobby, fishing is great for those who are retired; also like any hobby it costs a few bucks, one of which is the time and gas to get to the spot where it is legal to drown worms.

Listening to these OFs talk, one realizes that where they fish in some of these streams and lakes require overnights (and then some) especially those that chase to Pulaski to fish for salmon in the Salmon River.

Then there are the OFs who trudge off to far regions of the country to fish. They travel to Alaska, or go the oceans, or cast upon the Great Lakes, and they go to Florida for the tarpon.

This last mentioned fish is considered one of the great saltwater fishes, not only because of their size, but also because of their fighting spirit when hooked; they are very strong, making spectacular leaps into the air.  These fish are very bony and inedible so fishing for them is usually catch and release.

In many cases, this is not a chump-change hobby. Just like a golfer has the expense of clubs, greens fees, and sometimes memberships when pursing his hobby, the fishermen need all their gear, and sometimes a boat.

At the breakfast Tuesday morning, the OFs were talking about where to fish — what streams, ponds, and reservoirs had the best spots. This also included what permits were required to fish where. To listen to them and the knowledge the OFs had on all the requirements to fish was somewhat like listening to lawyers prepare a case.

This is what makes a hobby a hobby. The OFs’ minds are active, the OFs’ bodies are moving, and time is not stagnant.  For many of these hobbies, the OFs are outdoors in all kinds of weather, except maybe golf.

The odd part about this is that some of the OFs participate in all of these hobbies. Some have to hurry home from their golf game to get ready to go fishing, or hunting.

The OFs said that golf is their wuss sport.  If it starts to rain, the OFs run to the clubhouse.

“Well,” one OF said, “when it is really raining hard, we get on our carts and race to the clubhouse so we can spend more time at the 19th hole.”

According to the OFs, fishing in a stream is another thing. Fishing in the rain is the best, and many times, to get to where we are headed, we are crawling over logs and through the woods, whereas in golf we ride a cart, on manicured grass, and swing a stick every now and then.

One OG said. “You guys are all talking about reasonably healthy, ambulatory OFs — not all of us can do that.” 

Then another OF said, “Most of us keep busy only we don't call it a ‘hobby.’”

This OF said he was out in his workshop all the time, building something; another said he weaves every day, and others did other things that all took time and talent but they never called these hobbies.

“I guess most of us are into something and maybe more than one something — my real hobby is coming to the breakfast and associating with all you OFs. No, that is not a hobby; that is a chore,” the OF said

 “One thing I know,” he continued, “is that, no matter what your hobby is, or how old or young you are, to me, hobbies are a major contributor to the nation’s economy.”

The lure of auctions

What is the lure of auctions? One OF was telling about going to an auction and bidding on stuff he didn't need, or want but it was the challenge of the bid.

This OF said he wound up with a collection of farm equipment that went for next to nothing. The OF has about 13 acres and has enough farm equipment now to work 500 acres.

The major problem was going home and telling his wife that there is going to be a tractor here with a baler behind it but don't worry, it is ours, along with a hay bind, a corn planter, etc. etc. etc.

Don't let this OF go to England; he would probably come home with the crown jewels.

Is this a hobby? The OF said the auctioneer started out at $500, and then went backwards to get an opening bid, and when he got down to $100, or $50, the bidding started. Someone bid $50, and this OG said $55; then he looked around and noticed the bidding had stopped and he now owned whatever it was. 

“Maybe I was the only one there with money,” he mused.

Color comes, Old Men go

There is just a hint of color on the trees and some of the OFs have said their goodbyes — they are already off to their winter hide-a-ways.

These OGs are missing the best part of the year. Warm days, cool nights, and nice travel weather for day travel to places like Manchester, Vt.; or to take a ride on the Erie Canal; travel out to the wine country; or go to Horseheads, N.Y. and take a ride in a sailplane.

Most of these can be done in a day, and the kids will be in school and out of the way. Then the OFs can escape to their winter homes.

The OFs who made it to the Home Front Café in Altamont, and who considered it their hobby trip of the day were: Miner Stevens, Roger Chapman, George Washburn, Robie Osterman, John Rossmann, Harold Guest, Frank Pauli, Jay Taylor, Art Frament, Roger Fairchild, Herb Sowabta, Bob Benac, Steve Kelly, Roger Shafer, Dave Williams, William Bartholomew, Lou Schenck, Jack Norray, Mace Porter, Gary Porter, Ken Hughes, Henry Witt, Duane Wagenbaugh, Bob Lassome, Jim Rissacher, Ted Willsey,  Mike Willsey, Elwood Vanderbilt, Harold Grippen, and me.


The Old Men of the Mountain met at the Chuck Wagon Restaurant in Princetown on Tuesday, Aug. 13, to have their weekly day or morning out. This scribe was not in attendance because of his once-a-year legal excuse; however, there was no assistant scribe in attendance so there will be no names at the bottom of this report.

In checking with a couple of OFs who were at the breakfast, the consensus of opinion was that the regular group of OFs was there. So, if any OFs tell those at home they were at the breakfast, they probably were.

Because this scribe was unable to listen in on current conversation (duh), this scribe will refer to his notes from previous breakfasts and clear out some conversations that took place at these earlier breakfasts — and there are enough of those notes left unreported, and some probably never will be; it is a family paper after all.

Bird seeks a larger house

Last week, we discussed the change of critters in the areas where many of the OFs live. This report is on strange critters that get into the house. Birds, bats, and snakes are some of the more off beat while mice and squirrels are more common trespassers.

One OF said he and his wife were coming home one evening and opened the back door to go in and a bird flew right by their shoulders and into the house. The OF said the bird started flying around the kitchen and the bird looked like it was just a sparrow of some sort. The OF and his wife tried to chase the bird out by leaving the door open and shooing the bird.

However, that tactic did not work

The OF said the bird made a couple of loops around the kitchen, ignoring the open door, and then it flew down the hall and managed to find its way up the stairs to the OF’s bedroom. The next plan was to close the bedroom door, open the windows, and again try to shoo it out the windows. This strategy did not work any better than the kitchen plan.

After quite awhile of this nonsense, the bird was getting a little tired and would occasionally rest on the top of the headboard of the bed.

The OF said a couple of times he tried to cautiously catch it but, as he got a few feet away from that group of flying feathers, it would take off so the OF and his wife would start flipping the pillow cases to get the thing to go out the window. No dice.

Then finally, huffing and puffing, the bird lit again on the headboard and the OF was able to catch it. He gently carried it to the window and let it go.

The dumb bird made a complete "U" turn and flew back into the bedroom through the window, past the OF, and the chase started all over. Once again, the OF was able to catch the bird and again he carried it to the window very carefully and let it go.

This bird must have had a mental problem because the OF said it made the same "U" turn and was back in the house.

The OF said that the bird did a few more loops around and he finally caught it but this time the OF said he took and held onto it like a baseball and he then went to the window and threw that feathered thing like he was throwing from center field to home plate.

This time, the bird made a few flips in the air before it got its wings together so it could fly, and by that time the wife had slammed the window shut, while the OF ran and shut the other window.

The bird flew back towards the closed window, the OF said, and made a couple of fly-bys, then took off. They haven't seen it since, or so they think, the OF said because he has so many of that type of bird flying around they don’t know any of them by name, and wouldn't be able to pick from a line-up the one that decided it wanted a larger bird house.

Going batty

Many places have their problems with bats, but another OF had a different kind of bat problem. The OF has a wood-burning stove in the living room and, at this particular time, the stainless-steel chimney had a regular cap on it.

One day, his wife said she heard something like a squeaking sound coming from the stove. The OF listened but he did not hear anything.

The next day, the OF said to the wife that he heard a rustling sound coming from the stove, and this time she heard it, too. The OF said he opened the fill door to the wood stove to see what was going on and a bat flew past his shoulder.

The bat was panicked; it was covered with ashes and soot, which trailed behind this swooshing bat like the contrail of an airplane.

Panic now reigned everywhere — panicked bat, panicked wife screaming and running into the bathroom and closing the door, and one confused OF.  

Trying to catch bats on the fly with their super-sensitive radar is like trying to nail Jell-O to the wall. The OF said he decided to open the door and just watch and see if the bat would find its way out.

The bat was much smarter than the bird and eventually did find the open door and was gone.  Oh, the OF said, there is now a chimney cap with a screen in it on top of that stack.

There is another bat story that would take a whole column to report on so we will save that for another time.

Those OFs who made it to the Chuck Wagon Diner/Restaurant in Princetown is anybody’s guess, _______ _______ ______; you can fill in the blanks because this scribe wasn't there so this time it is “and not me."