On Tuesday, Sept. 24, the Old Men of the Mountain met at the Blue Star Café in Schoharie. This building used to house the Alley Cat (that name we could understand) but Blue Star Café?

The OFs have trouble understanding that one and what, if anything, it is connected to. The name was changed when uninvited Irene blew through town and ruined the aforementioned Alley Cat.

The OFs know some of the stars in the heavens are called blue stars and maybe one of them fell and landed on the old Alley Cat. (Ever accidentally step on a cat's tail, and not know the cat is there?  That is one good reason all homes should have a defibrillator handy.)

A debate

The OFs wish to bring up another fall weed — or flower, depending on how you look at it. To some, they are weeds; to some, they are flowers.

That is how the pearly everlasting have just bloomed everywhere. The OFs were discussing how all the wildflowers are blooming this year, all the wild fruit trees are loaded, and many of the pine trees have so many pinecones on them that they look brown, and the OFs predict that this winter is going to be a doozy.

But some other OFs say, not so fast — they attribute the bursting of all this vegetation to the very wet spring and early summer and all these plants getting a good start, and they note there is still moister in the ground.

One OF mentioned he was glad to see all the goldenrod because at least around his place the old familiar sound of bees working was back and they were giving the goldenrod a good going over.

“That is a good sign, too,” the OF said.

We have about six months to go to see which faction of the OFs will be correct.  Whether it is the water of spring, and winter is normal, or if this abundance of fruits and vegetation is nature’s way of supplying sustenance for the wild animals over a hard winter.

“We shall see,” one OF commented. “Mark your calendar with the days below zero, and the number of inches of snowstorms.”

“Let’s hope it is inches and not feet,” said another OF.

 Anchored with chains

The OFs started talking about some of the things they have seen in their travels and one thing brought up was the same type of early construction 1,800 miles apart.

In St. Augustine, Fla., they show in the Old Town a “schoolhouse” the OF thought was held down with anchor chains to keep it from blowing away in hurricanes.

Another OF said they do the same thing on the road that goes up Mt. Washington.  They have the buildings held down with chains so the wind does not blow them away. (Same difference.)

Then one OF said that they do the same thing with trailers in Florida to keep them from blowing away in gales and hurricanes.

Disaster spawns construction

Weather must be a boon to the building and construction industries; just look at all the homes and business that have been destroyed recently all over the country with floods, wind, and fire.

One OG commented that he does not know how the insurance companies can keep up.

Another OF said he thinks much of this went on before but we just didn't know about it; however, today it is instant news and communication in real time, so the whole world seems like it is right in our own backyard.

This is true, some of the OFs said; one OG said he has relatives and friends in Alaska (he used to live there) and he reads the paper online from Anchorage all the time.  Others commented on reading Florida papers the same way, and some from Tucson, Ariz. do the same.

“It is amazing,” one OG declared, “how some of the papers and news stations run web cams, so it is not only possible to read what is going on, but watch it also in real time.”

Different tastes

On the napkin holders on the tables in the Blue Star Restaurant there are interesting little sayings of the Will Rogers type.  One saying referenced leftovers.

One OF’s mom had leftovers — leftovers all the time. For 30 years, they had nothing but leftovers.

“This,” the OF said, “was not funny because at his house it was true.”  The OF said, “Like the saying, they are still looking for the original meal; no one knows what it was.”

Another OF said he likes leftovers “because sometimes the food tastes better the second time around, especially spaghetti.”

“I don't like leftovers at all,” was a reply, “The meat seems tough, bread is awful, vegetables are soggy; to me, I am acting like a garbage can because that is where leftovers belong.”

“Oh no,” an OF replied. “You can't beat a meatloaf sandwich after the meatloaf has been in the fridge a week. No wonder there are so many cookbooks; there are so many different tastes it would be impossible to satisfy everybody.”

Those OFs who made it to the Blue Star Restaurant in Schoharie with everyone ordering the same breakfast — not — were: Robie Osterman, Roger Chapman, Jim Heiser, Harold Grippen, Miner Stevens, Steve Kelly, Roger Shafer, John Rossmann, Frank Pauli, Mark Traver, Karl Remmers, George Washburn, Art Frament, Bob Benac, (visitor from Texas, David Chase), Gary Porter, Mace Porter, Lou Schenck, Don Moser, Don Wood, Joe Loebier, Duane Wagenbaugh, Bob Lassome, Rich Donnelly, Mike Willsey, Harold Guest, Gerry Chartier, Elwood Vanderbilt, Ted Willsey, Jim Rissacher, and me.

Tuesday, the Sept. 17, The Old Men of the Mountain met on a beautiful morning at the Country Café on Main Street in Schoharie.   Constant reminders of the floods of two years ago in Prattsville, Middleburgh, and Schoharie are around today.  With what the people in Colorado are going through right now, it seems like the world is full of one disaster after another.

At one time, Colorado must have thought it was the end of the world with the fires around Colorado Springs, and now the people around Boulder are looking for Noah and his boat so they can get on board.

One OF who went through the flood of Irene said he would rather have a fire than a flood. The way this OF looked at it was that, after a flood people, had mountains of cleanup to do and they tried to salvage this and that. In a fire, if the house burns to the ground, it is not necessary to worry about any of that, everything is all gone — just shovel up the ashes and start over.

How easy to say, how hard to do. Then again, one OF said, “Stuff is stuff, and it is possible to get more stuff, but mementos, keepsakes, and memories are impossible to replace.”

When going into the Country Café, on your left is a black sign with white letters mounted on the wall and a line on this sign marks the height of the water as it coursed through the village — that mark is shoulder high.

Righting the Costa Concordia

Continuing on with the water topic, the OFs discussed the righting of the cruise ship Costa Concordia that hit the rocks off the coast of Italy. The raising of this ship was quite an engineering feat, and cost quite a bit of money to boot.

One OF suggested that they should have used that money and made a tourist attraction of the ship on its side with possibly a plate-glass walkway under the water like Bush Gardens has the plate-glass walkway at SeaWorld.

They could charge admission and people could see the fish swimming in and out of the ship, and they could possibly put on a water show to go with it. One OF thought that would be gross because 32 people died in that accident and he didn't think that would be appropriate. Funny how two people can look at the same thing and view it 180 degrees apart.

This talk about the Costa Concordia re-floated the conversation on the aircraft carrier, and smaller ships like frigates. How these ships were constructed in the 1950s and how they are made now. Just more of last week — same words just strung together differently.

The smell of home

There was other banter back and forth as ideas come and go, like any ad hoc get-together. Some points were dwelt on more than others; one of these points was harkening back again to the memories of when the OFs were YFs.

This was the way life was then with the smells of new-mown hay, the orchard in fall, fresh-turned soil, a brisk early fall day with the fog on the ponds and coming off the creeks, the smell of horses and the horse barn, the hay mow, and the cows in the barn. These aromas were better than any florists, greenhouse, or $75-an-ounce perfume.

“Each house,” one OF said, “Had its own smell and each barn had its own smell.”

Another OF said, “Yeah, especially when the cows first hit spring pasture.”

Well, not all the smells were pleasant. One OF mentioned how no one seemed to mind at school if someone showed up with a little barn smell or if they were running late.

As a matter of fact, many of the farm kids did run late and the smells were not only accepted, but, for the most part, in the one-room schools or the bigger schools with two rooms and two teachers, the farm smells were natural and no one (even if they noticed) paid any attention.

Even today, each house carries its own character and smell. Some people try to hide the natural aroma of their home by burning candles and using all sorts of air fresheners.

One OG then remarked, “Ever notice, in the stores, how much aisle space is used on changing the odor of the air?”

Another OF said, “I can understand that if fish is being cooked, or some other highly aromatic food is being prepared, it is good to open the doors, and windows and add a little scent.  With all the sulphur water on the Hill it’s good to add some scent to cover up the sulphur smell when the water softener goes bad or the aerator does not work.”

“That is true,” another OG replied. “Like the other OF said, not all smells are sweet and what some think are sweet, others think are rotten.”

Harvesting fruit

One OF said his apple and pear trees have so much fruit on them this year that they are bending over with the weight. That was going to be his project for Tuesday after the breakfast.  He was going to go and pick the apples and pears.

This OF is not the tallest member of the group, and the OG said he will pick only what he can reach, which is smart because we don't want any of the OFs falling off ladders and out of trees.

What this OF needs is a rambunctious billy goat and he should try and get the goat to butt the trees and shake the apples out. This OF is only going to go and make applesauce and cider anyway. Maybe the OG can con his wife into making some apple pies and freezing them.

Scents that make sense

Going back to smells — the baking, and cooling, of an apple pie in the house is a great smell. So are bacon and eggs, hash browns, and an English muffin with honey and cinnamon. These are great house smells in the morning.

They make candles with all kinds of fragrances like essence of heather, or bloom on the lilacs, and stuff like that. The OFs want to know why don't they make scents that make sense like ham and eggs, sizzling steaks, hot coffee, spaghetti sauce, pizza, or essence of hot cocoa. Now there would be candles worth buying to improve the aroma of any home.

Those OFs attending the breakfast at the great-smelling Country Café in Schoharie and all enjoying the breakfasts coming out of the kitchen (when a mechanic comes home from work, he smells like gas and oil, but, when cooks come home, they smell like bacon and eggs) were: Steve Kelly, Dave Williams, Robie Osterman, George Washburn, John Rossmann, Harold Guest, Roger Chapman, Miner Stevens, Roger Shafer, Bill Bartholomew, Frank Pauli, Jim Heiser, Glenn Patterson, Art Frament, Bob Benac, Lou Schenck, Ken Hughes, Mace Porter, Gary Porter, Don Wood, Henry Whipple, Bill Rice, Mike Willsey, Jim Rissacher, Harold Grippen, Elwood Vanderbilt, Duane Wagenbaugh, Rich Donnelly, Joe Liebier, Bill Krause, and me. 

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.