Give one big Whoop for Tuesday, because Tuesday, Nov. 12, the Old Men of the Mountain met at the Country Café in Schoharie. This restaurant, like many of the restaurants the OFs attack, has that early morning welcome sign, which is not in words but the smell of eggs and bacon cooking as the OFs walk down the sidewalk from their cars to the restaurant.
The OFs mention this quite often because it is like a magnet drawing the OFs to the front door.
The OFs think that one way to end a battle on the front lines would be to have each army set up their cook tents along the front and start cooking breakfast. As soon as that aroma wafted over to either side, the OFs bet that both sides would set down their arms, grab their mess kits, and go have breakfast — maybe even together.
One OF said that, in today’s wars, there doesn't seem to be enemy lines. It just seems to be skirmishes, or car bombs, or suicide bombers, or blowing up school buses full of kids going to school.
One offered even drones — no one around — just an unmanned flying machine. Another OF said he still doesn't understand what the wars are about.
“All I know,” the OF said, “is what I read in the paper and none of that seems to make much sense.”
This OF didn't understand how making breakfast would help today. “Who is the bad guy, who is the good guy?” the OF asked. “Does anyone know, or has most of the world gone crazy?”
Bald man’s lament
On a lighter note, the more important question asked was: Why do we OFs who are bald have to pay the same amount for a haircut as some guy with a ton of hair?
One OF said that he has sat along the wall in the barbershop waiting while some guy in the barber chair gets coifed and it take 20 minutes or more, and he gets in the chair and it is whirr-shear, eyebrows snipped, neck shaved, and out! The OF is out of the chair in five minutes max, yet he pays the same as the guy with the half-hour hairdo.
“That is not the lament of just us OFs,” said an OF. “That is the lament of all the bald guys.”
“Maybe that is where the barber shops make their profit,” a different OF mused.
“It is tough finding a barber shop now,” one OF added.
He needed a haircut and his wife made him go to one of those sissy places. The OF said that was a mistake.
He told the girl (hair stylist?) he just wanted a haircut. The first thing this girl did was lead him to the sink and wash his hair.
“What! Did she think I had lice or something? I told her I just washed it this morning in the shower.”
Then the girl got the back of his shirt so wet that, even after being toweled off, his shirt was too uncomfortable to wear. After he left the shop, the OF walked down the mall and bought a shirt and undershirt at K-Mart because the OF said he was soaked and freezing.
To top it all off, this girl who had “cut” his hair had spent half the time snipping at the air with the scissors, and not really doing much cutting. When he got home, the OF looked in the mirror and said he still looked the same as when he went in the (Salon?). He was still in need of a haircut — what a rip-off.
“Give me a guy barbershop any day, where I can still get a haircut and don't have to go back every week, and have some chatty, snippety young thing click her scissors in the air to make me feel like I am getting my hair cut,” the OG concluded.
One OF said he thought prices should be pro-rated at the barber shop: X number of dollars for a five-minute cut, and X number for 10 minutes, X number for 20 minutes and so on.
“Then,” the OF said, “you can go in and say, ‘I want a 10-minute special’ and be out of the chair in 10 minutes.”
“That might not work,” said another OF. “If you had a fine head of hair like me, which takes awhile to cut, and you ask for the 10-minute special. The barber may only have enough time to cut half the hair on your head and you would go out of the shop looking kind of weird.”
Then one OF said, “Don’t mess with what the barber does; remember he is the one with the razor in his hand.”
Felons in office?
The OFs, discussed something that they didn't know (what?), at least at this scribe’s end of the table and that was convicted felons running for political office and winning the election.
“Sure,” one OF said, “look at Marion Barry, one of the former mayors of Washington, D.C. itself; he was a convicted felon.”
This scribe did a little checking — the key word here is little — but the basic answer is: yes. The Constitution says felons can even — while in prison — be elected for federal office (House and Senate) and serve from jail.
However, there are some in this body but suffice it to say the House or Senate can expel them because they are bad guys. The states have nothing to say about this.
Voting and holding elected office for state or other offices differs by state, but in many cases the answer is: yes. This scribe could not find where it differentiated between murder and stealing candy from a baby. (Then again, this scribe used to read a lot; now this scribe reads two pages, falls asleep, and has to go back and read over what he just read and fall asleep again. Takes awhile to read a book now but this scribe gets plenty of naps.)
The OFs have a new name for lapses of information in a normal conversation.
One OF was talking to another OF, and was going to tell the first OF about someone in the hospital. In the middle of the sentence, he stopped talking because the name of the OF in the hospital went right out of his head.
So the OF who started the conversation had to stop right there because the whole purpose of the conversation was gone. About 15 minutes later, the OF shouted out the name. The name sifted its way through all the clogged-up brain cells until it found its way out.
Another OF said to the OF across from him, “How about the time I asked you about your granddaughter and you couldn't remember her name?”
“Yeah, you OG. You asked me that in front of 40 people.”
The other OF said, “How was I supposed to know you would forget her name; she was only five chairs down from where we sitting.”
What are these brain lapses?
One OF said, at our ages, they are the same as Brain "F---s". The OF agreed because none of us can escape them.
A different OF said that, when it happens to him, he starts to recite the alphabet and, generally, when he comes to the letter that pertains to the thought, the lost thought usually comes to mind.
One OF said that sometimes, when it happens to him unconsciously, it must rattle around in his head somewhere because at the darndest time he will blurt out something like "Charlie Chaplin,” or "Mickey Mouse" for no reason at all.
Those OFs who made it to the Country Café, and did not forget (maybe because their wives pushed them out the door) were: Steve Kelly, Roger Shafer, Andy Tinning, Dave Williams, Harold Guest, Robie Osterman, Roger Chapman, Glenn Patterson, Jim Heiser, Mark Traver, George Washburn, John Rossmann, Mace Porter, Jack Norray, Ken Hughes, Gary Porter, Bill Keale, Miner Stevens, Bill Rice, Henry Whipple, Ted Willsey, Jim Rissacher, Mike Willsey, Bill Krause, Harold Grippen, Gerry Chartier, Duncan Bellinger, and me.
On Nov. 5, the Old Men of the Mountain met at Mrs. K's Restaurant in Middleburgh, and everybody was up and running, particularly those that run the restaurant. Most of the time, early morning is the best time of day, especially if the OF happens to be an “A” person.
The fifth was one of those days. At the breakfast that morning, Loretta thanked all the OFs for coming to her birthday party, and presenting her with flowers and a hat that has the OMOTM logo on it.
Hey, the OFs will go anywhere for a free meal. Well really, maybe not anywhere. Like the words “always,” “never,” and the phrase “American people” (without the caveat “some” or “most” preceding the word American) are no-no’s.
On Saturday, Oct. 12, Middleburgh held its Fall Harvest Parade, and some of the OFs participated in this annual event. The OFs didn't walk the parade route. One OF had an old tractor and another had an old horse-drawn grader. According to the OFs, the parade was over an hour long and very well attended.
Anyone familiar with the village of Middleburgh knows it has one main road in from the north or south to the Schoharie creek. Even locals — if they are caught before any of the side streets start through the village — find there is no way around, and then these people are in for the duration.
One OF mentioned that, for him to get home from the parade, he was caught in the line of traffic, and this OF is a long-time Middleburger. The OF said there was no ducking in and out of the side streets to get around traffic.
Other OFs mentioned about being caught in small-town parades with only one way in and one way out and just hanging out until the parade is over; one OF added that, when the parade is over, then the traffic becomes a parade itself.
The Memorial Day parades in Schoharie and Esperance were also mentioned as parades where the unsuspecting driver is trapped until the parade marches on. One OF mentioned, if this happens and you are not too far back, pull the car to the side of road, get out, walk down, and join the crowd, enjoy some fried dough, get a few balloons, and a couple of flags before you go on your way. You might just as well enjoy the parade because you are going to be there anyway.
Who’s without caries?
The next topic that came up was “Going to the Dentist.” The poor dentist has the reputation of running a torture chamber. Dentists should be dressed in black, with earrings in their ears, and whips hanging on the walls, according to the OFs.
Most of the OFs do not like going to the dentist but off they go and, again, most find out nowadays it is not that bad. The OFs claim it is best to go periodically, and have regular maintenance and little things taken care of before they become major problems and can really hurt.
The sensation of Novocain is not pleasant, according to the OFs, but many would rather put up with that and not have it hurt while at the dentist. A few OFs say they will not take Novocain for minor stuff because the dentist works in your mouth only a short time and the hurt is over when he stops.
However, with Novocain, the OF said he is biting his tongue, drooling, and conversing with slurred speech until it wears off, and then the OF said, after it wears off, he still feels some of the discomfort from the dental work.
An OG then opined, “That is what you get, you guys that kept your own teeth. Mine come out at night and go in, in the morning, along with my hearing aids, and glasses. That is, once I take the teeth out of the Efferdent, put new batteries in the aids, and clean my glasses, I am set to go.”
“Yeah,” one OF answered, “if you lose all that stuff, you are walking into walls because you can't see, stepping in front of buses because you can't hear, and living on soup because you can't chew. I'll put up with the dentist twice a year.”
on older judges
This past Tuesday was Election Day and some politics were discussed but not much. Sitting at the table of the OMOTM was one councilman, one former councilman, and a former town board supervisor. The consensus of this group seemed to be that serving in these capacities is like being married, but with no fun thrown in.
Only two topics came up on how people were going to vote. It seemed (at least to this scribe) that one issue was a “no” vote on casino gambling and the other was a “yes” vote for older judges. What would one expect from this group?
More specifically, regarding the vote for older judges, the OFs say they still have the mental capacity to say, "Throw the bum in jail,” so what more is necessary?
The OFs will have to wait until next Tuesday to discuss how it all turned out.
Those attending the breakfast at Mrs. K's Restaurant in Middleburgh, who had already been to the polls, or were headed to the polls, were: Andy Tinning, Don Wood, Harold Guest, George Washburn, Glenn Patterson, Roger Shafer, Roger Chapman, Steve Kelly, Jim Heiser, Mark Traver, Robie Osterman, John Rossmann, Duncan Bellinger, Mace Porter, Ken Hughes, Gary Porter, Jack Norray, Harold Guest, Mike Willsey, Gerry Chartier, Ted Willsey, Jim Rissacher, Bill Krause, and me.
On Tuesday, Oct. 22, the OMOTM met at the Hilltown Café in Rensselaerville, with another ride through the autumn colors of the Hilltowns. As many OFs put it, there is no need to ram all over the Northeast to see spectacular displays of fall colors splayed out against the hillsides. All it takes is a short ride into the hills that form the Hudson and Mohawk valleys, and all the color of nature is spread like a quilt before the eyes of the traveler.
Although one OF said that heading for Vermont or New Hampshire to capture the views is a good reason to travel someplace. It gives an excuse just to get away and visit some gift shop to pay 50 bucks for something that is available at Wal-Mart for a couple of bucks, but it is fun to escape.
That is one of the many reasons the OFs escape to the Hilltown Café, just to get away and have a great breakfast doing it.
To follow that same train of thought, the OFs talked about relaxing. That is a frequent occurrence with the OFs; relaxing is not a problem with them.
One thing they know is how to relax. Some are so relaxed that, when found in their chair doing just that, the finder is ready to call Digger Odell, but occasionally the chest of the OF heaves up and down and the finder realizes that the OF is just relaxed.
Then there are the few OFs who said they have trouble relaxing because they are so wound up with what to do next, and sometimes family problems are so pressing that relaxing seems to be out of the question.
Some OFs maintain that the rocking chair will do them in. They have to be doing something, and not just anything, but something with value. Some still work, many volunteer, and some have hobbies that require lots of concentration and are not completed in a day or so.
Others are stress free. These OFs seem to be in a constant state of relaxation. The outcome of both of these conditions — wound tight or stress free — is that both (as far as the OFs go) have contributed to pretty darn good long lives.
As one OF said, “Why am I supposed to believe some snot-nosed kid telling me how to live long? For crying out loud,” the OF continued, “I am 87 and still going strong, and this specialist who is still in diapers is so worried about me living long that he will be standing in line when he is only 50 years old with all the other ‘tell them how to live’ 50-year-old people, at the pearly gates waiting for them to open in the morning.”
The OF raved on about how this same 50-something at the pearly gates will be looking down at us OFs below. While his grave is being dug by some retired OF who has had fried eggs, bacon, hash browns with gravy, toast and black coffee for breakfast, the 50- year-old at the gates just had half a grapefruit, a glass of water, and dry toast for breakfast, and died on his morning run.
“Nature gone berserk”
The OFs were wondering how much more we can take from under the Earth before the Earth starts collapsing on itself.
As one OF mentioned, “The crust becomes so thin that the magma breaks through and creates volcanoes and mountains where cities once were.”
Nature abhors a vacuum, so, when all the oil is pumped out, what fills the space? When all the coal is mined, what fills the space? Does water rush in, and from where?
One OF mentioned all these sink holes that are cropping up. What made the hole that they are sinking into?
One other OF said he thought these sink holes have been evolving forever, only, with real-time communications and the ability to report happenings from just about anyplace on the globe, we are now hearing about them more.
“Yeah, but,” one more OG alleged, “that is not what the problem is because, years ago, no one was taking the stuff from under the ground; the wheel hadn't even been invented yet.”
To which the other OF responded, “Maybe not when you were around, but the wheel was around when I was.”
“That’s right,” a third OF joined in, “but the wheel when you were around didn't have a hole in it yet.”
One OF mentioned all these offshore oilrigs. He exclaimed, “I hope they are pumping water back in where the oil was because, if that hole caves in and the ocean rushes in and meets the molten magna, man! That will be some display of nature gone berserk.”
Still working at 80
Generally, the OFs meet on Tuesday morning at the next restaurant in line; however, this week, many of the OFs met twice. The OMOTM met again on Wednesday at Mrs. K's in Middleburgh to help celebrate Loretta's (the proprietor of Mrs. K’s restaurant) 80th birthday.
Not only were the OMOTM there but half the county as well. (This scribe has maybe let the cat out of the bag, maybe Loretta does not want everyone to know she is 80. Oh well, there were so many people there, it definitely is not a secret.)
Many OMOTM showed up to help Loretta celebrate. Loretta was a high school classmate of some of the guests and some of the OFs. When asked when she was going to retire, she replied she is not going to retire — she enjoys the work and the people. As long as she can do the work, she will be at the restaurant. Congratulations.
Those OFs who we able to make it to the breakfast at the Hilltown Café in Rensselaerville and grateful that none of the restaurants have thrown us out, yet, were: Ken Hughes, Lou Schenck, Mace Porter, Gary Porter, Bill Keal, Robie Osterman, George Washburn, Frank Pauli, John Rossmann, Harold Guest, Glenn Patterson, Jim Heiser, Bill Krause, Roger Chapman, Miner Stevens, Andy Tinney, Bill Rice, Henry Whipple, Elwood Vanderbilt, Gill Zadle, Ted Willsey, Jim Rissacher, Mike Willsey, Harold Grippen, Gerry Chartier, and me.
Oh my! It is Tuesday again and there might be 52 of them a year, so it should not come as a surprise but for some reason it quite often does.
On Oct. 15, it was a Tuesday and the Old Men of the Mountain met at the Home Front Café in Altamont. The Old Ladies of the Mountain could get to together and start a weekly breakfast and give a report on what they talk about — the comparison would be interesting.
The OFs wonder if they would be part of any discussions. Maybe, as one OF put it, we are flattering ourselves. Since we don't talk about them, why should they talk about us?
It may be unusual but ladies don't come up very often with the OFs, nor does much foul language. Hmmm, could that be because there is a significant drop in testosterone in this group?
The eyes have it
Many of the OFs have had and do have eye problems, or situations. They are not going blind; it is just age.
Cataracts, dry eyes, glaucoma, detached retinas, and wandering eyes (different wandering eyes than when the OFs were between the ages of 13 and 14 to 40, although some still have that young-age affliction). Most of these aliments require putting eye drops in the eyes.
One OF said he has his wife do it, another said he does it himself, one said he sits down, another standing up, another lying down. One OF said the manufacturers of the eye-drop solutions make their money more on the amount that runs down the OF’s cheek than what goes in the eye.
The techniques are different also. One OF said he just tips his head back and squirts the drops right in, while another said he puts the drop on the side of his nose, then tips his head and the solution runs in.
The one who has his wife put it in for him said he holds his eye open while his wife squirts it in. This OF says that he has to hold his eye open or it blinks shut and all the eye-drop solution does is get on his eyelid.
On OG said that his opthamolic solution is wetter than water; his eye doctor told him that a duck can't swim in this stuff because the duck would sink.
One OF thought about the artist on TV who draws paint up his nose, and squirts it out his eye to make the painting. The question was, how did this screwball ever figure out he could do this?
One OF said, now that this is out, how many people are going to try and duplicate this because these paintings (which look like so much scribble) are selling for big bucks.
Another OG wondered not that he can do this, but who are the nutcases that buy this junk? To which one OG replied, each to his own thing; so what if they have the money, at least they will have a neat conversation piece.
The OFs discuss the following topic quite often, and it generally follows an event that happens to one or more of the OFs on their way to the restaurant — and that is driving.
Tuesday, not only one group of OFs, but two groups, were cut off by inattentive drivers. Both drivers were not stopping for stop signs, and, in one case, not even slowing down. In that case, not only did the OFs just avoid the errant vehicle, but so did a vehicle coming from the opposite direction. If that connection of three cars ever happened, the jerk shooting out of the side road would have been double T-boned.
One OF commented, “Where did they get their license? At Woolworths?”
Now, to the OFs, that meant something, but to many in today’s world that doesn't mean diddle-dib. Who was Woolworth? For that matter who was Montgomery Ward, or W.T. Grant, or J.J. Newbury? What is a Packard, or Studebaker, or even a Kaiser? The name Woolworth just came out from the mouth of the OF.
Today it would be Wal-Mart, and that would be about it. To shop like the OFs were once able to do is gone.
The OFs once could go to Montgomery Ward on Broadway in Menands, and purchase anything from a tractor, to socks and underwear, to toys and camping gear. Even more — from plumbing supplies, to top-quality tools, from barbed wire to fence posts, from fishing poles to shotguns, from medical supplies to furniture and appliances, all in the same store.
If it wasn't there in the store, there was always the catalogue department where the OF was able to pick out what he needed. After placing his order, the OF had to hang around and wait for his number to be called from the cavernous warehouse and then the OF would go pick it up.
While waiting, it was possible to run across to the White Tower and get a hamburger, or, if the OF wanted to go fancy, he could go to the restaurant in the store.
Shopping then was a trip and an experience that the whole family looked forward to.
“Now,” as one OF said, “Shopping is a chore.”
“And,” another OF added, “it was possible to get a hunting license at either Montgomery Ward, or Sears and Roebuck.”
Woolworth had its food counter and all those tropical fish and fish tanks. Again, one OF said, “Whatever really did happen to Randolph Scott?”
“Times change,” an OG said. “Now we are stuck with Wal-Mart; about the only fun store left is Tractor Supply.”
The OMOTM has one of it members in the hospital at the time this is being written. The OFs wish him a speedy recovery and that he comes back to the fold soon.
This OF being in the hospital brought up discussions on how hospitals are also changing to "keep up with the times.” The OFs can (kinda) understand this situation with how expensive it is becoming to stay in the hospital, and the expenses they incur.
Sometimes banding together is a good thing. Farmers try it all the time but farmers are independent people and it never really quite works.
“Doctors are banding together in groups,” one OG said.
He thinks that one of the major contributors to this banding in the medical profession is because insurance companies are forcing the issue since everything is getting so complicated that someone who has an individual practice has to hire a Philadelphia lawyer just to keep up with the paperwork, so much so that the poor individual doctor has no time left for doctoring.
“Then,” an OF added, “it could be the malpractice law suits, and insurance for that which pushes the medical bills way up too.”
“Boy,” one OG said, “chase anything down and, when you get to the bottom, it is always the money — too much or not enough.”
Those OFs who lumbered into the Home Front Café in Altamont for this week’s breakfast and were making plans to go shop at the fun place were: Roger Shafer, Steve Kelly, Henry Witt, Robie Osterman, George Washburn, Miner Stevens, John Rossmann, Frank Pauli, Lou Schenck, Jack Norray, Gary Porter, Bill Krause, Otis Lawyer, Glenn Paterson, Jim Heiser, Andy Tinning, Ted Willsey, Jim Rissacher, Henry Whipple, Elwood Vanderbilt, Harold Grippen, Mike Willsey, Joe Loubier, Gerry Chartier, and me.
Tuesday, Oct. 8, the Old Men of the Mountain met at the Chuck Wagon Diner in Princetown. Maybe the OFs have mentioned this before, but people going to work in the early spring and early fall and traveling east on Route 20, must have a difficult job with the sun in their eyes on an especially bright fall day. There are times in the morning when going that way, the sun catches your eye as you crest a rise in the road and the driver becomes blinded for a few seconds.
One OF said he had this experience and he could not even see the windshield of his own car, and that was with the visor down and sunglasses on. Heaven forbid there is anything or anybody in the road at that time.
One OF asked if anyone is ready for Halloween, and the OF received the standard OF reply, "Yep, I have my mask on already."
Another OF chimed in, "I'm going trick-or-treating naked so I can get my year’s supply of candy, and no one knows I am naked; they think it is a great costume and I get great stuff."
One OF asked, “Isn't Halloween a little cold to be running around naked?"
"That’s the point," the OF said, "The colder the better and, with all my wrinkles, scars, warts, and bumps, and a pair of clod-hoppers, tie, and a hat everyone thinks it is a cool get-up."
“You are going to get arrested, you old coot."
"Nah, won't happen; I just hit up relatives," the OF replied.
Besting the boss
Most of the OFs are retired from whatever. One of the topics that came up Tuesday morning was former bosses.
Some bosses were good; some a pain in the butt. The bosses we remembered the most were the ones who were not that popular. The OFs were relating stories on how they got, not actually even — but maybe in a way it was — with stunts the OFs pulled on the bosses that were pains.
Some of these stunts were quite clever, but some of the OFs just smiled and, come to find out, they were bosses at one time or another, or business owners — not the bosses in question because there was no correlation between the OFs even working together or for the same companies that these OFs did when they were bosses.
This led the conversation into talking about different kinds of people. With the conversation going down this path, the phenomenon of aura appears to have some credence of being real.
OF One can meet an OF Two for the first time and instantly not like OF Two, but OF Three can meet OF Two for the first time and instantly take a liking to OF Two. Bring in OF Four, and he can tolerate OFs One, Two, and Three, but really likes the new guy, OF Five. OFs One, Two, Three, and Four, all like the new OF Five. This is aura.
This is what happens with bosses. When the auras don't mesh, these bosses become real pains in the neck to the one that doesn’t click.
Then again, some bosses are just bums regardless of the aura. The OFs were talking about one boss that some knew because they had worked for him and others knew him more or less (the emphasis is on less) socially and the consensus of opinion of the OFs was that the guy was a jerk.
The question became how someone like that gets to be a boss; now that the OFs are retired they can look back more objectively. The OFs agreed that most of the decisions this boss made were right, whether they liked it or not.
Then there are those bosses who are in charge that don't know a darn thing. The workers are continually covering up for their boss’s mistakes; one OF said he had to cover up the mistakes or lose his job. The OFs agreed this makes for a tough work environment.
The OFs had trouble knowing how this character (to them) got his job because nothing he did was right. The OFs attributed this to cronyism. This particular boss was in cahoots with his boss, and the workers are caught between a rock and a hard place.
“Boy,” one OF said, “I am glad I am retired now and all I have to contend with is the wife, and with that boss I am always wrong — even when I am right, I am wrong.”
The OFs took up the subject of making plans with the family and how nerve-wracking this can be especially when the plans involve weddings. The logistics of getting everyone to a family event and not hurting anyone's feelings is hard. It is harder than working for a miserable boss.
One OF said, “Don't get involved; that is women's work.”
Another OG said, “That is my motto, too. I go where I am told, when I am told, and get what is on the list.”
One OF said he chauffeured his wife to one of these planning events with the other ladies and, instead of just dropping her off and going to the nearest bar, he went in with the planning group.
The OF said that they seemed to be in a real quandary and he offered what he thought was a simple solution and the OF said, “I might just as well have thrown a hornet’s nest in the middle of that group. Retreat was the better part of valor so I got out of there.”
Those OFs who retreated to the Chuck Wagon Diner in Princetown, just to escape whatever and be among those of like aura, were: John Rossmann, Robie Osterman, George Washburn, Karl Remmers, Frank Pauli, Steve Kelley, Roger Shafer, Henry Witt, Miner Stevens, Roger Chapman, Bill Keal, Ken Hughes, Gary Porter, Mace Porter, Jack Norray, Harold Guest, Ted Willsey, Rich Donnelly, Jim Rissacher, Bob Lassome, Joe Loubier, Henry Whipple, Mike Willsey (with daughter Amy), Gerry Chartier, Harold Grippen, Elwood Vanderbilt, and me.