Monday was the Ides of March, and poor Julius met his demise from the hands of supposed friends, and the Old Men of the Mountain made it through the Ides because our friends behaved themselves so The Old Men of the Mountain met on Tuesday the 16th, at the Knox Country Store in the town of Knox.

The timing of the breakfast and the morning was coming up beautiful, but the transition to full sun made walking into the store tricky with ice that formed on the melt of the day before, frozen by the chill of the night. Naturally there was salt on the ice and for awhile this salt formed a thin coating of water on top of the ice. It was fun watching the OF’s tippy-toe over the four or five feet of very slippery ice to get into the establishment. One thing we do not want is one of the OF’s falling. The OG’s bones are so brittle they would snap in an instant.

The OG’s watched the winter Olympics, and some watch their grandkids take some nasty spills when they take them skiing. At one time the OF’s could take this, and the OF’s did, but now it is a different story. Falling is something none of us want to do. It jars the OF’s eyeballs, and rattles their teeth, and the bruises come easily and last forever, especially with those on blood thinners.

The subject of the day was turtles. Some of the OF’s began talking about turtles they have seen, and turtles they have transported to safer areas. Most of these turtles were snapping turtles. One OG who has a pond right by the road said a huge (to him) snapping turtle was crossing his lawn and heading for the pond. His friends and grandkids swim in this pond so he did not want the turtle in it. The OF said he got a wheelbarrow and turned it upside down on the turtle and then went to get a washtub to put it in. When he came back with the tub the upside down wheelbarrow was slowly moving in the direction of the pond. The turtle was determined to get to the pond and seemed unconcerned that he had a wheelbarrow to push along. The OG then got a shovel to scoop up the turtle and put it in the washtub. This did not work because the turtle was too heavy on the edge of the shovel to pick up. The OF then placed the washtub in front of the turtle and nudged it along with the shovel. Finally he got it in the tub, then the OF put tub and turtle into the back of his station wagon and started hauling the thing off to the lake, however, the turtle turned the washtub over in the back of the wagon and got out. By the time he traveled the short distance to the lake the turtle had just about demolished the back of the wagon with its claws and jaws. Then another session of outwitting the reptile ensued and brain over brawn won out and the turtle was safely deposited in the lake.

This led the OF’s to discuss the sea turtles they have seen, and how big these things are. Most were spotted in Key West on the shore and in the water. For what these creatures eat they are like whales. How do they become so large on their diet?

We discussed how this winter has caused some real tragedies. Now it has come to lives lost and basically stupid moves putting many people in harms way. A couple of the OF’s are on the ambulance and rescue squads in Schoharie County. Last week was quite busy for the Schoharie squads. Not these OF’s particularly, because they were on standby so the county still had emergency coverage. Both events that made the news were directly caused by the weather. The first event concerned the three lads that had to be rescued from Vroman’s Nose. This turned out fine but placed a considerable amount of people in jeopardy to do it. The other event did not turn out as well as one man died trying to make it off Black Head Mountain. One person stayed in the shelter they constructed when the two knew they were in trouble. Eventually one thought he could make it out and he left but, unfortunately, he didn’t make it.

We discussed how much trouble and danger people place other people in for their sport or fun when it goes awry. One instance would be snowmobile operators that cause avalanches, quite often killing themselves and others, and placing rescue workers in harms way. The OF’s maintained most problems comes from putting pleasure, and what some consider fun, ahead of sound thinking.

We touched on Medicare, Medicaid, and this health reform bill and no one understands what is in it or what it is all about. The OF’s say if we can’t understand it, neither can the hot shots in Washington. Once the Government starts trying to run something – watch out. It gets to be one huge, expensive, boondoggle. Think Social Services, DMV, IRS, SSI, and all the baloney that is necessary to go through to start a small business. WHY DO YOU THINK ALL THE SMALL FARMS ARE GONE, OR ARE FAILING…THINK GOVERNMENT INTERVENTION AND REGULATION !!!!!!!!! The OF’s say this country would be fine, and there would be plenty of work if small businesses and entrepreneurs were left alone, and government kept its nose out. The OF’s are banging their fists. Not that it means much.

Those that made it to the Knox Country Store and participated in the repartee were: Mr. Ted Pelkey, Mr. Harold Guest, Mr. Roger Chapman, Mr. Steve Kelly, Mr. Don Moser, Mr. Tom Hotaling, Mr. Miner Stevens, Mr. Arnold Geraldsen, Mr. John Rossmann, Mr. Gary Porter, Mr. Robie Osterman, Mr. Skip Skinner, Mr. Frank Pauli, Mr. Ted Willsey, Mr. Jim Rissacher, Mr. Mike Willsey, Mr. Gerry Chartier, Mr. Harold Grippen, and me.