The Old Men of the Mountain by John R. Williams.

On Tuesday the 31st of March, the last day of March, and judging by yesterday March came in like a lion, and went out the same way, the Old Men of the Mountain met at the Duanesburg Diner in Duanesburg. It was much nicer driving over today, than if the breakfast was yesterday.

The OF’s had a lot to talk about today. This is not in any chronological order so this scribe will start with the robbery in West Berne. At the last meeting – with information from the scanner – it was thought that it was one of the OF’s. We found out this morning (and some of the OF’s contacted the OF that was supposed to be the victim and it wasn’t him) that it was a neighbor. The Albany Times Union had an article in the paper that they had arrested the perpetrators already and they were sent to the Albany County jail without bail. According to the TU article the crooks were none to smart. Apparently they left a calling card where they could be reached. It was almost like, “Look we are going to rob you, but if you need a loan, or want to borrow any of the stuff contact us at, XYZ, Anywhere, USA. Phone 866-IAM-DUMB”.

One OF made an interesting and true observation, “I cruise along and each day seems pretty normal. Every now and then a new ache shows up somewhere that comes and goes; now the comes lasts longer than the goes. Eventually I get used to the new pains, but still things seem normal. I shower and shave every day, and still notice nothing and then one day I looked in the mirror and I looked old. It came all of a sudden – I looked old. ‘Who is that old guy?’ I say out loud to the mirror. Now I see that same OF every day and not like the new aches (getting used to them that is) somehow I can’t quite get used to seeing this OF in the mirror. Maybe somewhere in the future I will get used to this new/old me, but I feel this is going to take some time.” To that the OF’s said “Amen, Brother Amen”.

We talked about insurance because one OF mentioned that they have received a new bill from their insurance carrier and that the premium has gone up $34 per month. The normal questions came up…like who are you insured with, and things like that. Then the conversation followed along with the conversation of the OF in the mirror, and the aches and pains. Some of the aches and pains are not routine. These can accrue some large amounts of change to take care of. Some of the OF’s said that the premiums paid do not cover some of the expenses now. What some of the minor procedures cost when the OF’s see the total bill causes them to scratch their balding heads and wonder how come one aspirin in the hospital costs as much as a whole bottle of aspirin in the store. They again look at the total bill and are amazed.

The OF’s figured though if you pay $400-800 a month for insurance, and you do that for say 30 years that is a lot of money. It amounts to close to $144 thousand to $288 thousand contributed to the insurance companies. The OF’s also figured that a lot of people kick the bucket before the insurance companies have to shell out much, so with our aches and pains we are not really going to tap the till if the insurance companies have to pay something for them. Furthermore, it is not us OFs inflating the bill and ripping them off. The OFs did not discuss this at length before we went on to something else.

The something else was a great big sigh of relief that those two numbskulls running for the vacant seat in Congress are off the airwaves; a collective thank goodness was heard. One of them should hurry up and get the job and move to Washington and get out of our hair. One OF said that neither one can do what they say they are going to do. They are going to be freshmen, and you know what happens to freshmen…they get stuffed in their lockers. No one down there is going to listen to them…either one of them.

The OF’s (as noted before) are ahead of the curve on many subjects and this morning it was baseball and how much it costs to go to a ball game. Those that would occasionally travel to a Met or Yankee game or even, heaven forbid, Boston!! have crossed it off their things to do this summer list. Too much money.

Those OF’s that made it to the Duanesburg Diner in Duanesburg, and wondering if sports even on TV is worth watching with the salaries the players are getting, were: Skip Skinner, Carl Slater, Miner Stevens, Roger Chapman, Arnold Geraldsen, Don Moser, Paul Paulsen, George Washburn, John Rossmann, Harold Guest, Ted Pelkey, Frank Pauli, Rev. Jay Francis, Steve Kelly, Ted Willsey, Harold Grippen, Willard Osterhout, Jim Rissacher, and me.