On June 16th, Tuesday the Old Men of the Mountain met at the Hilltown Café in Rensselaerville. The trip there by most vehicles was in the fog. The OG’s are still waiting for summer, or at least warmer weather. Some said their gardens are not doing too well with all the dampness and no sun. It is not like we haven’t gone through seasons like this before, but the OF’s say one after another takes the fun out of gardening.

The Hilltown Café is situated in a very pretty location in the Hilltowns, not that most of the small villages settled on the hill are not in pretty locations, but Rensselaerville on a scale of 1 to 10 is maybe half a notch higher than the others. However, they are all about 10s anyway. In this town is the Huyck preserve, and state park land. There are some nice ponds for fishing in these areas. One OF who is very familiar with Alaska said some of these ponds are similar to there because they are so undisturbed. He also related a conversation with the NY State En Con department and what a fiasco that was. He was looking for information about what fish are in these ponds and the OF said he knew more than the one who he was talking to, and that person failed to realize that in actuality the OF is his boss, and the OF said he was treated with considerable insolence. Eventually the OF just hung up the phone and said the En Con guy wouldn’t know a pickerel if it was biting him on the butt.

At the table this scribe was at we discussed a varied range of topics, many of which we have covered before but these conversations were up-dates. Travel was one, and traveling the back roads to destinations that are quite a distance away like Florida, Arizona, the Carolinas, and Texas to name a few. One common remark was if heading south and you see boiled peanuts for sale, leave them there. Those things are like lukewarm lima beans, and once you have eaten a few the taste lingers for days, or so the OG’s say anyway. The OF’s as a whole rarely all agree on one topic but on this one it was unanimous…those boiled peanuts are awful!

Staying in some of the small motels along the way can be adventuresome at best. Some are really nice and friendly, and some are motels from hell, where Satan himself is the night manager. Another travel suggestion is maybe a simple bed and breakfast. These can be lots of fun where the people running them offer bits of local history, and sometimes they provide information on interesting side trips that can be explored. The OFs meet many other would-be OFs at these places, whose kids have left home and now they have extra rooms that can be rented out, giving them some extra cash. If their kids should show up while you are there the kids sleep in the garage.

While the OG’s were talking about gardening at the beginning of the breakfast later on the subject came up again and the subject this time was about poison ivy. That is nasty stuff, especially to the OF’s that are really allergic to this prolific weed. One OF reported that he went to the doctor with his eyes just about swollen shut. The doctor told the OF right away it was poison ivy, and a bad case of it to boot. The doctor wanted to know how the OG ingested the poison ivy in the first place. The OG had no idea how or when or even if he ate any poison ivy. If you are really ticked off at some one, add a few poison ivy leaves to their tomato soup. Won’t kill em, or make them sick, but will make then doggone miserable for awhile. Boy, these OF’s come up with some dillies.

Another OG said a rash broke out on one of his arms and he too had not been near the weed. Then the OG found out his dog had been out in the weeds; the oil was on the hair of the dog, and he had carried the dog in the house in his arms. Hmmm. Do animals get poison ivy? Maybe when we observe the dog scratching it isn’t fleas it’s poison ivy. This brings up an interesting conundrum with poison ivy which itches like mad. Do we scratch an itch, or itch a scratch, or are we left itching an itch, and scratching a scratch? Either way whatever itches the OF’s start digging at it.

Those attending the breakfast at the Hilltown Cave in Rensselaerville (and the only itch this bunch has is for more money) were: George Washburn, Gerd Remmers, Dave Williams, Robie Osterman, Miner Stevens, Bill Bartholomew, Duane Wagenbaugh, Jim Watson, Harold Guest, Roger Chapman, Rich Donnelley, John Brooks, Frank Pauli, Ted Pelkey, Bob Dietz, John Rossmann, Mace Porter, Gary Porter, Alvin Latham, Bob Snyder, Skip Skinner, Ted Willsey, Wally Quay Sr., Willard Osterhout, Jim Rissacher, Dennis White, Mike Willsey, Gerry Chartier, Harold Grippen, and me.