On Tuesday, the last day of June, June 30th the Old Men of the Mountain met at the Middleburgh Diner, in Middleburgh, where we all had to withstand the charge of the light brigade from Woodstock who showed up in force, and all in one van. The OF’s from Woodstock attacked the Diner in a rush with banners flying high. Later on the charge of the OF’s from East Berne arrived, but were greatly outnumbered by the Woodstock group. However, the noise level by both groups was about equal even though one had fewer numbers. The Woodstock group seemed more refined.

A topic that we bring up from time to time is our special prowess, or those special prowesses’s we thought we had since we were freshmen in high school. Our physical prowess was not as great as we thought, our mental prowess the same thing, our sexual prowess nowhere near what we thought (or talked about) our music and art fell to the same thinking, and today we still think we have the same prowess’s. We talk a good game but the OF’s performance doesn’t match the talk. We OF’s have improved in some areas, i.e., mental, music, art etc., but the other areas…no way. What prowess we thought we had in those areas, and maybe, just maybe, had a little, has now gone the way of the dodo bird.

Another discussion to go along with the young vs. the old theme was that the OF’s talked about the body and not the mind. When we were young our muscles and skin – for most of the OF’s anyway – was smooth and tight, now it sags and is wrinkled. Along with this comes a tad of evidence (for some OF’s) we came from fish. Our skin appears to have scales. The OF’s can hold their arms in certain positions and the skin wrinkles like scales. One thing about these scales…they do not help us in the pool. Many OF’s still sink like rocks. Maybe they are not scales at all but little flaps of skin that cover our pores, or maybe better yet little flaps of skin that cover holes that feathers used to come out of eons ago, and we are related to birds. One OF said, “Yeah you guys, are birds alright, and strange ones at that. What is it you said about the dodo bird, that it is extinct? No it ain’t, there is a whole bunch of ‘em sitting at these tables.”

This conversation is something we never touched on before and that is interests and hobbies, from the standpoint of who does what. The OF’s find that often people interested in a specific thing like golf, or history, or music, or art, or cars, or tractors, or cats, or dogs, or chickens, or ducks, think everybody should be interested in golf, or history etc., etc. Any other interest or hobby can be tacked on but many OF’s are not interested in the least about what many other OF’s are interested in. Just because one OF likes cats doesn’t mean everyone should like cats; in China they eat them. Many OF’s are interested in farming so should everybody be interested in farming? You bet, unless you don’t like to eat. We finally convinced each other that it is the variety of interest and hobbies that makes life interesting, but don’t insist that because one OF likes hunting that all OF’s should like hunting. Or one OF likes classical music that all OF’s should like classical music. That one OF likes NASCAR that all OF’s should like NASCAR. What is true is that some OF’s can’t stand classical music, and some can’t stand NASCAR, and some won’t kill a fly, yet they are all friends, and some are very good friends, and their personalities are as different as night and day.

Our by-laws came in to question on who was allowed in this nefarious group, and it was suggested we go to our by-laws which are real simple even though they are 18 pages long. The final paragraph sums up all the by-laws by stating in essence we have no by-laws, but we do stick to the important ones. For instance, an OF is not allowed to die on Tuesday, or if he does die he cannot have the funeral on Tuesday morning. The wake can be Tuesday night but Tuesday mornings are to be kept free for the breakfast. We made a by-law to supersede the last by-law of the by-laws. There are a few others that supersede the final by-law, like taking Tuesday off without a slip from a responsible person, like a wife, doctor, or sometimes another OF can write a slip under real dire circumstances.

Those attending the breakfast this morning at the Middleburgh Diners and following all our by-laws were: Mace Porter, Gary Porter, Paul Paulsen, Steve Kelly, Arnold Geraldsen, Skip Skinner, Ted Pelkey, Bill Bartholomew, Henry Witt, Robie Osterman, John Rossmann, Dave Williams, Frank Pauli, Miner Stevens, Roger Chapman, Walt Hill, Carl Slater, Wally Quay Sr., Duane Wagenbaugh (W), Jay Taylor (W), Bob Benachi (W), Bill Thorpe (W), Jim Watson (W), Bob Black (W), John Brooks (W), Art Frament (W), Ted Willsey, Mike Willsey, Willard Osterhout, Gerry Chartier, Harold Grippen, and me. The W’s are the Woodstock boys.