On Tuesday, the 25th of August, the Old Men of the Mountain met at Mrs. K’s Restaurant in Middleburgh. To Middleburgh from most of the OF’s domiciles there are two choices to approach the village. Choice number one is via Route 30 heading out of Schoharie towards the village of Middleburgh. Choice number two is over the mountain through Berne, West Berne, Dutch Settlement and Cotton Hill. The Cotton Hill way is the short way, but be sure there are good brakes on your vehicle going down the hill into the village of Middleburgh. Cotton Hill road is an interesting road because it has no plateau on top. The road goes up, reaches the pinnacle and starts down. There are some nice homes on the hill but most of the road is wooded with some farm land. There is an old cemetery on the road that is very interesting. Often when we go by this cemetery we wonder why it is there. No towns are close by, nor are there any churches around, or even a cluster of homes, but there is this cemetery.

There is a reason for all this description of Cotton Hill. One of the new members of the OMOTM lived on the hill in Knox for awhile, but has since moved to Cobleskill, so he is not all that familiar with roads in the Hilltowns. Some of that changed with this morning’s breakfast. This OF was given a GPS as a gift and he has only had it for a short while. At the breakfast at Mrs. K’s in Middleburgh he had an appointment in Knox and decided to use the GPS. The GPS unit directed him the shortest way, and as noted above the shortest way is over Cotton Hill, and that is how he went. It wasn’t long before he began to get a little anxious as to where the heck he was and where he was going, but by now the OF decided to stick it out with the GPS. The OG’s spirits picked up when he hit Route 443 where things began to look a little familiar. He got to where he was going way ahead of the OF’s he was supposed to meet because they went by way of Schoharie. Now at least he has increased his perspective of the terrain of the Hilltowns.

At one table there was an extensive conversation on eye operations, especially cataracts. Many of the OF’s sitting at the table all had the same type of eye problem, but the operations for the same problem all seemed to differ. One thing they all agreed on was that there was no pain involved, and in all their cases the operations, no matter how they were done, all worked. One OF said that after his particular operation the nurse gave him a set of directions for taking the eye patch off since the doctor really didn’t mention how long to leave the patch on. The timing of this OG’s operation was late in the day, and he was to leave the patch on for 6 hours, however, he understood the nurse to say he could take it off at 6 p.m., which was quite soon after the operation on his eye.

When the OF got home at 6 p.m. he took the patch off, and things looked pretty strange. One eye was looking straight ahead, and the eye that was operated on was looking at the ground. All at the table asked almost in unison, “How did your brain sort that out, one eye seeing the coffee pot on the stove and the other eye seeing the floor?” The OF said it was very strange but that is what was going on. He called the eye doctor right away because he thought something had gone wrong. The eye doctor asked the OF when he took the patch off, and the OG told him just a little while ago; the nurse said that it could come off at 6 p.m. The eye doctor told him 6 hours after the operation, not at 6 o’clock. The doctor told him that the eye would straighten out and it would be all right and not to worry about it.

To us OFs, 6 hours, and 6 p.m. sounds like a normal screw up. Sometimes the OF’s hearing drops the ends of words, and in many cases people’s words (even people that are not OFs) trail off when they speak. These people start out loud and clear, and wind up in a soft mumble when they get to the end of a sentence. The OF’s call it minister speak. Even some newscasters are prone to this manner of speaking.

Engineers and surveyors use the word “dinky” for the number 11, so it does not become confused with the number 7. This prevents many mistakes from happening when calling off measurements. Measurements like 36-24-36, however, do not become confused by any of the OMOTM.

The OF said later on that the eye that was operated on did start lining up with the other eye and that too was a very strange sensation as he began to see things rise and start to float while the other eye stayed fixed and looked straight ahead. Later on that evening everything was lined up and he saw perfectly.

The OMOTM also had an OF that had a birthday on the 25th and he didn’t say anything about it until the very end, and most of the OG’s had gone, and the few that were left really didn’t give a hoot about his birthday anyway. This OF said he didn’t say anything because he didn’t want all the fuss that goes with it, like the cupcake with the candle, and everyone singing Happy Birthday; this OG is a shy guy….Yeah right.

With any group, similar to the OMOTM, there are contacts made that are interesting to watch develop. At this morning’s breakfast one of the OGs winters in Arizona; and it was just a matter of conversation before it was mentioned to another OG who is traveling this winter to the same area and these two exchanged phone numbers and addresses and they will get together once they are out west. A question arose as to why this happens. Why does one person mention something out of the blue, when another person is close by and the chord is struck? This OF could have had his Arizona conversation with a bunch of other OF’s who really didn’t care, while the OF that was going to be in basically the same place was at the far end of the table and never heard the conversation. These two OF’s would winter 25 miles apart and not know the other one was there. Who guides these situations?

Those attending the breakfast at Mrs. K’s restaurant in Middleburgh and missing out on singing Happy Birthday were: Miner Stevens, Wally Quay Sr., Carl Slater, Jay Taylor, Paul Paulsen, Walt Hill, Bill Bartholomew, Frank Pauli, Ted Pelkey, Roger Chapman, Tim Thompson, Henry Witt, John Rossmann, Dave Williams, Skip Skinner, Harold Guest, Jim Watson, Duane Wagenbaugh, Art Frament, Mace Porter, Gary Porter, Willard Osterhout, Ted Willsey, Harold Grippen, Make Willsey, and me.