On the first of September, it is time to remember…oh dear what was I was supposed to remember? Come on scribe it can’t be that far back. Grunt, grunt, mind search, mind search, think, thank, aha! Thunk. It was that the Old Men of the Mountain met at the Alley Cat restaurant in Schoharie. Good! That’s out…now to continue.

The conversations started out basically the same, and then developed into story telling of the same places and things. These are not really stories but re-counting of actual observations.

Eating squirrels! That is something that is not generally a topic of conversation, but it was this morning. Those that have eaten them say they are very good, and squirrels taste better than rabbits. One OF that was not a squirrel eater said they look like rats but those that eat them assured him they do not. After skinning the creatures the OF’s would fry them up (using butter in a skillet) just like bacon and out in the woods they are a tasty treat to eat. The OF’s that were not hunters said “Yeah OK” and the topic just faded away.

Some of the OFs are planning their winter get-away, and for this time of year this is normal, and the conversation shifted to the type of wild life the OFs encounter in their summer habitats. There are alligators, snakes, bugs, eagles, and ospreys. One OF mentioned that the osprey, when it snags a fish, turns the fish in its claws so the head is facing forward and the fish becomes aerodynamic while the osprey takes the catch back to the nest.

This scribe checked this fact out and it is true. The osprey is unlike other hawks or predatory birds in that it has two toes in front and two in back. The other birds have three toes in front and one in back. The front toes on the osprey are moveable and allow the bird to rotate the fish so that it is aerodynamic in flight. There, now aren’t you glad you read the OMOTM? A tidbit of information that most won’t give a hoot about anyway.

Along with the osprey the OFs discussed the comeback of eagles in the Hilltowns of the Helderbergs, and along the Schoharie creek in Schoharie County. Some of the OFs have spotted these birds on the wing most of the summer, but in the Hilltowns we are overrun with rabbits. These birds tain’t doing their job.

The OFs also talked a bit about North and South Carolina. One OF said he thinks every New York City cop retires to either North or South Carolina. The other thing the OF’s mentioned is the industries that are located particularly in North Carolina, especially Purdue or Tyson Chicken.

In Sanford, NC is the Tyson Mexican original plant. This is a recounting of an experience of an OF who was in Sanford, NC and witnessed the following incident.

In the morning tractor trailers loaded with crates of chicken are headed down the highway through the heart of town. This OF was out for his morning walk and knew this procession of chicken-loaded trucks was common in the morning. On one morning the OF noticed one of the chickens get out of one of the crates and fall to the road right by the railroad tracks that are quite close to the high school.

Behind this truck were a lot of cars, the first two cars in line quickly pulled over and started to round up the chicken. The first car was a Mercedes Benz, and the other was a new Ford Explorer. The driver of the Mercedes got out and was in such a hurry to get the chicken he left the door of the car open. Out of the Explorer two people came and both in such a hurry that they also left their doors open. The driver of the Mercedes caught the chicken. The other two shook his hand and they laughed a bit and walked back to their respective vehicles. The Mercedes driver carefully put the chicken in the back seat of the car and drove off.

None of the other cars (and there were lots) that went by paid any attention to this scene. One did blow its horn and wave, and the occupants of the two cars rounding up the chicken waved back. The Mercedes driver then held up the chicken, like holding up a trophy.

This OF said he relayed this story to his son and the OF said that this Mercedes driver must be rather hard up to chase a chicken on the road for a chicken dinner. The son told the OF, “Oh no, that is an EASCAPEE; if those guys didn’t try and rescue that chicken they would be blackballed and their names put in the paper if they didn’t try to save that chicken. That chicken will now go to a nice home and become a pet. There are lots of white chickens in yards all over town that are rescued escapees.” That is one lucky chicken. You never know. Think about that the next time you go to the Colonel’s.

Speaking of eating, some of the OF’s, when having breakfast at the Alley Cat, have their strawberry waffle. At times these things are so large a short person has trouble seeing over one. This morning one OF brought along a tape measure because he knew he was going to enjoy one of those waffles, and he wanted to see just how big they were.

Those attending the breakfast at the Alley Cat restaurant and going to think twice about chicken for supper were: Paul Paulsen, Bob Dietz, Carl Walls, Harold Guest, Skip Skinner, John Rossmann, Ted Pelkey, Arnold Geraldsen, Jay Taylor, Miner Stevens, Carl Slater, Gary Porter, Mace Porter, Duane Wagenbaugh, Art Frament, Bill Thorpe, George Townsend, John Brooks, Bob Benac, Ted Willsey, Jim Rissacher, Mike Willsey, Harold Grippen, Gerry Chartier, and me.

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