On Tuesday, September 15th the Old Men of the Mountain met at the Home Front Café in Altamont. It is fun going anywhere this time of year, especially if you happen to be the passenger and can enjoy the roadside bouquets, and the landscaped yards with all the flowers of fall.

The agility of our minds is being tested once again. It is not really that the OF’s don’t know or understand the new voting machines, the thing is they don’t trust them. The OFs are not sure if they are a microcosm of the senior voting block or not, but many say they are going to stay away from the booth once these machines are in place and mandatory.

One OG mentioned the proficiency of computer hackers, and say the hackers will just sit and wait for the polls to close then they will jump in and have the voting go anyway they want. This will be fun because all the parties are so sneaky they will all have hackers, and hackers will be dueling back and forth. The hacker to watch out for is the one from India, or Pakistan or some place like that. Also, with using computers, although items can be deleted, they really aren’t. Time and time again the police agencies can confiscate a computer and trace back whatever has been done with that computer; the same thing with cell phones. So why should not only the OG’s trust this system but no one should since they (meaning whoever is in charge) will be able to tell who voted and when. This is the OFs opinion. What this new concept has accomplished is the complete shutting out of a pretty good segment of the voting population. The OG’s feel that may be the way they (the ones in charge) want it.

The surest way to vote (according to the OFs) is with a paper ballot. Place the X for who or what you want to vote for, drop it in a box, and when the polls close people from all parties are there for the opening of the box and begin to count. What’s so wrong with that? Sure is cheaper than thirteen thousand dollars for one of those machines. The OG’s say there are a lot of darn good cars out there for less money than that.

One OF though did bring up a good comment on the use of the machine (although he preferred a mechanical machine rather than an electronic one) and with the other OFs he agreed too much hanky panky goes on the electronic world. His comment was on the numbers of people in big cities. The mechanical machine is a lot faster. One OF said they could have more polling places and handle fewer people in each one. Like we say The OG’s should be running this place, things would run a lot smoother.

Then the OG’s started a more normal conversation…the difference between guys and gals. That is a topic the OF’s think they know a lot about, and the truth is the OG’s don’t know diddly squat about the difference. But this was not a discussion on the anatomical difference, or the emotional difference, this was on the practical and logical difference. The OF’s have only one large transfer station between the right side and left side of the brain, where the ladies have two. This causes so much brain transfer of birthdays, weddings, anniversaries, latest gossip, grudges, that logic and practicality somehow gets lost at one station or the other in this transfer of information. That is where the OF’s were this morning.

The questions were – for the most part – why do dressers have drawers, or why are there doors on closets? In the dresser we have underwear, socks, maybe a sweater or two, and outside T-shirts. The shirts and pants hang in a closet and maybe some good shoes rest on the floor. The OF’s wonder why are there doors on the closets because keeping these doors closed causes the closet to smell like old shoes. The doors can be left open unless somebody is coming over then the doors can be closed. Why waste the time, and wear out hinges and doorknobs opening and closing doors to get stuff the OF’s use everyday. Instead of having to open dresser drawers, take what the OF needs, then close the dresser drawer until that evening or the next day and do the same thing over. Have a closet with shelves, neatly stack the shorts, T-shirts, socks, whatever on the shelves and leave the door open. The OF’s say just check your house and see how much wasted motion is used everyday to grab things that are used all the time and are behind closed doors, or in drawers.

The OF’s also discussed that to get ticked off at the government and say things like, “It is so bad here I going to move, that’ll show em.” All that does it give them a chuckle. The OF thinks his taxes are too high, and one OG says all you do is sell the house to someone else and they pay the taxes, and the government does not lose a beat. All the OF has done is create problems for himself. The best thing to do is to donate your property to some not for profit organization and get if off the tax rolls. The other suggestion one OG had was to get one of those minister degrees from the church of “What’s Happening Now” and turn the property into a religious sanctuary for those who need saving from the fear of spiders, or something like that.

Another OG said to use the tactics of Peter Tumbledown the farmer who never painted house or barn, never replaced a missing board, or put in a pane of glass. The more run down the farm became the lower his assessed valuation was so the lower his taxes became. Now farmer Goodshoes, kept his place up to snuff, painted, and clean. The sharper his place looks the higher his assessed value becomes and the higher his taxes. They both shipped the same amount of milk. The OF’s ask who is the smarter farmer? The OG’s suggest do the same thing, don’t put a dime into your place, let it run down and when someone from the town comes and says you have to fix it up, give them the deed and say, “Hey guys it’s all yours, have fun.” And leave.

The OG’s say any of these suggestions are yours for the taking…be our guest.

The OF’s that travel in the winter to wherever OF’s travel to shared a tradition that these places provide. Fortunately, as most of the OG’s age they have a tendency to eat less. For OF’s to go to a buffet style restaurant doesn’t pay because they don’t heap their plates like they used to. Particularly in Florida it is possible in many restaurants to order one meal and get an extra plate so both can eat the one meal. The OF’s commented that most of the restaurants do this because they cater to seniors (we prefer OF, OG, OM, even GrumpyOM to seniors) however, some charge a dollar for the extra plate. The OG’s guessed that was for the dishwasher. Now if only this type of service would gravitate northward it would be great.

Those who ventured through the roadside bouquets to the Home Front Café in Altamont and complained that it was too chilly to have the windows down to enjoy the aroma, along with the sights were: John Rossmann, (ask John the next time you see him if he knows how to milk a goat) Mace Porter, Gary Porter, Ted Pelkey, Arnold Geraldsen, Skip Skinner, Paul Paulsen, Roger Chapman, Duane Wagenbaugh, Henry Witt, Robie Osterman, Wally Quay Sr., Harold Guest, Walt Hill, Don Moser, Carl Walls, Ted Willsey, Gerry Chartier, Jim Rissacher, Harold Grippen, Mike Willsey with guest Amy Willsey, Miner Stevens, Carl Slater, Bob Benac, Art Frament, Bill Thorpe, Jim Watson, John Brooks, and me.