On Tuesday, our first gathering of the month before Christmas (November) was on November 3rd, Election Day at the Home Front Café in Altamont. We always meet on Election Day, and Election Day is only eight weeks before Christmas. So OF’s that are procrastinators be forewarned – Christmas is coming and will be here sooner than you think.

On October 30th there were some OF’s that were captured at gun point and the ransom for their return to the streets was that they had to judge a Halloween costume contest at the Berne Town Park. Ted Willsey, Mike Willsey, and Willard Osterhout were the ones held captive by the likes of Captain Jack Sparrow, and one of his crew was stalking around rounding up all the characters from the ghost ship the Black Pearl. With blood oozing from her slit throat she barked orders for the little monsters to parade in front of the OG’s while they picked out the best of the scurvy lot. The OG’s did the best they could, and did not have their throats slit to match their master the scullery maid. Eventually the OFs were let loose but only after their judging was deemed acceptable.

As we note every week we are OF’s, or OG’s or OMOTM, or any other adjective with old in front of it, so it is understandable why one of the conversations this morning was on black powder. Some OF’s are real authorities on this because supposedly they were around when it was used for real. Some of the OF’s do have black powder muzzle loaders, cap and ball rifles, and pistols. The discussion was on how to use them, how to make sure they are safe, and how to clean them. One OG explained how in the 18th century, and in probably the 15th, 16th, and 17th centuries too, they used grass as wadding, and stones as projectiles. Rarely did they use nails because they were precious, but sometimes they were forced to use them. It was brought out that in colonial times when settlers moved on they would burn down the home just to get the nails and hardware, put it in a barrel and use them in the construction of their new home. Lesson one from the OF’s.

Lesson two is on onions, horse radish, and ginseng…now there is a combination for you. Peeling more than one onion and not having the nose run and eyes tear up is a challenge. One OF suggested peeling the onions in a washtub with cold water so you won’t have that problem and that also includes peeling the horse radish the same way. Some OG’s said that doesn’t work because they tried it, and when the onions are taken out of the water to work with then wham…nose runs and eyes tear.

Another OG said burning candles and wearing goggles does the trick. To which another OF added doing it this way it is necessary to wear a face mask also because the gas still works its way into the goggles and the candles have nothing to do with it. This OF is right. Onions are high in sulfuric acid and sulfuric acid reacts with water causing heat. The body automatically produces tears so the eyes both tear and burn. The onion gives off a sulfuric gas which is why candles and goggles don’t work.

One OG said that horse radish is worse than onions, and with horse radish even rubber gloves doesn’t keep the smell off the hands. Why in the world do we eat this stuff? Where did horse radish get its name? Who was the first one who said, “Oh, that is an onion,” or pulled a funny looking tuber from the ground and said, “Oh, that looks like a horse radish; I guess I will eat it.” However, even with all these questions most of the OF’s like onions and horse radish. One OG said without onions there would be no onion soup, and we would be stuck with all these brown bowls with handles on them.

Because an acquaintance of many of the OF’s (not a member of the OMOTM but he really could be because he went to school with most of us and was in the same class as some) was involved in quite a serious accident in Fonda. The story as the OF’s understand it is that he was T-boned by an elderly lady in her eighties (who says that is elderly? To some of the OF’s that is middle aged) who ran a red light and nailed the OF right in the side of his pickup truck.

This prompted another discussion on driving and accidents which the OG’s cover quite often. Some of the OG’s have said they have given up driving at night because they have trouble seeing with the glare from on-coming traffic. This is a good thing since not only does it protect the OF’s and allow them to become older OF’s, but it also protects the other drivers. The other comment was on the part of the loop that we are not in and that is all these electronic gadgets. Most of the OF’s are OF’s because they pay attention to what they are doing at the time. One thing at a time was and is our motto. Today we notice younger people on the phone, driving the car, and putting on make-up, or even shaving while they are cruising down the road at seventy miles an hour.

One OF said how would like to meet the guy on the road that just received a cell phone call, or worse yet a text message saying: “Honey, you know that plumber you had come and fix the toilet? Well we got along just fine, and he and I are moving to Canada, see ya.” Now there is an accident waiting to happen.

The automotive industry should develop a system that instead of having all kinds of electronic connections work in the car as you drive making it possible to communicate all over the world the OF’s think it should be just the reverse. While the engine is running, or maybe when the car is moving NO electronic devices will work. Not that they will not work in the vehicle but they will not work if the car is moving. So there you have it. The OF’s have made another life saving suggestion.

The OF’s that attended the Home Front Café in Altamont were treated to fresh fruit on the table. Cindy also shared a special photograph of the war memorial of our nation’s capital (which now hangs on the restaurant wall). Those present were: Roger Chapman, Carl Slater, Walt Hill, Don Moser, Arnold Geraldsen, Skip Skinner, Robie Osterman, John Rossmann, Frank Pauli, Ted Pelkey, Harold Guest, Mace Porter, Gary Porter, Dennis White, Harold Grippen, Ted Willsey, Gerry Chartier, Jessie Chartier, Mike Willsey, Jim Rissacher, and me.