As this scribe types this little notice for our breakfast on Tuesday the 8th of December at the Alley Cat restaurant in Schoharie, the snow outside his window is not coming down vertically but horizontally. Any snowflake that started its trip from whatever cloud in the heavens…say over Albany…may finally meet the ground somewhere in Schoharie.

As usual breakfasts in the past contain the conversation of what work was like when the OF’s did that sort of thing. The OF’s still work, and many work hard, but it is different. When the OF decides he wants a cup of coffee the OG goes and has a cup of coffee; no waiting for break time, or having to tell someone that you are taking your break now, the OG just goes and does it. Or if the OF becomes frustrated, or tired, and a friend drops by he can say “The heck with it, I will finish it when I finish it” and go with the friend or not. There is one little hitch to all this and that is sometimes the OF is working for the toughest boss of all. That boss generally has long hair and is built different than the OF, and wears a band of gold on her left hand.

In this work conversation we discussed safety, and some of the work related accidents the OG’s have witnessed. The OF’s that worked for larger corporations that had strict safety rules, and even safety people whose only job was to be sure the employees followed these rules, had accidents. One OG said that most of the time those that got hurt circumvented the rules. Quite often it was because the employee had done the same procedure or task so many times and had taken a particular short cut without incident until one day the reason for the rule surprised the employee and he got hurt.

The OF brought up climbing and the use of safety belts now and how they did it when we were young. My goodness! It is a wonder the OF’s are still around when the stories are told of how these OG’s used to anything.

The only safety director on a farm is the farmer himself. In the beginning industry would build machines with drive wheels whirring, gears spinning, shafts turning, belts whipping and not a safety guard to be found anywhere. Today most all of these situations are guarded in one fashion or another. To start a John Deere tractor it was necessary to spin the fly wheel, with the petcocks open to get it running. Once running you had to reach through the spinning fly wheel to close the right hand petcock. When driving this tractor the pedals to operate it were only about a foot from the spinning fly wheel, AND we drove these things while the OF’s were 8 to 10 years old. This scribe drove one of these tractors and had to stand up to drive it.

On OF mentioned how we used to climb without belts or cages and many OF’s fell. This caused the OF’s to mention that the OG’s today think twice about climbing a six foot step-ladder. Some might still climb but we bet they will be a bit shaky.

We brought the safety issue to what sports were like when we played them. Today the players of football, basketball, baseball, and even things like volley ball with all the gear they have on look like a bunch of wimps. The OF’s batted without gloves, and arms wrapped up and without helmets, and that is only baseball. The OFs say that the records of today do not compare with the records of 40 or 50 years ago. The development of the equipment aids the players to such a degree that it is impossible to compare. Golfers hit longer drives because of the balls, and clubs are completely different. Many baseball games and football games are played indoors where wind and weather is not a factor. Basketball players are now so tall they don’t even have to jump to stuff the ball through the net.

Games are so micro-managed that the opposing teams know what each player had to eat before the game and can tell who might have an upset stomach, or who will be hungry and it will affect the way they play just enough so the other team can counteract with either plays or players. One OF said, “Don’t get me started on the sinful amount of money they make so only rich people can afford to go to the professional games.” Sports are another area of society that points to the stratification of the populace.

Those attending the breakfast at the Alley Cat, and being good sports about it were: Ted Pelkey, Harold Guest, Roger Chapman, John Rossmann, Dave Williams, Gary Porter, Mace Porter, Robie Osterman, Henry Witt, Frank Pauli, Steve Kelly, Roger Schafer, Arnold Geraldsen, Don Moser, Paul Paulsen, Bill Livingston, Ted Willsey, Harold Grippen, Mike Willsey, Gerry Chartier, Jim Rissacher, Skip Skinner, and me.