The Old Men of the Mountain met at the Home Front Café Tuesday, December 29, in Altamont on a very cold and blustery day.

Some of the OF’s have weather stations and around 2:30 to 3:00 a.m. there was a gust of wind up to 70 mph – that is darn close to hurricane force. Some said it was around that time the front really decided to come through and their houses shook. One said that his roof whistled, and it has never done that before. Another OF said that the wind kept him from sleeping soundly. The OF said that the sound quite often was like that of a locomotive going through that kept waking him up.

When the OF’s got up to go to breakfast the temperature was about 3 degrees. It has been a lot colder we admit, but then again the OF’s were younger. The OF’s skin is getting thinner, or the nerves are getting closer to the surface, so many feel the cold more than they used to.

Our pickins were slim this morning because of the weather. One carload had two phone calls from the OF’s who usually ride together in that car. They were not going because it was too cold. So the crowd thinned down some because the covers seemed better than getting up.

At the Home Front this a.m. there was a table, directly across from where the restaurant sets up for the OF’s. Generally at the Home Front they set up fruit plates or cookies for the OF’s to start on, and this morning there were bowls of “Clementines” (which we call seedless tangerines). This was a nice touch with Vitamin C to start the day. Back at another table were four guys who many of the OF’s knew very well, and they started telling stories back and forth about how certain events intertwined. The OF’s got to laughing, one so much we thought (not only did his face get red) that he might even choke. It was brought out that someone should write a book about the small town events that swirl around where the OF’s go, and if written down would add a lot of humor to lives of anyone reading about actual accounts of some of the happenings in small town America.

Many books have been written about small towns, but the areas the OF’s travel in would certainly add to the color of what is the United States of America. These stories and anecdotes were basically related by the OF’s and two who are not OF’s but could be included with them…namely George Pratt and Jack Pollard. Along with the OF’s participation in this repartee they kept us all in stitches.

The conversation drifted into what people steal, and why anyone will take something that does not belong to them. Most of the OF’s don’t understand this. One OG said because those that steal are too lazy to work, as if thievery isn’t work. The OF’s then started telling stories of some heists they knew about. One was about a friend of an OF who had a construction trailer that he no longer needed so he placed it on the side of his driveway with a For Sale sign. One day he looked out and it was gone. Someone just hooked onto it and hauled it away. How do these people live with themselves knowing they have property that was stolen? Another OF related how someone stole a boat, a large boat, right out of a marina. Fortunately this jerk was caught because his trailer had a flat tire and the State Police nailed him with the stolen boat and unregistered trailer…duh.

Another OG told the story of a friend that had an old large snow thrower that did not run. This friend of the OG knew that larceny lurks in many people so he put it in front of his place with a For Sale sign on it and a price of 500 dollars. Just like the trailer it was stolen, only this guy chuckled because it saved him from hauling it to the dump.

We also talked about hiking in the winter weather. Today (December 29) would not be fun for any of us to hike but one true hiker in the group said that there are people who really enjoy hiking in this kind of weather. This OF maintains one of the lean-to’s that are established throughout the hiking trails of New York. The one he maintains is in the Adirondacks. There are some along the Long Path which goes from the George Washington Bridge to Thacher Park. This OF listed all the mountains this path travels as it traverses this stretch of geography. The Long Path is 347 miles long and is used by many people. Not many hike the whole distance but it is used in many localities for daily hikes. Click on http://www.nynjtc.org/trails/longpath.html to see the maps, and where the trails winds through our area. It is very interesting. Anyone wanting to walk the path can start in Thacher Park and follow the light green round circles painted on trees that mark the path. This path is well maintained and covers some very picturesque scenes of New York State like Thacher Park, Vroman’s Nose, Kaaterskill Falls, Schoharie Creek and many other places. A major piece of equipment for any hike along the trail is a camera, and a clear memory stick.

Those brave enough to attend the breakfast this morning at the Home Front Café in Altamont were: Mace Porter, Gary Porter, Robie Osterman, Roger Chapman, Paul Paulsen, Ted Pelkey, Harold Guest, Harold Grippen, Mike Willsey, Jay Francis, Paul Paulsen, and me. And we should add, though not members, but a good part of this morning’s discussions were Jack Pollard and George Pratt.

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