On Tuesday our first breakfast of the New Year was held at the Home Town Café in Rensselaerville. Our attendance was down (just like church) because of the weather. Except for a few spots most of the roads were in good shape. The conditions were of the

“Aha! fooled ya type,” and at one point some of the OFs were cruising along on just wet roads with snow here and there, then “Aha” popped up. The wind had blown a considerable amount of snow across the road from 200 yards or so, to about 300 to 400 yards, and all of a sudden 55 mph was not particularly prudent, especially on a turn. Evidence of such folly was observed a couple of times.

Those that made it, made it – and all enjoyed the breakfast. This morning the OFs had a new waiter who was about 2 foot tall, and whose head did not quite reach the table tops. This little guy went from table to table and offered many of the OFs his orange juice. At the time the breakfast was winding down for the OFs, the last OF that had the bottle of orange juice had to return it to the counter so the little tyke could take it and offer it to the next batch of customers who came in.

With the weather being the natural topic of the day we started discussing Florida and the OFs that have taken off for their winter digs. However, we are finding out (for at least awhile) that the south is no better off than we are. Sanford, NC, is having nights in the teens, and the day’s highs are not making 32. Some of the OFs are receiving phone calls from other OFs down in Florida complaining. These complaints are falling on deaf ears. Wimps.

At one table in the Cafe a brother of one of the OFs was sitting at the next table with three other guys. The brother of the OF was wearing a tee shirt (and the outside temperature was 14 degrees) that said “Bike Week Daytona 2003” and that prompted the conversation of the OFs that have been to that part of Florida. Those that were there started feeling warm just from the conversation. The OFs discussed the Cabbage Patch, the huge Flea Market just outside of Daytona, the crowds, and the noise, but no mention was made of the beach. The OFs are not beach guys apparently. They are more likely to like fast noisy cars, beer, motorcycles, and purchasing tee shirts at the flea market that say NASCAR, or Bike Week.

The OF’s need an entomologist to join our group. The OFs started talking about still spotting that nuisance bug (the box alder) dropping out of the ceiling or crawling up a curtain. One OF didn’t know what they were. The other OFs surmised that he had probably brought many of these creatures to their demise and didn’t know what they were called. One OLD OF made a sketch of one and another OF said, “Oh yeah. I have seen those; is that what they are called?” Where do these things come from? How do they get in? The OFs were in a quandary on this. They are not a dirty bug, and are very slow and easy to squash – they are just a pest. One OF said it is the northeast equivalent to the palmetto bug in the south. Just a pest. When you carefully pick one up these bugs it will just crawl along the back of your hand with no idea the power this strange creature it is crawling on has over its whole existence.

When the OFs were in school (and the OFs did go to school when there wasn’t so much to learn) the discussion came around to when we graduated. This doesn’t seem like much to talk about but what was unusual is that one OF would be two or three years ahead or behind of another OF and they would say, “How come I don’t remember you in school?” If there were 25 to 30 kids in a graduating class in the schools the OFs went to, that was a large number.

The OFs came to the conclusion that socialization or fraternization back then was not as common or as easy as it is today. Most of the OFs had to leave school, get on the bus, get home and do chores, and/or start the milking. In the summer it was the same chores and milking, plus the field work of haying, planting and harvesting. This didn’t leave much time for socialization.

The internet is loaded with comments, poems, and true but stupid sayings about being old (whatever old is) but there is one daily and necessary event they miss. A part of being old is when getting dressed and taking a shower is considered work, real work, so much so, that quite often it is put off until all the joints at least don’t squeak quite as bad as when first getting up. This is a universal complaint by many of the OFs.

Those attending the breakfast at the Home Town Café in Rensselaerville and making up for the socialization missed when the OFs were younger were: Roger Chapman, Miner Stevens, Gary Porter, John Rossmann, Ted Pelkey, Harold Guest, Robie Osterman, Skip Skinner, Bob Snyder, Alvin Latham, Gerry Chartier, Ted Willsey, Mike Willsey, Jim Rissacher, Harold Grippen, and me.