On January 19th, the Old Men of the Mountain met at the Knox Country Store, in the Town of Knox. Actually the Town of Knox itself is rather large when considering the whole town but the store is at the crossroads of route 156 and the Knox Cave Road. This can be a nasty little intersection if the driver is not paying attention. That is where the breakfast was.

Normally our conversations are lighthearted but today we did bring up some serious subjects. One such topic was the job market and how it is still tight. The politico’s are trying to put a bit of an upswing on it but it is not apparent to the OFs as far as we can tell. This may be just in our area but one OF has a son who is a contractor that travels to many localities. The son says he still has work but the big jobs are still not out there. Industry is holding back, and the stimulus money has so many restrictions on it that many companies say they don’t want it and will wait until things pick up normally without the government getting involved.

Apparently it is so involved that when a contractor can get an item at Joe Blows at a low price using stimulus money they are required by the government to purchase the same item from Sam Jones at a higher price. Is there an aroma here somewhere? Even with a bad sniffer it is noticeable. We guess with enough leverage and knowing someone it is possible to circumvent some of this. The OF really did not have all the particulars on the complete outcome yet. This may just be an isolated incident but in the opinion of the OFs if it is happening in one little area what about the larger arena?

We have another OF going in for a back operation because the cortisone shots are not helping as they should, plus the OF has had the limit. He showed up at the breakfast at the Maple Inn, and at the Knox Country store with a cane. He was asked if the cane helped, and the OF replied that it helped a lot once I got used to it.

The group has some of its members that have had back operations and from all of them it is a procedure that the OFs do not take lightly. Some bounce right back, and some have quite a time with the operation. Not all are the same, and not all people are the same. For one person to tell another, “Oh there is nothing to it,” and another who says, “Don’t do it – put it off as long as you can” are the basic two extremes. Not all bodies heal the same, and not all operations are the same, and not all doctors are the same. What the OFs have found out it is the relationship that (in this case) the OF has with the doctor and how much faith he has in the doctor to proceed with whatever the doctor says.

The OFs surmise that this is the case with many things, i.e., buying a car, or large appliance, or tractor, or truck. It is how much faith the OF has in whoever is giving the advice. One OF might say the doctor doing the operation is the best one going, and another OF might say I wouldn’t let that quack peel an orange. One OF said it is surprising how much trust we put in trust.

And now for something completely different. This scribe receives much material over the internet, most of which doesn’t amount to much, but every now and them an item is sent by a friend that seems apropos to our OF situation.

A group of senior citizens were on a bus tour through Holland. One stop that was planned was a trip to a cheese factory which was part of a large farm. The young lady tour guide led them through the cheese process, explaining along the way that goat’s milk was used in making the cheese.

Leaving the factory the senior citizens noticed a large group of goats grazing on the hill side. “Are these the goats where the milk comes from to make the cheese?” one senior asked. “No,” the guide replied, “this beautiful pasture is where the older goats go when they no longer can produce.”

She then asked, “What do they do in America with the older goats that can no longer produce?”

One older gentleman stamped his cane to the ground and said “They send us on bus tours like this, or make us go and play Bingo!”

All that is true unless you are fortunate enough to be one of the Old Men of the Mountain, and those OMOTM attending the breakfast at the Knox Country Store and not on some bus tour and they were: : Ted Pelkey, Frank Pauli, Paul Paulsen, Don Moser, John Rossmann, Gary Porter, Skip Skinner, Robie Osterman, Harold Guest, Henry Witt, Roger Chapman, Tim Thompson, Mike Willsey, Ted Willsey, Jim Rissacher, Dennis White, Harold Grippen, and me.