On this different type of day in January (which happens to be the 26th, Tuesday) and yesterday being close to 60 degrees with a warm wind, and today starting out with a few clouds and then the sun ducking in and out, it’s not bad for this month in the middle of winter. The Old Men of the Mountain met at the Middleburgh Diner, in Middleburgh. On the way to the restaurant some of the OFs had to drive through washes across the roads where Monday’s rain and snow melt caused small streams and ditches to overflow, just like early spring. Most of the snow in our area is gone and green grass is visible. Of course, in the Northeast we know at this time of year that is just nature’s way to make room for more snow. Mother Nature knows best.

          We talked a little about how death affects different people in different ways. To some it doesn’t seem like much, it is just another phase of life, something we all will experience. Some people seem to take it very hard and mourn for years. The OF’s did not know if one loved the one departed more or less than those that wail and mourn forever, as opposed to those that respectfully, and soulfully say good bye, see you later, and go on about their business.  The love of both ways of dealing with the departed may be just as strong no matter how they react. For the OF’s the best thing they can do is offer their sympathy and condolences to the ones still trotting this planet. We do not know what the one who is gone is trotting on since no-one has come back and told us yet. The OF’s got off this subject in a hurry – too depressing, as many of the OFs are not too far from closing the book on their life story.

          Then we started talking about Arizona, and places out west – some of the OFs using their time in the armed forces for their remembrances of places the OGs have been. The OGs talked about the weather in Georgia, and the mid-west and how none of them liked either place. They didn’t like dealing with snakes, scorpions, black widow spiders, and a host of other creepy, crawly things. Then there was the heat and 20 miles hikes with guys dropping out of ranks right and left. But as one OF said that is what made soldiers.

          Then the OFs became quite domesticated and when the OGs started talking about Home and Garden TV many of the shows set their teeth on edge. Most of the OFs were and are farmers (as if that hasn’t been said before) and conservation was a primary goal on most farms. Conserving water, keeping equipment up to snuff so it would last, rotating crops, generally taking the best care they could with anything needed to work with, and run the farm, and that included the home.

          To see the people on these TV shows completely change a kitchen or bathroom just because it is no longer in style (the OFs said) should be considered a sin. What a waste of natural resources. Nowhere, according to the OFs, is it mentioned what happens to the old appliances that are in fine working order only the designers go pooh-pooh these things are out of style. Are they hauled to the landfill? Are they donated to some needy family? Just to change something out because stainless steel is in, and yours works fine but it is white – well, there should be some kind of law against that.

          One OF mentioned people talk as though they are environmentally conscious but they don’t have a clue as to what that even means. The OGs brought up a question of what is better for the environment…to shave with an electric razor, or use one with blades.  There is lot of material in an electric razor, and it takes energy to run it. Worse yet if it is battery operated. How much steel is thrown away when a blade from a regular razor becomes dull? The OFs say if you are really serious about the environment it is little things like this that should be considered. The OFs say if you are going to shave use a straight razor, and a razor strap, and to be really, really environmentally conscious men should grow beards and trim them with scissors. The smith brothers had it right (remember the Smith Brother’s Cough Drops logo).

          The subject of hearing aids came up again but this time it was on how the OF’s seem to be inundated with mailings from hearing aid companies. It seems once the OG’s reach a certain age the flyers, and promotional materials started coming. Some are quite clever and devious; they look like they are sending out checks. Many of the OF’s thought that the hearing aid companies were in cahoots with the Social Security Administration. The agency would sent them information on our ages and as soon as the OF’s arrived at a certain age where, according to the hearing aid companies information, we should be losing our hearing. There has to be a ton of profit in these devices for the amount of advertising the hearing aid companies do. One OF had a more practical answer, this OG announced that, “It was none of that,” he said, “It was our wives who were tired of hearing us say huh, and what, so they sent our names in.” Could be, but most of the OFs still thought it was the SSA.  

          Those attending the breakfast at the Middleburgh Diner in Middleburgh and glad the rain stopped were: Roger Chapman, Tim Thompson, Frank Pauli, Ted Pelkey, Carl Slater, Paul Paulsen, Steve Kelly, Tom Hotaling, Roger Schafer, Harold Guest, Gary Porter, Ted Willsey, Jim Rissacher, Bob Galusha, Dennis White, Harold Grippen, Mike Willsey, and me.