On August 10th, which of course was a Tuesday, Monday was a “date natural” as pointed out by one of the readers of the column. The date was 8-9-10. That won’t happen again for a thousand years (3010) and next year the OF’s will have breakfast on 9-9-11, close but no cigar. Wednesday will be a “date natural” of 9-10-11. If some retired OF has one of those perpetual calendars he would be able to figure out when we would have a breakfast on a “date natural” (but we might all be dead by then.)

We trekked to the Chuck Wagon Diner in Princetown for our morning’s breakfast and it was a beautiful morning, fresh cut hay so the day just smelled right. The air also was just right; standing in the parking lot and watching the cars head to work in Albany (or wherever down Route 20) looking at the colors in the sky made the morning one where the OF’s were glad they were retired and could enjoy all this.

Talking about fresh cut hay we had quite a discussion on haying again; this time it was the round bales. One OF reported on driving on a pretty good county highway — but hilly — and a farmer was on the top of a small hill baling hay with round bales. The baler kicked out the bale and the bale started rolling down the hill. The OF stopped his car figuring the bale would roll right out into the road, but it didn’t. It bumped into another bale that was positioned with the axis of the bale pointing up the hill and the bale came to rest against it. The OF’s began to wonder how often this happens. One OF that still bales hay said it happens quite often. This OF also informed us that the newer round balers have a knife that goes across the bale as it is being wound and this knife slices the hay in four-foot sections. This is to make it easier to feed the livestock when the bale is opened and the farmer forks the hay into the manger.

We also had a little discussion on pranks that workers who were not farmers played on other employees, or their supervisors. Some were quite childish, others were pretty clever. To some OF’s it was no more than a continuation of high school. To some they were a form of stress release in jobs that were stressful. A point was brought out that some guys were meant to have pranks pulled on. They were like prank magnets. No OF could understand this. One OF mentioned that in school it was the same as some kids drawing the same unwanted attention. Another OF said that they are trying to legislate this kind of behavior but it ain’t going to work. The prank-pulling will just become more covert. The legislation is a good idea in one sense, this OF said, because if the punishment is severe enough it makes the pranksters think twice before acting. However, it will not change the thinking, whether these pranksters are kids or adults.

The OF’s discussed the way the younger generation is so used to machines telling them what to do. Maybe the OF’s have brought this up before but at check-out counters when change has to be made and the cash register does not do it for the young people it is excruciating to watch them try to figure it out. One OF said he was going through this and finally just gave the answer to the young person. The OF had all the figuring all done in a flash in his head. One OF suggested we had to learn math — there was no other way. Today, why bother? The work is all done on a machine in your pocket. All kids have to know today is what button to push. But, as one OF said, what if the answer is wrong? If it is not known that the answer is wrong because they trust the machine, the machine will be correct. However, if the operator of the machine accidentally punches in a wrong number that operator will not know the answer is wrong. If the person doesn’t know how to take 24% off, or just reverse it with 76% on, and what the answer should at least look like, how is that person going to know the answer is wrong? Good question.

Those attending the breakfast at the Chuck Wagon Diner in Princetown and enjoying a beautiful summer morning were: Robie Osterman, Henry Witt, Steve Kelly, Roger Shafer, Miner Stevens, Bob Dietz, Jay Taylor, Bob Benac, Duane Wagenbaugh, Joe Lubier, Harold Eck, Rich Donnelly, Art Frament, John Rossmann, Ted Pelkey, Frank Pauli, Harold Guest, Mace Porter, Gary Porter, Ted Willsey, Jim Rissacher, Mike Willsey, Willard Osterhout, Harold Grippen, and me.

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