On August 31st. 2010, the last day of the month, the Old Men of the Mountain met at the Maple Inn, in (this scribe always likes typing “the Maple Inn, in”) East Berne. One OF said that he had to wake the proprietor up. The rest of the OF’s didn’t believe this even as the proprietor admitted to it.

With school taxes coming up we talked about a number of things concerning education and the statement made by the feds Director of Education (or whatever he is called none of the OF’s could remember). Note: A quick Google search shows that Arne Duncan is U.S. Secretary of Education. To continue — paraphrased, it was said that all kids should go to college otherwise they are losers. Wrong, Wrong, Wrong in our opinion. Many young people are NOT college material, and they are not losers. As a matter of fact most are winners. Sometimes the college-educated can’t maintain their homes; don’t even know how to replace a washer in a hose, and some don’t even know a washer is in there. Who is going to repair your roof, or build homes, or work in the machine shops, or build the highways, or build the buildings? The list goes on and on. The OF’s are not saying that some of those in college can’t do this type of work, because many can, but to say all kids must go to college, that is a stretch, and the kids who don’t go are definitely not losers.

One OF said never trust a suit. Again, it is our opinion that what schools need is to go back to shop classes and expand on courses like this. Another OF said that not all kids are musicians, or writers, or members ready for the geek squad, or artists, (here the OF forgot who he was talking to). The OF’s maintained that the kids should be given the chance to experiment with everything being offered, but once it’s found how each child is bent schools should direct them to being well-educated in that field. The OF’s bet there would be fewer drop outs. Then again the OF’s education is from the school of hard knocks, and experience, and most of us are not book-taught educators. However, we can teach how to drive a nail straight, how to read a level etc. and etc. and etc.

Then the OF’s followed up, like most conversations where one thing leads to another, the suits led to uniforms, and again the problem of lumping everyone in one bucket surfaced. The bad cop syndrome that plagues some police departments is a problem. It is good, one OF said, that bad cops are weeded out and what they do is publicized, however, it casts quite a net over those that do a good job, and a dangerous one. One OF mentioned that it must be very hard to work in an environment like that. Another OF said, “Life is getting too hard, it’s hard to know who you can trust.” And still another OG chimed in with, “Hey, you can trust me. I will only take half of what you have — everybody else wants it all.”

Bad cops and drugs seem to be the main problem, and drugs mean money, and money is the root of all evil. One OF said, “It is not the money that’s the problem. It is the desire for money… money is just stuff, like a rock.” One OF mentioned that there is one way to solve a lot of the crime in the area, or anywhere. We all should pack heat. If somebody comes up to rob you he would think twice if he knew you could blow his head off. Just a thought.

The OF’s were getting a little philosophical here.

The OF’s started talking about the planes of today and yesterday. What the older planes were like and the pilots that flew them in the forties and fifties. A few of the OF’s have been in the service during WWII and Korea, and some were in the Air Force, and in the Navy where planes were involved, and they started telling stories of what some pilots did and how they flew these planes. The planes back then might have had four engines and was landed with only one engine running and that one wasn’t operating so hot, or they returned all shot up, and some planes were still on fire when they came back. The OF’s mentioned what screwballs these guys were, but as one OG put it, “If we were in their place we would probably do the same thing.” Many people say how they would react, or wouldn’t react in a given situation, but the OF said until the situation arises we would surprise ourselves on how we react. Some would respond as they imagined they would, while others would react directly the opposite of what they thought they might do.

Those attending the breakfast and considering starting our own school with our own curriculum were: Jay Taylor, Spike Taylor, Art Frament, Bob Benac, Bob Dietz, Jim Watson, Duane Wagenbaugh, Harold Eck, Harold Guest, Harold Grippen, Roger Chapman, Frank Pauli, Mace Porter, Gary Porter, Robie Osterman, John Rossmann, Ted Pelkey, Ted Willsey, Jim Rissacher, Mike Willsey, (Amy Willsey) guest of Mike, and me.