The Old Men of the Mountain met at the Alley Cat restaurant in Schoharie on Tuesday, September 28th. September is almost gone, drat.

The color is coming fast on the trees and wild flowers now, and the ride to the restaurants is quite nostalgic. There is the smell of spring, the smell of a hot humid rain in summer, and the smells of fall. The fall, for many, makes the heart a little light and the mind think of things in the past. Memories seem sharper in the fall as well as the senses. We are not supposed to burn the leaves but that is one of the aromas of fall that would bring people around to watch the pile burn, or rake on more leaves to make more smoke. Once the raking chore was done and the ashes cooled and raked out everyone would go in for cider and doughnuts or a nice hot cup of cocoa, and maybe a warm piece of apple pie with a slice of cheese. What makes sheets smell any better than being hung on the line on a beautiful sunny fall day? Yes, memories seem clearer in the fall.

For most of the OF’s the trip to the Alley cat would be by Route 443. Where Route 443 meets Route 30 the state has been changing that awful “Y” intersection into a “T” type intersection. The OF’s say thank goodness. As reported before while it was under construction the wait to get through the construction — as reported by some OF’s that traveled that way — could be as much as half an hour. For the breakfast this morning though the construction is not quite completed but it was open for business and the OF’s all say great!

Those that used the old intersection and are over the age of 30 had to be a contortionist to look over their shoulders either way to check if traffic was coming, and the older you got the harder it was. With the OF’s now it is not only hard to crane your neck like that, but it is a downright challenge. It was great when someone was riding shotgun and could give the OF a heads up on what was coming, if anything. That is, if the OF who was the one riding as shotgun had only one eye and it happened to be the wrong one the OF driving was still in trouble.

One OF mentioned that Routes 443 and 30 are no more than paved cow paths so back then “Y’s” of this type were not a problem. When the OF’s were going to school at Schoharie Central we used the bridge that crossed Fox creek and passed in front of the Old Stone Fort (funny how a church becomes known as a fort. The scribe has used this before but the scribe still guesses this is what could be known as defending the faith.) Where that bridge used to stand there is now a wooden covered bridge, and it just used for foot traffic. The “Y” at that time was not a problem. It became one when they built the new bridge and extended the “Y” out to Route 30 which was then paved on a curve. The OF’s going to Central Bridge (or anyone for that matter) would have to be able to twist their head like Linda Blair in The Exorcist, to see over their left shoulder. The OF’s approve of the revamping of this intersection.

The OF”s have discussed many types of traffic patterns before but it hasn’t included changing the “Y’s” to “T’s” which to the OF’s make sense.

The OF’s remembered the town cop in Schoharie who would take some of the speeders, especially kids, and not give them tickets, but sit them on a stool in front of the speed limit sign just past the bridge coming into Schoharie and read out loud: “The speed limit in Schoharie is 30 miles an hour” over and over and over. If you had an appointment, tough luck, you were stuck reading the sign over and over and over, and each time it was read it was written on a pad. This method apparently worked because there were not many speeders in town by the way. The OF’s wonder if this type of teaching would be possible today. That speed limit sign is still there and in the same spot.

The Old Stone Fort was originally a Dutch Reformed Church, and is similar in design to other churches of that period especially the second oldest church in New York State which is near Herkimer. This church is also known as Fort Herkimer and during the American Revolution it had a swivel cannon on top of the tower of the church.

The OF’s continue to wonder about traffic circles and roundabouts. They question if it is DOT’s way of giving garden clubs places to plant flowers in the center of these things. The circles may be OK for the natives, or people that use a particular roundabout regularly, but for strangers that is another story. Not only strangers have problems, but some of the OF’s will travel miles out of their way to get someplace so they do not have to negotiate one of these things. The OF’s do consider themselves natives to the area, more so than many of the transients that have moved in and still have trouble figuring out what lane to be in.

But who are the OF’s to complain about intersections? The OF’s are on the short end of the ruler, and close to midnight on the clock and our time is running out; the younger set will have to deal with them. The young-uns will grow up using them and think nothing of traversing these things and once the young-uns get used to them the highway engineers will come up with something new to drive them crazy in their old age, just like they are doing to the OF’s now.

Those attending the breakfast at the Alley Cat restaurant in Schoharie and enjoying the breakfast without this scribe were: Harold Guest, Roger Shafer, Miner Stevens, Robie Osterman, Bill Bartholomew, Dave Williams, John Rossmann, Carl Slater, Carl Walls, Roger Chapman, Gary Porter, Bob Dietz, Mace Porter, Ted Willsey, Jim Rissacher, Skip Skinner, John Brooks, Duane Wagenbaugh, Joe Lubier, (this scribe understands from the assistant scribe that it was Joe’s birthday today so Happy Birthday to Joe, no report if the OF’s sang or not) Bob Benac, Art Frament, Mike Willsey, Harold Grippen, Gerry Chartier, Willard Osterhout, and not me.

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