This morning, October 5th, the Old Men of the Mountain met at the Duanesburg Diner in Duanesburg.
Construction has finally begun where a building once stood next door to the Diner, and getting into the parking lot for the Diner is a tad of a trick, especially traveling east, on Route 7 and executing the turn from the light at Routes 20 and 7. Boy, if it is really busy at this intersection it might be best to continue on Route 7, turn into Stewarts, and come out on Route 20, and go Route 20 west through the light again and the parking lot entrance will now be on the right. Then the OF’s would be able to pull directly into the Diner. The OF’s bet Stewarts would love that so maybe it would be best to continue on up to Duane Ave. and do the same thing.
With the rain of the past week, the OF’s talked about water, water, everywhere and not a drop to drink. Flooded basements and some had real water in them. Is that as opposed to fake water the scribe wanted to know? What the OF’s were talking about was that the floors of the basement were not just damp but had inches of water in them. One water-filled basement was an OF’s own fault because the basement had a drain outside which was plugged up with pine needles, also washed in the by the unusual amount of water, and he should have checked it and cleared it out, then this OF would not have had any water in the cellar. All admitted that the rain was needed but couldn’t it have been spread out a bit? Still one OF mentioned that he had the occasion to dig down and do some clearing and the earth was dry after digging only two inches down. (As this scribe sits at the computer putting this together it has been raining for two days and still is raining. This scribe wonders if it is still dry two inches down.)
The Town of Knox Historical Society contacted the OMOTM to see if anyone there understood the care of horse harnesses and traces, some of which they have in their collections that are beginning to dry out. Not only was the Historical Society looking for how but someone that would take on the task of doing it. The how could be found on the internet, but someone to do it had no takers. There was one member that still has horses and wagons and carriages and he gave a brief explanation of what was involved in taking care of harnesses, especially for show horses. The way this OF explained it was that harnesses take a lot of work, but that work is necessary for show. Polishing the brass buckles, and taking each piece apart is probably the right way, but some OF’s do not remember much brass on their leathers.
One OF mentioned that they had horses and mules on the farm in the early forties and never fussed with the harnesses much. The OF said the lanolin from the horses itself kept them supple and the OF’s dad nor the OF himself bothered doing anything with the leathers. Sometimes if the horse was really worked and sweaty the OF’s would take them to ‘Dry Bones Creek’ when it had water in it, or the pond and then they would toss buckets of water over the horses with the leathers on. That would cool the horses, and clean the mud off the horses and out of the leathers. Many times the horses would love this, they would shake their heads and the water would fly, and you could almost see them smile. If the traces were not made of chain, the OF said they would be cleaned at times with saddle soap, and Neatsfoot oil. Anyway, the subject was brought up but the response was not what the Historical Society might want to hear, although some OF may become bored and take on the project, or maybe someone reading this might find it an interesting little chore and help out this important not-for-profit endeavor.
Continuing on with the care of leathers for horses, one OF from Huntersland mentioned that Midtel on their channel listing for television has an RFD channel, (the OF’s remember that is how the mail came; part of the address for those living in the country had a RFD mail address i.e. Joe Blow, RFD, #2, Schoharie, NY or whatever town it was the OF lived in. That was it. No zip, no box number, and mail got there just the same. Of course at that time there were party lines, and many phone numbers were only two digits, but also at that time there were fewer souls trodding this planet). Let’s see, what was the subject of this anyway? Oh, the RFD channel which is all about farming, plowing, haying, tractors, cows, chickens, things like that. Of course for city dwellers this is too corny; they want shoot’em ups, and everybody sleeping with everybody else. Just watch what is offered on the peeping tom in your living room, or den, or bedroom, or kitchen. (Maybe it isn’t or, maybe it is and). One day soon if you can see the set, it will be able to see you. Still it is a free country one OF said, and we can complain but they (again, whoever they are) have the right to promote what they want, to a limit, anyone can always turn the dumb thing off. Another OG said that limit is being pushed continually and it is still stretching. End of lecture but not the discussion on this topic.
The OF’s pursued this thought into who thinks things up, who comes up with what we eat, who determined that red was red, why isn’t red blue, and vice/versa. Why is one line a circle, and another line straight. Who is the very first one to say, “Oh, look I made a circle” and that is what a circle is world wide. One OF mentioned a jacket. Who said, “I am going to make something to keep me warmer and I will call it a jacket?” Where did this person even get the word? My, My! What the OF’s talk about.
Those that met at the Duanesburg Diner and parked among the rocks were: Harold Guest, Miner Stevens, Joe Lubier, Duane Wagenbaugh, Art Frament, Bob Benac, Rich Donnelly, Frank Pauli, George Washburn, Dave Williams, Robie Osterman, Carl Walls, Roger Chapman, Mace Porter, Gary Porter, Don Moser, Arnold Geraldsen, Ted Pelki (Ted was 91 years old on Oct. 4th), Mike Willsey, Ted Willsey, Jim Rissacher, Gerry Chartier, and me, and me is just finishing this little report in the early morning of October 7th and it is still raining, and me is again wondering about the two inches.