On Tuesday, the 19th of October, the Old Men of the Mountain met at the Home Front Café in Altamont. This morning the crickety OF’s joined a host of other crickety OF’s having breakfast. Well, not all were old and crickety — a few had a little spring left in the step but we ignored them.

This morning the OF’s were waited on by a couple of waitresses that were not familiar to the group. The waitresses were very capable and took care of everyone quite well.

There seemed to be a lot to talk about today. One OF mentioned that a good place to take the kids, and/or grandkids, was to Steamtown USA in Scranton PA. There is a train ride, and a working roundhouse, and locomotives to go through. All the things you would expect at a large museum of this type. In the same area there is as opportunity to go down in a coal mine. One OF piped up and said, “That is nothing I would like to do right now with all the news that has been about trapped miners in Chile and others being trapped around the world.”

This brought up some of the OF’s memories of parents and grandparents coming over from Europe, and how many went to work in the coal mines, or stone quarries, and some who came over specifically as stone cutters. And again one OF chimed in to say “and they all came here legally, and had to learn English.” Then the OF’s branched off into the hot topics of the day, and this scribe as a rule lets these conversation go on by.

As most conversation do, even in pleasant company, they build on one subject and that leads to another that is not directly related but it is the general idea of what happens in many conversations among the OF’s. Now the talk turned to world travel and where some of the OF’s would like to travel to. Australia was one place that was mentioned, especially with what they refer to as the “outback”, and the farms there. Another country they talked about was China. With all the items we have that say made in China (as one OF pointed out he purchased an American Flag and it said made in China) the OF’s feel like they know the country already. Then one OF mentioned that he would like to see that flag manufacturer; he bet they were making flags for just about everyone. A truck load of American Flags would be sitting along side a truck load of Russian Flags, and that would be sitting next to a truck load of flags for Iran, etc. etc. Could be.

From this…almost a natural progression…we discussed what the OF’s had for their very first job. That is an interesting discussion for anybody sixty and above. The OF’s asked themselves how did they get from here to there, what circumstances influenced their decisions to make the moves they did, and would they do it over. These rhetorical questions were almost equally divided, with many varied reasons. To be where the OF’s are now they asked, “Would we be here now if those changes were made, or would that be looking at grass from the root side up?”

Some wonderings by the OF’s. Who is paying for all those huge (no pun intended) car ads in the paper? Is this our stimulus money at work?

The OF’s know there are claimers on these absolutely atrocious political ads but the OF’s wonder who actually is paying for these things. One OF said if these ads represent the caliber of those running for office on any political line — who wants to vote? It is like the monkeys are running the zoo. Another OG said they are all so bad he thinks instead of bringing people to the polls, they are driving them away in droves. Another OF said, “Hey, that may the idea behind these ads all along, keep the general voters away and only the faithful will come out and vote for their man even if that person is scoundrel or not.”

Who are these people that can afford all the big homes being built? It is not the OF’s or anyone we know.

Finally, we discussed bullying. The OF’s say ‘they’ have it backwards; bullying is always going to go on. Just watch Jay Leno, David Letterman, and most any stand-up comic. The TV and radio, and now the internet are the biggest BULLY PULPITS going. The OF’s say teach how to stand up to bullies, or turn the reason for bullying into a strength. In life, many times the bullied wind up being bosses of the bully. The OF’s here were not talking about physical bullying, or picking on the mentally or physically handicapped…that is a whole different wicket. Quite often that stems from a gang mentality and sometime people join in and don’t know why. These types of bullies should be hung by their thumbs. Then one OF said “ we are all mentally handicapped in one way or another, except me I am perfectly normal, it is those darn sensors in my forehead put there by my alien friends from the planet Krypton, that causes these twitches.”

Boy, another morning of lectures or venting. Those OF’s meeting at the Home Front Café in Altamont and still wondering if life would have been any different if they were a pencil and not a chair were: Roger Chapman, Miner Stevens, Ted Pelkey, Justin Stevens, Harold Guest, John Rossmann, Henry Witt, Frank Pauli, Mace Porter, Gary Porter, Maynard Porter, Don Moser, Arnold Geraldsen, Ted Willsey, Jim Rissacher, Harold Guest, Mike Willsey, and me.