On Tuesday, the 7th of December, the day that would go down in infamy, the Old Men of the Mountain met at the Chuck Wagon Diner in Princetown. This day changed the lives of many of the Old Men of the Mountain forever. When they were young the only time they were shot at was for messing with the wrong girl, or getting a blast of rock salt for dumping an outhouse. Now many would be shot at for defending our country and basic freedoms, only now the OF’s would be shooting back. Back in the day some were whisked from behind a plow, plopped in the military and the next thing you know they would be piloting an airplane. They would meet people from all over the country. Some of the men from the mountain would have never seen a black man in person; now they were bunking with them in the same barracks. Their lives were catapulted into changes that were not planned for nor even thought of before December 7th 1941.
This scribe was sitting with a group of OF’s and this group jumped into a conversation about GPS systems, and most of the thoughts were negative. This time it is not about not knowing how to use them but how inaccurate they can be, especially when the driver knows the area and the GPS is giving them information that the driver knows is wrong. Also, some feel that the GPS system is as dangerous a distraction when driving as a cell phone. The information on the screen is too small to safely navigate, and then the voice kicks in and the driver takes his eyes off the road to try and see the map on the GPS and read the road signs at the same time. Some of the OF’s that have them and tried them leave them at home or use them when in totally unfamiliar areas and again some of the OF’s claim this system is dangerous. Another OG that has one says he travels a lot and likes it so, like anything else, what works for one might not work for another, what one might think is a good idea another will think the idea rots. One OF suggested you Google your trip before heading out, and with satellite imagery it is possible many times to actually see the building or the place where the OF is headed. Then you can click print screen and there it is not only the street map, but a picture of the place to boot.
The OF’s discussed the supposedly dress code of the OMOTM, and that is the bib coverall. The regular bibs can be a bit drafty in cold weather if worn by themselves. If bibs are large enough, wearing long johns, or another pair of pants with a heavy shirt or sweat shirt, then putting the bibs on over these clothes, the OF’s can be really comfy, IF they are going outdoors. To dress like that and go and sit in a restaurant the OF has way too much on, and the OF will become rather warm with all these clothes on. However, they do have insulated bibs that will allow the wearer to be comfortable inside or outside providing the OF does not plan on wearing the insulated ones all day while inside. Many OFs don’t or won’t wear bibs. They claim guys look like dorks in bibs, but girls look like real babes in bibs. Those that wear the bibs claim they are a great invention. They have loads of deep pockets, and do not require a belt. One OF said that he can carry twenty pounds of tools in his bibs or he can wear one of those tool pouches that are always in the way, and he does not have to worry about his pants falling down. Another OF mentioned that if you think bibs are dorky what about the bibs skiers wear? It is all a matter of perception. Jazz it up, add a fancy name to the garment, charge $150.00 for the same thing and now it is fashionable.
The OF fashion police also mentioned when they look at old photographs that in many of these photos the men could step out of the picture and walk down the street today and be right in style. With the ladies check it out. There have been some serious changes in what they wear. One difference is in swimsuits�both have changed a lot. One OF said that in the swim suit contest he would not enter one now with all his scars, wrinkles, warts, liver spots, hang tags, those little red blood spots, bruises, and who knows what else. To which an OF replied, “Who cares, you OF, you are old, and no one is going to chastise you for that. Put on your trunks and get in the water, it is good for you.” The scribe jumped in on this conversation by adding this thought, “It is not what you wear, it is where you wear, what you wear.” Watch out for those fashion police for real. The OF scribe also added, wear for the occasion, try not to stand out, or look like a clown, blend in, unless the personality is to be that way and you want to be noticed and stand out. Then the sky is the limit. Life is fun because there are so many different people and they all mix together, look at the OF’s. One OF said, “Yeah look at us, we are all a bunch of misfits, try to get us to fit in anywhere is a real challenge.” (Really not true, the OF’s are such a congenial bunch of guys they could fit in anywhere if pushed a little from behind.)
Then we talked about Christmas tree lights, and the outdoor decorations and how frustrating that can be, especially chasing a burned out bulb on a string of lights. What fun one OF said that stringing those lights outside when it is 20 degrees out, and the wind is blowing 20 mph, and the wife wants every window, and eave lit and then when it is plugged in most lights work but then there is one string that only half of it lights what joy. Any shred of Christmas spirit disappears into the string of lights that is in the dark. The OF’s complain all the time and set themselves up for this punishment year after year. The OF’s also mentioned the boxes of Christmas ornaments they have stored away which take up so much space in the cellar or attic for just three weeks out of the year.
Some of the OF’s mentioned that in decorating the tree the wives know where each decoration came from, or who gave it to them, and they can retell the stories each one brings as they decorate the Christmas tree. It is part of the tradition. One OF mentioned that much of the grumbling is just grumbling. If it was for real, the OF said, there would be some planting of the foot and it wouldn’t be done the next year, however, it is year after year that the OF’s go through the same thing. It is the OF’s tradition.
Those attending the breakfast at the Chuck Wagon in Princetown where there was hardly any snow, and the OF’s that came off the hill left five or so inches, were: Steve Kelly, Roger Shafer, Harold Guest, Ted Pelkey, Frank Pauli, John Rossmann, Robie Osterman, Mace Porter, Gary Porter, Ted Willsey, Jim Rissacher, Gerry Chartier, Harold Grippen, and me.