The Tuesday the Old Men of the Mountain met was on December 21st ‘ the shortest day of the year. That tain’t right because the day is still 24 hours long (just about) but it is the least amount of daylight we get in this little corner of the world. It is a good thing the word daylight is used because it sure isn’t sunshine. So, on the day with the least amount of daylight the OMOTM made it to Mrs. K’s Restaurant in Middleburgh, and both Loretta and Patty were there and apparently in good health after both had bouts with heart-related problems.

We discussed Christmas lights, and how there were some that were quite special. Howe Caverns was mentioned; the Cave House was mentioned, along with Chapman’s home on the Thompson’s Lake road. Many others were included in the tour around the Hilltowns and the OF’s thought that a lot of work went into decorating these homes for Christmas. Some OF’s thought that the way some displays are presented it was not just a couple days of stringing lights but had to be months in planning and getting ready. One OF said good for them it is too darn cold for me to mess around with that, or they still have kids at home. This OF said he will ride around and appreciate what other people have done.

The OF’s were also disgusted with the holiday greetings. It is Christmas time the OF’s said, and should still be Christmas time. If the stores and whoever wanted to peddle their goods then pick another time of year and call it the ‘holiday season’ but this is Christmas time; it is Merry Christmas, not happy holidays. Holidays has nothing to do with it one OF said. Another OF said it doesn’t bug him. This OF said some Pope picked December 25th for announcing the birth of Christ to coincide with some pagan ritual so the pagans would come to Church. If the Pope could do that why can’t people reverse it and do the same thing, i.e., use the Christian celebration of Christmas to drag the Christians into their religion of worshiping the dollar, or the euro or whatever and give it a basic name of holidays. One OG chimed in with  “I don’t care what day Christ’s birthday falls on, it could be June 18th, and it is still when we celebrate his birthday. So to me it will always be Merry Christmas.”

This scribe noticed that at the breakfast this morning the group was in a real festive mood. The assemblage seemed primed for the Christmas season. The OF’s noticed that there was a lot going on, people to see, places to go, grandkids in concerts, extra food in the house for when friends stop over all this makes for a busy season. For many of these OF’s Christmas shopping was simpler when they were YF’s than it is now. Many of the OF’s are giving money or gift cards. Some of the OF’s had problems with what to get for their grandkids especially those at ages 11 or 12 and up to about 16 or 17. In this age bracket all the kids seem to want are electronic gadgets and the OF’s are out of their element when it comes to these types of gifts. Give ’em money one OF said and let them get their own. Then the topic came up in more or less of a question. Do you know how much these things cost? What ever happened to socks and underwear?

This next part of the conversation this scribe noticed has been written up over and over not particularly by the OMOTM but by many articles in the daily papers and magazines. These articles covered what the OF’s received when the OF’s were young, or what the OF’s gave their kids when they were young. Most of the time it was just one gift and in the 30’s and 40’s the OF’s were lucky to get that. One OF’s said that if the kids today don’t have the latest thing they are social outcasts, scarred for life because they couldn’t compete with their friends who have the latest game boy, or phone, or computer. “When did all this come about?” one OF asked. The reply almost in unison was super marketing, TV, and Madison Ave. These combined strategies manipulated our kids into the mindset of not just wanting these things but creating a superficial need for them, and when there is a need there is this drive to satisfy this need, and bingo, change it from need to greed and therein lies your problem.

Somehow, somewhere, the tail is wagging the dog, and kids are running the show. One OF said he really believes that adults now are afraid of the kids. This OF said that his kids are leery of correcting their kids because if they do they will be arrested. Even if you holler at your kids it is called child abuse and the cops will be at your door. Another OF said it is not as bad as that but darn near. This little part of the conversation was leading toward Bah Humbug, but it quickly changed to something else and was forgotten. Thank goodness.

Those attending the breakfast at Mrs. K’s in Middleburgh, and thankful for their holiday spread (Loretta & Patty outdoing themselves once again) before we even ordered were: Robie Osterman, John Rossmann, Ted Pelkey, Steve Kelly, Miner Stevens, Carl Slater, Mace Porter, Gary Porter, Roger Chapman, Dave Williams, Harold Guest, George Washburn, Henry Witt, Roger Shafer, Gerd Remmers, Don Moser, Arnold Geraldsen, Jerry Willsey, Ted Willsey, Jim Rissacher, Harold Grippen, Mike Willsey, Gerry Chartier, and me.