On December 28th, 2010, the Old Men of the Mountain met at the Hill Town Café in Rensselaerville. Traveling on top of the hill the day after a snow storm with a 40-mile an hour wind is not fun, even so some of the OG’s were able to make it to the Hill Town Café.

Unfortunately this scribe was under the weather. This is twice now; this time it was with a real hard cold. The scribe found out he was not alone in this regard so the names were supplied and a very brief note as to what was talked about. The note said, “One thing we talked about was gas versus diesel engines.” Well, not a whole lot to go on here, so the scribe decided to go to previous notes and report on what the OF’s talked about at earlier breakfasts that has not been included in the reports for those weeks.

The OF’s talked about education, and this time it was not about tax dollars, it was about the process itself. One OF said, “Think about what it was like when we were in school. Teachers did not put up with any nonsense and if a kid was disciplined at school when the kid got home he was disciplined again by his parents.” When, and if, the kid acted up on the school bus the driver kicked the kid off the bus, and said, “Walk home!” Many OF’s can attest to this including this scribe and as a rule it was well deserved. Some of these walks home were hikes. No cell phones then to call mom or dad to come and get you. When you got home mom and dad were hopping mad, at you, not at the driver. The parents would probably have awarded the driver a medal.

It was a different time, and people were different. People were tougher and more civil at the same time. Many of the OF’s said and still say that the OF’s lived in the best of times, when one could say what they thought, not what they were supposed or expected to say. If you flunked you flunked, and if you flunked again you flunked…you flunked until you learned it.

One OF said, “Look at how the kids the schools are turning out now. Many can’t read or write.” Another OF said, “Hey guys, let’s understand we are talking percentages here. We still have some darn smart kids,” but another OF added, “Yeah, but they are fewer; look at where we stand world wide, soon some of the third world countries will have smarter kids than we have, and it is not the schools, it is the parents.” “How can a teacher teach when they have to teach to the dumbest kid in the class?” one OF asked.

More comments kept coming up, e.g., “We can’t afford that if there are 100 kids in a grade and 80% can keep up and 20% are slow learners won’t two sets of teachers be necessary?” On the other hand, “There wouldn’t be that 20% if parents stepped up to the plate and helped out instead of using the school as a place to baby sit the kids instead of a learning institution.”

“Well, something has to be done but I will darned be if I know what.” And more statements…,“I know what will go a long way in helping, number one take away all the kid’s electronic toys while in school, have them wear uniforms, and hair no longer than the shoulders on the boys. This has nothing to do with 2 x 2, but sure would present a better atmosphere for learning.”

And more, “That would be quite a challenge for my grandson; he would quit before doing any of that.” Then one OF banged the table saying, “That is what I am talking about. The kids are running the asylum!” And people think all the OF’s talk about is chasing women, cars, chasing women, trucks, chasing women, tractors, chasing women, and chasing women.

The OF’s at the Hill Town Café will sure wonder about this one trying to remember what they talked about and how this went from gas and diesel engines to education. Well it didn’t. This was from notes weeks ago so it is not Alzheimer’s fellas.

Those braving the weather, and making it to the Hill Town Café in Rensselaerville, and all having a great breakfast were: Ted Pelkey, Harold Guest, Gary Porter, Mace Porter, Bob Snyder, Alvin Latham, Jim Rissacher, Ted Willsey, Jerry Willsey, Mike Willsey, Harold Grippen, Gerry Chartier, and not me.

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