Last Tuesday the Old Men of the Mountain met at the Middleburgh Diner, in Middleburgh. This scribe’s carload was a tad late because the scribe had to stop and take pictures of the sunrise. The sunrise was like a blowtorch, only not quite as vivid as the one the scribe took with his carload last summer. The riders talked about both of them and how much of what nature puts on display is where one is, and the time of day, because many displays do not last long and can be viewed only from a very small section or our planets geography.

Last Tuesday was an unusual date ‘ 1-11-11 ‘ for the OF’s to gather; this will not happen again until the year 3011, and Tuesday would have to fall on the eleventh, and it may not because leap years get in the way. Oh well, the OF’s won’t be around then to worry about it anyway and some one who understands perpetual calendars will probably figure it out.

For some reason the OF’s at our end of the table started talking about nuts, not the kind walking around (we couldn’t talk about them because most of the OF’s are) but the kind that are eaten, especially peanuts. The OF’s said that when traveling to the southern states the peanuts seem to be better there than the ones purchased at the local stores in our general area. The OF’s couldn’t explain why but once the OF’s started eating them down south they couldn’t stop.

The OF’s also were unanimous in saying that boiled peanuts are the worst thing most of them have ever put in the mouth. One OF said that they tasted like lukewarm lima beans. This OF said he and his wife were at a flea market and did not want to appear like hicks so they bought a bag full of those awful things. The OF and his wife each had one and threw the rest of the bag away. Those things must be an acquired taste, like coffee.

Now you, dear readers, must think the OF’s are OF’s and after breakfast they squirrel away to a comfortable easy chair where they plop and watch television for the rest of the day. Not so. Many OF’s have to cut out of breakfast early because they have things to build, and places to go, trucks and tractors to be repaired, wood to chop, and one OF even has hockey practice, and plays hockey on Sundays. Life is fun and full of ups and downs, and this hockey player still has all his teeth.

One of the downs the OF’s brought up was the screwball that shot up the people in Tucson. This is not the first time something like this has happened, and probably won’t be the last. It is tragic because the people involved were doing something so routine. The OF’s concurred it was not the gun, it was the whole situation. If this young man was intent on doing what he did and could not get a gun it could have been a Molotov cocktail thrown into the crowd and carnage would have been worse.

It was not the police, or the gun store, or the lady having her meeting. It was not any of those things. What it points up is that life is a gamble. As soon as an OF shuts the door on his car and heads down the road no one knows what is going to happen around the bend. Even if the OF stayed at home there could be a gas leak and the whole house could blow up with him in it. No one knows. The OF’s maintain to start finger pointing and legislating is not going to solve anything. Pray for the victims, pray for the perpetrators, and pray for the safety of yourself and those around you but continue to live the best life possible. The OF’s were not talking about not trying to make things better but to be rational and also realize that we can not be protected from cradle to grave. As one OG added life is a crap shoot, if it wasn’t it would be awful boring.

One OF, as his cane dropped to the floor, grumbled under his breath, “Who the h— said these were the golden years? I would like to get him and wrap this d— cane around his neck so he could use it for a necktie.”

Because it is yet again another winter in the northeast the OF’s discussed the weather, which they also discuss in the summer, spring, and fall. This time it was the problems the snow caused in New York City  like they have never seen snow before. There were two aspects to this, just like there is in many of the cities upstate. They are that the streets are not cleared quickly enough (like as soon as the snow stops) so that all the snow should be off the streets so the residents can get out and go to the mall. The other part is that the residents pay so much in taxes that the snow should be gone as soon as it falls.

The OF’s had no solution to this only that in many cases the residents are part of the problem and the way the cars are parked it appears there is no way a plow will be able to get up or down some of the streets. One OF said that he has trouble with AM and PM, and the odd and even side of the street would give him fits to try to remember what day he should be on what side. But the OF admitted it is the best way to go, and people have to pay attention.

One OF suggested that cities that have these situations should have the ambulances trail a snowmobile with them and when they get to where it is impassable fire up the snowmobile and continue on. Again, the old watchdog OF said, “Hey, this would cost money and everyone is already complaining about their taxes. You can’t have your cake and eat it too; if you want all this stuff it has to be paid for.”

The OF’s that made it to the Middleburgh Diner and again were solving many governmental and social problems were: Dave Williams, Steve Kelly, Harold Guest, John Rossmann, Ted Pelkey, Carl Slater, Roger Chapman, Roger Shafer, Frank Pauli, Robie Osterman, Gary Porter, Gerd Remmers, Mike Willsey, Ted Willsey, Jim Rissacher, Harold Grippen, Gerry Chartier, and me.