Tuesday, the 18th of January 2011, the Old Men of the Mountain met at Mrs. K’s Restaurant in Middleburgh.

Regardless of the weather most the restaurants the OMOTM frequent are open, with many of the regulars there. The OMOTM are regulars in a sense but it is only once every nine weeks or so. Many of the restaurants the OF’s go to have regular regulars, that are there almost every day. The OF’s are known as the OF’s, but the people that enjoy eating at the various restaurants the OF’s go to are actually gatherings of their own. The ones that go to Mrs. K’s would be the K’ers, those that go the Hill Town Café, might be the Towners. The ones that go to the Home Front, maybe the Fronters, the Alley Cat, ah, they would be the Caters, and the Chuck Wagon would be the Wagoneers. Apparently these groups meet at the same place daily.

There are some advantages to eating out, and also some drawbacks. Since gasoline is $3.30 a gallon right now that is quite a drawback, except if you live in a village and can walk. Enough of this — it is now time for what the OF’s discussed.

How many can remember the last time they put chains on their car? One table of OF’s had quite a discussion on chains and how much better they were in snow and mud than the supposedly snow and mud tires. When the OF’s were using chains salt was not used on the highways like it is today, and the equipment for clearing the roads was not as sophisticated as it is today. Many of the road-clearing plows (when the OF’s were YF’s) were made right in the town garage. Today the plows are manufactured and cost a small fortune, however, they do get the job done which makes running on chains not really necessary, and running chains on almost bare roads would shake the vehicle apart.

Along with chains there were the mud hooks, a single chain on a strap that would go through the wheel and snap together, or buckle together. These were great things to have in the trunk. If the vehicle was stuck the driver could get out (or anyone actually) and put on four of five of these things on the tire and out the car would come right out. The OF’s said it is impossible to find mud hooks anymore. Some may be found at a flea market or garage sale or farm auction but not in stores, at least the stores the OF’s know of. One OF asked, “Could you even get them on the wheel if you had them now?” He did not think the new wheel would let the mud hook go through so it could be fastened.

One OF said he thought there were still some states that required the vehicle to have chains with the vehicle in the winter time. No OF really knew if this was the case.

One table talked about dreams and this seemed odd to this scribe because this scribe was recently talking about dreams to some people outside of the OF circle and here the same subject of dreams was brought up at the table. It seems the OF’s are either dreaming strange or really, real dreams. The OF’s wondered is it a part of getting older, or is it because many of the OF are on the same meds and the meds are causing the dreams. The OF’s agreed with some of the dreams they woke up in the morning like they were not rested from sleeping and were just as tired as when they went to bed. They think that this is because they were in a dream where they were lost, or working hard, or being chased. Some of the OF’s said sometimes when they finally woke up from some of these dreams for a brief time they did not know where they were. One OF said this is nothing new for him he never knows where he is, or why he is there he just goes where his wife tells him to.

The OF’s thought it was unusual that so many of the group would have the same type of dreams, with the same outcomes, that is why the OF’s attributed it to getting older or meds. When the OF’s started telling of their dreams, they could remember many of them; the dreams, though not the same, were similar.

One OF mentioned that a couple of years ago he was having such dreams that he did not want to go to sleep because of them. The OF said that on a routine check up with his cardiologist he mentioned being tired because of these strange dreams; it was just a matter of conversation with the doctor. The doctor said oops, don’t take another pill (and here the OF could not remember what medication it was) and made out a prescription for something else and the dreams went away.

Many OF’s say that their pre-sleep is often times more restful than the regular sleep when they go to bed. The OF’s did not understand this and again it is not universal, however, a good number of the OF’s have the same sensations and sleep habits. Weird huh?

We started talking again about feeding the birds. Some of the OF’s do feed them and some don’t. In talking to real “bird people” they say that the OF’s do not have to feed the birds. The birds coming to the feeders are for our amusement and the birds can take care of themselves they do not need us. The birders say that if you feed the birds during the winter and have tons of them in your yard and your neighbor does not feed them and he only has a few in his yard over the winter (because they are all at your house) come spring and you stop feeding the birds your neighbor will have just as many birds as you. Birds are not too loyal. Territorial yes, loyal no. Whoever came up with bird brained…this scribe doesn’t think so.

Those getting out and driving in this typical winter day and making it to Mrs. K’s Restaurant in Middleburgh were: Gerd Remmers and guest Ellen, Steve Kelly, Ted Pelkey, Frank Pauli, Harold Guest, Roger Chapman, George Washburn, Mike Willsey, Ted Willsey, Jim Rissacher, Harold Grippen, and Roger Shaver who brought in his grandfather’s high school year book. This book had a picture of the teacher on the front and this picture was about the size of a postage stamp. The book was no larger than a playing card, and had the cover, one page, and the back…what a treasure… and me.