On June 7th, in the year 2011, a lot went on in this world but one of the more important things was the Old Men of the Mountain who met at the Middleburgh Diner in Middleburgh. The warm weather, and late spring, has increased our number considerably. At this morning’s breakfast there were 27 OF’s at the Diner.

This breakfast was enlightening because of what some of the OF’s did in the past week. One OF participated in the diabetes bike ride that took place on June 5th. This OF peddled 25 miles with both knees replaced and missing his esophagus (his heart and lungs must be in pretty darn good shape). This OF said he has not ridden a bike in about 18 years; this makes the ride that much more daunting. Most of the rest of the OF’s said they have forgotten how to even get on a bike and keep it upright. Those OF’s who don’t have motorcycles, or high powered scooters said they wouldn’t have a problem, getting on the bike and keeping it upright that is. All those guys with motorcycles and scooters do is turn the key, hope the machine starts, plop their old butts on the seat, and take off. Pedaling 25 miles is another story.

Next we have mentioned in articles past that we have a group of OF’s that are avid hikers, and they are part of the group that maintains the Long Path hiking trail. Two of the OF’s really went above and beyond the call of duty here. Along with all our by-laws about permission slips, and priorities, and attendance on field trips we do have our atta-boy section and these two OF’s have earned the JWD (Job Well Done) merit badge to put on their OF sash.

One of the OF’s built a bridge in sections in his garage to span the creek going into White Birch Lake where people hiking the Long Path would have had to ford in the past. This naturally would leave them with wet feet and squishing socks for the rest of the trip, or until their feet/socks dried out. The hikers now have a 32 foot-long bridge to traverse to prevent this from happening. This OF designed the bridge so it is suspended on one end by a cable, and the other end of the cable is fastened to a substantial tree. Now in real high water it will just swing out of the way and not be washed down stream so the bridge will not have to be continually replaced.

Once the fabrication was completed another OF used his truck to haul the sections to the job site where these two OF’s were met by a group of volunteers who helped put the bridge in place. These volunteers were not OF’s, and as a matter of fact some were pretty young, however, a few were on the distaff side. Hiking is a non-generational activity, as well as being a unisex endeavor.

This column quite often mentions the volunteer work the OF’s do even though the OF’s are basically a conservative bunch. Maybe not conservative but more like middle of the road. The OF’s are a thinking group and if something doesn’t make sense basically the OF’s will be against it, but if something does make sense within the context of hundreds of years experience then the OF’s will be for it. As a rule the OG’s do spout off, but are quickly reined in by a few of the others, and with all this the OF’s are still in there helping others.

The group has hammered hearing aids to death with how expensive they are and how the OF’s think it is price fixing. Now we are finding out that false teeth have sky rocketed from what the OF’s used to pay for the same thing. After much discussion the OF’s think that the teeth of 40 years ago looked better, fit better, and lasted longer. Many of the OF’s have their original false teeth and those that have had problems with them recently and have had to have work done are shocked at what it cost, plus they are told that they should look at replacing them in five years or so. Say What?????. Again, 40 years ago the OF’s were not told this, and some OF’s false teeth are so old they are made of wood.

Those attending the breakfast at the Middleburgh Diner in Middleburgh and none showing up on bicycles were: Frank Pauli, Ted Pelkey, John Rossmann, Harold Guest, Bill Bartholomew, George Washburn, Carl Walls, Robie Osterman, Roger Chapman, Mace Porter, Gary Porter, Lou Schenck, Mark Traver (bridge builder and erector helper) Glenn Paterson (bridge hauler and erector helper) Carl Slater, Miner Stevens, David Williams, Art Frament, (Jay Taylor, the butt-weary peddler) Bob Benac, Ted Willsey, Jim Rissacher, Harold Grippen, Willard Osterhout, Mike Willsey, Gerry Chartier, and me.

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