Tuesday! Yep there is one in every week, but on this Tuesday the Old Men of the Mountain met at the Chuck Wagon Restaurant in Princetown. Many of the OF’s order breakfast sandwiches, and have been doing it for years; now the OF’s read in the paper that this is the way to go. It may be better for you to have a hearty breakfast sandwich than poached eggs on toast. Another plus for the OF’s they have been doing it right all along.
The OF’s started discussing the General Electric Company in Schenectady because many worked there at one time or another. The OF’s remembered when the GE had maybe as many forty thousand people working there. Then during the war it was about twenty-five to twenty-eight thousand. Now it may be about five thousand counting all three facilities. Some of the industries the GE started have been sold, like the plants in Selkirk and Watervliet. The OF’s don’t know how many work at these plants but now they are not part of GE.
The OF’s began to relate stories of what happened while working for GE. One thing they mentioned is how security in the industry has changed, or not changed. When the OF’s worked at the GE people were checked on the way out to be sure no one was stealing. Now the important direction is the way into the plant to be sure no one is bringing in an explosive device. One OF said that the tightest security used to be at GE’s dump. No one got in that place unless they were supposed to be there.
One OF reported that while he was at one GE plant he was told to go to another GE plant that was not too far from where he was.
This OF was not familiar with how to get to the plant he was being sent to. The directions were not to go out to the main road to the first plant, but take his first left and it would take him to the plant and he would not have to go all the way out and back again. So the OF did as he was instructed only there happened to be two first lefts. The first left was a well maintained gravel road so the OF took that one. The OF traveled this road for only a short distants and a black Jeep came down the road and pulled across the road directly in front of him so the OF had to stop. Two guys in blazers got out of the Jeep, and they had guns. Then another Jeep pulled in directly in back of him with the bumper of that Jeep touching the bumper of the OF’s car.
Well, now this was a good time for the OF to be nervous. One of the fellows in a blazer that exited the Jeep in front told the OF to stay in the car and he approached the car and said, “Sir where do you think you are going?” The OF told him where he was going and that the direction he was given was to take his first left and go down that road and he would get there. The blazer guy said to the OF, “Not down this road you’re not, now turn around right here and we will lead you back to where you came from.” The OF said that he said without hesitation, “Yes sir” and the OF did follow the directives. Security is tight at GE.
The OF said when he got to the main access road and turned right that just a little further up the road was a paved road that went to the left, but the OF said he ignored it and went to the main highway. To heck with these shortcuts! The OF said that he thought there should at least be a gate with no trespassing signs, and maybe there was further on but this OF didn’t know that. This OF said he must have looked like a serious intruder with his ‘K’ car and all.
This segued into driving, and that continued to segue into driving Routes 88 and 81 south or north depending on your starting point. These two routes are dangerous from two standpoints. One is the weather, and the other the amount of deer that try to cross these roads. One OF reported that his wife (on Route 81 from Scranton to about the Pennsylvania state line) counted 25 deer along the highway heading north; that does not count the south side. Route 88 can be just as bad. It appears to one OF that to go deer hunting in the Southern Tier you could just leave the gun at home and take a car.
This led to driving habits of most people on the road including the OF’s. We know what is in the book, and what we should do, but many of the OF’s, along with everyone else, just get a tad sloppy. Cutting corners, rolling stops, forgetting to signal, are some of the most common bad behaviors, using cell phones, and texting is not one most of the OF do because most don’t know how. The OF’s say what they do not do, but what too many do, is follow too close too fast, especially trucks and tractor trailers. Not moving to the left to let traffic come onto a limited access highway is another bad habit. One OF said that quite often there is so much traffic there is not room to move over. Most of the OF’s said, “Been there, done that.” The OF’s understand that the traffic on the highway is supposed to slow down and let the car comeing down from the ramp onto the road. To which one OF said, “Yeah, right. Try that with a huge tractor trailer right on your bumper.” This OF also said that he isn’t surprised there are not more accidents which only indicates that no matter what we think, most drivers do have their wits about them, if they aren’t drunk.
Those attending the breakfast at the Chuck Wagon, and the OF’s have never really ever met “Chuck” were: Miner Stevens, Henry Witt, Arnold Geraldsen, Wayne Wagenbaugh, Jim Watson, Jim Donnelly, Joe Lafarge, Harry Coton, Jay Taylor, Bob Benac, Art Frament, Mace Porter, Gary Porter, Lou Schenck, Frank Pauli, Ted Pelkey, Harold Guest, Harold Grippen, Jim Rissacher, Mike Willsey, Robie Osterman, and me.