On this Tuesday September 13th the Old Men of the Mountain met at the Middleburgh Diner in Middleburgh.

The OF’s that made their way to the diner via Schoharie and Middleburgh, instead of over the hill, were talking about how eerie it was driving through those villages. All the sightseers were gone, most of the workers were gone, and not many homeowners were out and about.  Both villages were like ghost towns, down to the dusty highways.

          One OF said that he hopes all the people that rushed in to help for the days following the flood will keep coming back to help out some more. There still are many volunteers there but the army of them has definitely dwindled to the hearty souls. One OF said that many of these volunteers have had to go back to work, and some of the home owners that were in this mess have had to return to work. This OF said now starts the slow agonizing part with all the decisions that need to be made.  “I bet there are many dining room and bedroom discussions going on right now on life-changing plans.”

          One OG said he would get the heck out of there, and another said you would if you had deep pockets, but this OF bet there were many families trapped in some difficult situations.

          The events of the past few weeks are still uppermost in the minds of the OF’s. One OF mentioned that his church showed up (along with others from all over) with a group of about three hundred souls all willing and ready to work. This OF said they got a lot done and he was surprised at how much energy most of the people had, both guys and gals, and young and old. Working on an adrenalin rush one OF said.

          The OG’s started talking about how now is the time for the scam artists and shady contractors to start showing up. How people can prey on other people’s misfortunes made some of the OF cringe. One OG said a thief with a gun has more scruples then these ______ (here the reader will have to fill in with the appropriate word) have.

          The OF’s had a visit from Patty of Mrs. K’s Restaurant in Middleburgh and she told us all that she will reopen.  Exactly when she could reopen was not known at this point because there was still a lot of cleaning up to do. The Middleburgh Diner was lucky it was not touched by the flood.

If anyone is familiar with Middleburgh the land (from the Schoharie Creek) gradually climbs as it heads out of town up Route 145, and therefore the water did not make it to the Middleburgh diner. Most of the village of Schoharie is flat along Route 30 but just past the County Buildings in the village the land  does rise (even more sharply than in Middleburgh) so instead of the water getting a chance to flatten out in Schoharie it rose deeper  because of the topography of the village. One OF summed up that this cleanup is going to take years.

          This scribe looked at his little black book where he takes a few notes and there are only notes on the flood.  This flood affected people not only here in the valley, but all around us in the Hilltowns. Vermont, New Jersey, the Southern Tier, Pennsylvania, villages in the Catskills, Schenectady, and the Erie Canal also had serious problems brought by Irene and Lee…a bad couple.   However, soon something else has got to happen, or some other story is going to crop up other than all this talk about raging waters.   Maybe this scribe will have to resort to politics and religion just to change the conversation.

          Odd how a bit of government did crop up in the OF’s discussion. Tax bills have been sent out for the coming year and the OF’s were wondering what you would do if your home was washed away, or condemned and is unlivable and has to be abandoned or torn down. The OF’s said why pay your taxes on something you don’t have? One OG said, “This might be one bill headed for the circular file.” The OF’s were wondering, what now! What a bunch of boondoggles are in the works.

          Those attending the breakfast at the Middleburgh Diner in Middleburgh one of the valley towns now made famous (or infamous either way you look at it) by Mother Nature were: Frank Pauli, Harold Guest, Steve Kelly, John Rossmann, Robie Osterman, Jim Watson, Duane Wagenbaugh, Rich Donnelley, Joe Loubier, Mace Porter, Gary Porter, Mark Traver, Henry Witt, Gerd Remmers, Miner Stevens, Roger Chapman, Glenn Patterson, Don Moser, Arnold Geraldsen, Mike Willsey, Ted Willsey, Jim Rissacher, Harold Grippen, Dave Williams, and me.

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