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Tuesday, October 4th the Old Men of the Mountain met at the Home Front Café in Altamont.  

Across from the Home Front there is a village parking lot; generally when the OFs are in attendance the lot has a considerable amount of vehicles parked there.  However, when this scribe showed up the parking lot was basically empty and being just a tad late this scribe thought he was not in the right place. But when he went into the restaurant the place was full of OFs. How they got there is a mystery, or maybe some of the OFs had two or three of those clown cars and packed eight or ten OFs per car. With gas the price it is car pooling in one of those things is not such a bad idea.

          The OFs did discuss the flood, but they also talked this time about some of their travels and this was brought about by the fact that some of the OFs were away while all this wicked weather was going on.

The talk was about the Grand Canyon and what a place that is. It was brought up that anyone who has been there knows how large it is, however, not only large but dangerous. Many areas are not fenced or guarded and anyone can walk to the rim and if they are not careful take one step and they are off, taking a Wiley Coyote trip to the Colorado River down below.

          One OF brought up the little Grand Canyon which is on an Indian reservation in Arizona. Walking to the rim of this canyon is an experience because it is not part of federal land and this place really has no fences, trails, gift shops or anything.  The OF reported that the rim on one side, matches the rim of the other side so much so that the OF did not even notice there was a chasm one-half mile wide between the two. That is truly a surprise because someone could really misstep here and still be in a Road Runner cartoon. No place for anyone with vertigo.

          In this discussion the OF’s carried on about the roads in Colorado, and some of the mountain states out west. These are not roads to nowhere — these are roads that are pretty well traveled and lead to small towns. One OF said this is an area of the country where if you own a garage it is necessary to have good front end alignment equipment as part of the tools in the shop. The term washboard applies to most of these roads.

          Another OF was in Italy for the duration of the visits by Irene and Lee. This OF said that while he was there the skies were blue and the temperatures were in the eighties and nineties. In this OF’s words “absolutely beautiful.”  Even though the planet is shrinking through the internet it is still a darn big sphere where one area will be in the throes of a disaster while another basks in sunshine.  

          There is an area in our own backyard that has the characteristics of the canyon rims, and that is Vroman’s Nose outside of Middleburgh on Route 30. Take a little hike to the top of this large rock outcropping and the same feeling is achieved as what you get from the canyon rims out west. The precipice drops off just the same only not quite so deep, and from the rim it is possible to view the valley in either direction (which runs more or less north and south for miles up and down) and from the rim looking west across the valley one can see our own Rensselaerville, and the Windham mountain high peaks of the Catskills.

          One OF told how when they were kids, they would take their girlfriends to the top of Vroman’s Nose and at the edge looking over the valley was another ledge about six foot down.  The OF’s knew about this ledge and would be facing the girls then appear to back up and accidentally step over the edge but really just drop the six feet. This OF said they would scream like they were falling and then they would duck down and act like they had gone all the way over the edge. The OF said the girls would panic then the OFs would pop up.

          One OF said that must be the reason for the end of a lot of relationships because if they did that little bit of theater more than once it had to be with new girls because the other girls would be wise to their dumb stunt.

          Just like the crumbling of the Old Man of the Mountain rock formation in New Hampshire, this ledge has also crumbled and is now just a pile of rocks at the base of the cliff.

          The discussions turned to owning a home, and what an expense it is. Taxes and more Taxes…that is the biggie.  Painting the house, occasionally putting on a new roof, fixing the drive, mowing the lawn, keeping up with the winter wear, replacing steps, and anyone can add to this list all the other little things they do, like fixing a toilet that doesn’t flush.  Replacing light bulbs, and broken door knobs…these simple repairs all add up, but those that own and maintain homes wouldn’t change it for the world, except maybe for the taxes.

          Many OF’s say they need their space.  Their little work shop, their putter area…without these the OF’s would go batty. The little woman needs space to get away from the old goat, and the old goat needs space to get away from the little woman. One OF said there are only so many books to read, and TV rots, and spending all your time in the local pub is not a good idea.  Another OF claimed too many people have too much useless time on their hands and all they can do is dream up ways to protest this that or the other thing whether they know anything about it or not, or sit around doing nothing but get fat.  For the OF’s who have their aging bodies poop out on them and they are unable to do much physical activity, now is the time to find a place that is less demanding.

          Those OFs who made it to the Home Front Café in Altamont (and most still have their areas were they can get away from it all) were: Steve Kelly, Roger Shafer, Ted Pelkey (Happy Birthday was sung to Ted who had a fruit crisp with a candle; he is now ninety-two years old), Frank Pauli, Robie Osterman, Henry Witt, Harold Guest, John Rossmann, Rich Donnelly, Duane Wagenbaugh, Miner Stevens, Don Moser, Arnold Geraldsen, Jack Norray, Gary Porter, Mace Porter, Lou Schenck, Ted Willsey, Mike Willsey, Gerry Chartier, Harold Grippen, and me.