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Tuesday, October the 11th The Old Men of the Mountain, gathered around the breakfast tables on a beautiful fall morning at the Hilltown Café in Rensselaerville.

One OF likes the convenience of the post office (in the door to the left) when going into the Hilltown Café.  Boy!  That is handy when any of the OF’s have something to mail. On the Tuesday when the breakfast is at the Hilltown Café, just put the mail on the kitchen table and take it along to the breakfast…nail two birds with one stone.

          This does bring up a couple of tests to see how far the memory has slipped. Number one — remember to take the mail from the kitchen table; number two — remember to take it out of the car when going into the Café. Don’t chuckle Magee…both have been done.

          The OF’s were talking about the OF’s who own small animals to bring them indoors, especially those who live on the hill. There were two or three reports of coyotes on the prowl; the songs of coyotes have echoed through the hills at night and they are quite close to some of the OF’s domiciles. A cat or small dog is a pretty good meal for one of these coyotes, and it is not that they are cruel or anything like that, but, as one OF said, it is just nature. The coyote does not really discern between rabbit, mouse, cat, or dog — to them it is just a meal.

          This scribe was not going to mention the flood again (and that means forget the first part of the sentence) nevertheless, it was about sixty percent of the conversation. The OF’s were talking about how many people have nothing left, and no way to get anything. One OF started to explain how the insurance companies work, at least to the best that the OFs could understand it. To the OFs at the table it was second-hand information; to the OF’s relating what they went through, it was first-hand. After hearing all these sad reports of how the insurance companies are not responsible for so much of what was lost that one OF said he is going have his agent come to his house and go over their policy line by line and explain to him what each line means and if it seems dubious he will have the agent put in writing just what the agent was talking about. This seemed like a good idea to the OFs.

          The OGs seem to think that our economy is heading for the bottom of the tank.  This has a lot of different factors, like fuzz on mold, their tentacles reaching out from one main source and that source the OFs think is the price of fuel oil. So much of our economy relies on that product and the effects range far and wide, from food, to clothes, to lumber, to travel, to power…just about everything we use has fuel oil as a major, or minor, role player. The problem, one OF said, is that if they do get the price down he bets the price of other products will not follow suit. Just like coffee, create the demand, fake a supply shortage, raise the price, shortage miraculously ends but the price does not go down. This one OF said he is in this trap because he loves his coffee, and now “they” say that for guys coffee is good for your prostrate. Maybe we can get a prescription for the stuff by calling it medicine. Another OF said to the first one that, “coffee tastes just like some rotten- tasting medicine” and he won’t drink it.   

          One OF said he thinks the “middle class” is disappearing.  The stratification of people is breaking down to either you are in the group of just getting by, or you’re in the group that has the world by the tail.

          Enough of that.  The OF’s were getting a little too deep and on this topic everyone has an opinion with so many variances that each opinion has vestiges of being right. What a mess. Many of the OF’s have lived through the depression, WWII, the atom bomb, the Korean war, Vietnam, the cold war, two serious recessions, the sexual revolution, and they have gone from horses to tractors, writing with a pencil to computers, putting a man on the moon, and too many natural disasters to count, but what is going on now is getting a little hairy.

          This scribe does not remember if he mentioned this before but the OF’s had a conversation about the C-130 that does the flight pattern over the Hilltowns on a regular basis. The plane is so low at times that if you wave at it as it passes overhead the pilots usually wave back. If the OF has an old house with older windows, the windows rattle as the plane goes by, depending on how heavy the air is. One OF hears the plane as it flies over his home and he swears it is only 300 feet in the air, maybe lower. However, this OF lives right by the escarpment of Thacher Park and his elevation is about 1450 feet, and the plane, in just about 2 seconds, as the plane clears the escarpment it is back in the air about ll50 feet as it is apparently returning to the base because the Air National Guard’s base at Schenectady County Airport’s elevation is about 300 feet.  Now there. Is this a bunch of useless information? The OF’s did agree it is fun to see the plane in the sky and know what important missions the Guard flies from this base in Glenville.

          Those attending the breakfast at the Hilltown Café and having watched a little boy go from toddler, to caped avenger and passing out plastic food to the OF’s were: Harold Guest, John Rossmann, Ted Pelkey, Mace Porter, Gary Porter, Frank Pauli, Miner Stevens, Carl Slater, George Washburn, Robie Osterman, Gerry Chartier, Willard Osterhout, Jim Rissacher, Duane Wagenbaugh, Ted Willsey, Harold Grippen, and me.

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